cover image The Waters Between

The Waters Between

Joseph Bruchac. University Press of New England, $26 (310pp) ISBN 978-0-87451-881-8

The title of this third installment in the Dawn Land trilogy (after Dawn Land and Long River) refers to Lake Champlain, and those waters are decidedly troubled as Native American storyteller Bruchac again follows the adventures of Young Hunter, an Abenaki brave, and his family at the end of the last ice age. The lake has been cut off from the ocean but is still salty enough to harbor seals, sharks, whales and other sea life. A crisis comes when Young Hunter and his faithful dog, Agwedjiman, discover something else, a Loch Ness-like monster living there. Cut off from a key source of food by the serpent's presence, the Only People (the Abenaki) are threatened. Young Hunter must defeat the monster in order to save them. Complicating his task is Watches Darkness, a twisted sorcerer who has turned against his own people and now uses his powers to destroy them. Bruchac leavens his premodern story with retellings of myths from the Abenaki oral tradition, and he unquestionably knows his subject matter, but this book lacks inspiration. Although it will appeal to fans of the first two novels, it is unlikely to attract new readers. (Sept.)