cover image Ghost Hawk

Ghost Hawk

Susan Cooper. S&S/McElderry, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4424-8141-1

In this well-researched and elegant historical fantasy, a Wampanoag boy named Little Hawk survives the loss of his village to a plague contracted from the Pilgrims, who have recently founded Plymouth. Later he befriends a white boy, John Wakeley, only to have a shocking act of violence irrevocably alter their lives. As the years pass, John grows to manhood, learns a trade, marries, and avoids the Pilgrims’ bigotry, drawn to the more tolerant principles of Roger Williams, founder of the colony of Providence. Despite its occasional violence, much of veteran fantasist Cooper’s story is understated, devoted to what is essentially philosophical discussion and a vivid depiction of the Massachusetts wilderness. Although the tale unfolds almost entirely in English, Cooper impressively conveys the barriers, both cultural and linguistic, that divided natives and settlers, sometimes with horrifying results. Both Little Hawk and John maintain their essential decency in the face of the world’s injustice, while Cooper demonstrates, as Little Hawk says, “Change is made by the voice of one person at a time.” Ages 10–14. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, East West Literary Agency. (Aug.)