Master of the Wild
Three Book Series
J. Bradley VAN TIGHEM
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Many Wolves, a 12-year-old boy adopted by Lipan Apaches, is haunted by memories of mounted men with painted faces killing his white-skinned parents. When Laughing Crow, the powerful leader of the Nokoni Comanche band responsible for the killings, discovers his Lipan village and asks for the white-skinned boy in exchange for peace, Many Wolves flees. In the harsh desert wilderness, nourished by the salty waters of the Pecos River, he learns to survive alone with his trained wolf hawks.
Five years later, the Nokoni leader’s son is killed by a Lipan arrow, which sets Laughing Crow on a trail of blood and vengeance. Many Wolves, now hardened by nature and empowered with a gift to walk with the spirits of his animals, is forced out of seclusion to confront his nightmare and protect his Lipan village.
Puha, the Comanche word for “spiritual power,” is an unconventional western story set in the late 1700s, before Texas was settled with Colt revolvers and Winchester rifles: a time when vast herds of buffalo roamed the Southern Plains, grizzly bears and wolves thrived, and the Comanche rode unchallenged on painted ponies.
MR. VAN TIGHEM J. Bradley Van Tighem was born and raised in California, a sixth-generation Californian. He is an avid nature buff, especially fond of birds of prey and reptiles. He dabbled in falconry for several years, but realized he couldn't dedicate enough time to it with a full-time job as a Java programmer and two sports-loving teenage boys.
His fiction attempts to capture his love of falconry and the Native American cultures, specifically the Apache and Comanche tribes of Texas. The first book of the Master of the Wild Series is entitled “Puha” and is set in the 1700s, unsettled Texas, before Rangers, revolvers, and rifles. A western without cowboys during a time when the Comanches, “the most powerful tribe in American history” as coined by historian S. C. Gwynne, roamed the Southern Plains on their painted ponies. “Puha” blends “My Side of the Mountain” with “Dances With Wolves.”
He hopes to follow-up “Puha” with the second and third installments of the series entitled “Mestizo” and “Tejano," respectively. Look for “Mestizo” at the end of 2014...
MY THOUGHTS: SPIRITUAL POWER the meaning of PUHA! If you're looking for your typical shoot 'em up cowboy, Indian story, then this isn't for you. This isn't your typical vision of tents with Indians going on the war path. It's about how nature, animals and the lost history of the Native Americans comes to life. It is a fictional read, but as you read, it becomes more. It becomes a part of your present. You picture yourself there. This genre is one of my very favorite. I haven't found many historical fiction books about the Native Americans. IT is often a subject that isn't talked or written about. When I got the chance to read this book, I jumped at it.
The book did bring about some emotions , Hollow Leg was a white young boy. After his parents' death carried out by "Buffalo Men", he sees men with paint on their faces and is haunted day and night by them. He was adopted soon after by the Lipan Apaches.)I did wonder about how the Lipan's found him and how did they go about adopting him, was it assumed, was there a ceremony of some kind?) His new name is Many Wolves. But the haunting of the painted faces becomes more than just a nightmare in his mind. It becomes a reality when the Nokomi tribe find Many Wolves with the Lipan Apaches. They want him and demand the Apaches to turn him over. In order to save his village and new family he runs. Now he is out there, no longer in a safe place with his Apache tribe. Survival is now the name of the game, so he searches for a safe place.He finds a place near the Pecos Rivers. He has animal friends that the author gives you the feeling they were more than animals to Many Wolves. They were each, in their own way, a special part of Many Wolves' life. There is still that haunting, those faces and after five years of being without the protection of his Lipan family, the past emerges and he will either have to come to grips with it or flee, once again. Will Many Wolves be able to face those haunting memories? Who will win? The ones who haunt or the haunted?
I found the pages turning quickly as I followed Many Wolves from a young boy seeing his parents murdered to his new sheltered life with the Lipan Apaches. Then I watched Many Wolves become a man who learned how to survive, dependent only on himself. What put the icing on the cake was when Many Wolves comes face to face with Laughing Crow, the Nokomi leader. This wasn't an easy thing to do. Laughing Crow was mean, loved the blood fight, thrived on it. He was a heartless man, who killed sometimes just for the sake of killing. No REAL reason, except for the lust of blood. I found it so hard to see that some of the other Indians looked up to him. I don't know if it was a fear of him or did they see something in him that they wanted to be like? Did they, possible, look at him as him as having mystical powers?
As the years pass, Many Wolves encounters different men, some with sound advice, some with tales to tell and some he made lasting friendships with. Get this book and follow the lives of the characters.
There must be hours and hours of research put into this book. The author doesn't skim over the realities of the story. There was blood to be shed, there were lives to be lost. You become a part of the character's lives, the way they felt, the way they lived and the struggles they faced. The plot and the characters are well developed, with the characters being interesting. I wanted to know more about Many Wolves, Laughing Crow and their lives. This is rather a historical coming of age story. I don't believe I've ever read a story about Native Americans that I found so interesting and so touching, in a way. Many Wolves leaves a lasting impression on you as does Laughing Crow, two different impressions. I was interested to learn that PUHA means spiritual power. Many Wolves, I believe, carried PUHA with him through his growth from a young boy to a man. A good solid plot with good solid characters. So much in this book to keep you attached, to keep you reading and when you're at the end, you'll want more. I always feel if you want more at the end, you've gained so much by reading it.I can't recommend this book enough. It's different but after a few pages you become invested in the book. It's like none I've read before. So try it, there's so much to delve into. (It is a rather lengthy book, but well worth the time.
I was given a copy of this book from the author and voluntarily decided to review it.
I would give this book 5 SOLID STARS.
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