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on Sep. 16, 2012 :
Highly memorable characters,absorbing story of shifting reality in c. 1900 Nevada
Author Steve Bartholomew's latest, doesn't disappoint. It's an absorbing, transporting story. The Woodcutter weaves an alarming tale between the hopeful feelings of a Nation poised at the turn of the last century and widespread corruption which threatens to overshadow the promise of new technology and growth. The tenuous peace between all the diverse, rowdy elements in the post-boom Nevada mining towns is about to collapse.
A lightning rod thrust into the midst of all of this takes the form of Paiute prophet and healer known to history as Wovoka. Wovoka, (Paiute: the woodcutter), has brought his vision of the re-emergence of the Native Nations through devotion to a form of active prayer, now referred to as the Ghost Dance. Its followers believe that rapid, drastic change is coming. While warring financial and industrial barons reap the rewards of their back-room deals, a newly vetted San Francisco broadsheet reporter finds himself between the press of feuding agendas and the thin veneer of reality, which wrinkles and shifts every day. He has a hard time finding his footing while remaining true to his purpose.
Wovoka's growing fame and fervent followers attract the attention of not only leaders of Plains Indian Nations, but also corrupt officials who see a way to turn his misunderstood message into a source of greater profits. Throughout the tale, the characters all have to adjust themselves to the prevailing conditions, as each day brings new tension, threats and revelations. The book held me throughout, right up into a satisfying, somewhat mystical conclusion. For anyone who enjoys a perfectly fleshed-out journey into our collective past, The Woodcutter will be time well spent.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)