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Shadow of the Cross by Carolyn Garriott

There are books that entertain you. There are books that teach you. There are books that answer questions, then beget more questions. Then there are books like Shadow of the Cross, that just plain make you think long after you close the book on the final page.

This first novel by master storyteller Carolyn Garriott tells the same story from three perspectives. Set in the mid 17th century, the book opens with a pack of wolves. As the story proceeds, it shifts from the three perspectives: Shadow, the wolf; Haiki, the Indian woman, and Daniel Deschien, the Jesuit priest. For all three, it seems, their stories are matters of the survival of the fittest.

Haiki believes that the wolves protect the People. She holds to her faith without fail, and shares it with, not just her people, but with Daniel who has come to the Huron mission in New France, newly ordained, and ready to harvest many souls. The darkness of winter set in, testing his endurance, his life, and his faith. And one notices his humanness, his self-doubts, and the realities of his life in the new world. Then there is Sondaqua’s dream. Is it a dream or a vision of what is ahead for the People?

“All I really wanted to do was tell a story that made people think,” Garriott says. “I wanted to have a story that would not let the reader simply put the book down and say, ‘Ok. Good book.’ And then never think about it again. I wanted it to be a book that they might remember bits of many years later, sort of like I do with The Confessions of Nat Turner.”

Just when the reader thinks the story has made its point, it takes another, sometimes emotional, turn that was completely unexpected. This reviewer has read Shadow of the Cross. But my thoughts keep going back to the book and I have picked it up to read it again and find what it is that is drawing me back for another look.

Though Garriott confesses to being a storyteller, not a writer, her book says something different. She is a storyteller and a writer. Her book is available at her website, www.driftwillowpress.com, at www.amazon.com, Hastings Book Store, and at Barnes & Noble by special order. To learn more about the author, you also can visit her at http://www.myspace.com/red_henrietta.

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