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Thursday, January 19, 2012 1:46 PM

“The Holy Road” by Michael Blake — there’s just not much to say about this book. And I mean that in all possible ways. I found it neither good nor bad; not too moving and not too…anything. Maybe I was expecting more?

This is Blake’s sequel to “Dancing With Wolves,” the book/movie that we’ve all heard of and probably know a little bit about. While I’m not necessarily a fan of this sort of topic – I mean, I like history, I’d just rather not read about people getting their skull pounded in as a result of an Indian massacre – I do like to read about it now then to keep myself balanced. A girl cannot live on Victorian literature alone.

I guess the biggest reason I don’t read a lot in this genre is because I don’t feel I can relate to it. I can always find some aspect of every book I can relate to; that’s what gets me through sometimes but I don’t immediately relate to any scenarios or basic principles in this book on a visceral level. I still found it interesting, though I can’t say it really held my interest, either.

In this book, 11 years have passed since Lieutenant John Dunbar became Dances With Wolves and married Stands With A Fist, a white-born woman raised as a Comanche from birth. With their three children, they live in the village of Ten Bears. But there is tension in the air, caused by reports of confrontations with white soldiers who want to drive the Comanches onto reservations. This sets the stage for the plot, and in my opinion, there’s nothing from here to write home about.

It’s interesting to read about aspects of the tribe — their traditions and the ways they live and survive. I liked how each character has a distinct name based upon his or her personality, much different than the ways we name our babies. It also really makes you think about what a greedy, brutal, selfish, duplicitous people we are and have been, as we get to read how the white man appears to the other side.
Blake tells of the conflicts among the Indians regarding whether to fight the white man or to make peace. This novel focuses less on Dances with Wolves and more on the confusion of the Indians, who cannot understand the white man’s greed. If you enjoy reading about brutality, then pick this up. I’m not saying things like this aren’t an important part of our history and shouldn’t be read and appreciated, by any means. It’s just not the kind of thing I instinctively reach for when I’m looking to unwind. If you’d like to know what happens after Dances With Wolves and if that was something you really enjoyed, I would suggest this. Otherwise, I recommend Follow the River in this genre.


Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 4:07 PM

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