It has been two years since Algonquin Spring, was released (Book Two of the Algonquin Quest Series by Rick Revelle) but the timeline has advanced twelve years in Algonquin Sunset, which has allowed Anokì and Pangì, the children of the Algonquin warrior Mahingan, along with their cousins and other youngsters to grow into adulthood and bring them into new adventures as they meet with new tribes, both friend and enemy, in the present day area of the Great Lakes (Superior and Michigan) and even further west to the present day area of northern Minnesota where they meet up with a new fierce enemy: the Lakhotas.
As was evidenced in the previous two instalments, accuracy is of utmost importance to Mr Revelle. For Algonquin Sunset, however, he has gone a step further and all characters are introduced by their actual aboriginal names with phonetic pronunciation in brackets (for their initial appearance). The same rules are followed for tribal names. Not to worry, though: there are complete glossaries pronunciation guides for every aboriginal language used in the book. There are also links to online talking dictionaries.
As for the actual story of Algonquin Sunset, we follow Anokì and Pangì along with the two of the fiercest warriors ever, the legends Crazy Crow and their uncle, the shape-shifter Mitigomij (and his mysterious black panther). They are soon presented with a call to assist their allies, the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) peoples in their fight against the Lakhotas.
As always, Mr Revelle choreographs the action appropriately and realistically, and he adroitly includes facts of aboriginal life along the way, such as the Buffalo hunt, native lore, rituals and other aspects of daily life at the time. There are several story lines at play here, all told from one of the three main character’s viewpoints: Anokì, Zhashagi the Anishinaabe and Chanku Wašte, the Lakhota warrior. The action moves between each character with the story coming to a crucial climax in the final pages (during a solar eclipse that actually occurred). As I commented in my review of the first two books: “These novels mix the straightforward storytelling of C.S. Forester’s Hornblower saga with the historical accuracy of Patrick O’Brian’s Captain Aubrey novels.”
A most worthy instalment in the imaginative Algonquin Quest series, Algonquin Sunset is suitable for mature young readers as well as adults. Recommended reading for those who like detailed historical fiction and a sound, well-told adventure story.
An Exclusive Q & A with Rick Revelle
Mr Revelle, who is proud of his Algonquin heritage and passionate about the Algonquin Quest series, describes how Algonquin Sunset differs from the previous two instalments in the series, I am Algonquin (2013) and Algonquin Spring (2015).
First, the prominent use of Native names and languages in Book #3:
“James, I admit it is a different read than the others. I tried to fit more Native groups into the story to highlight the history of the area and why they fought each other. I know the Native names are difficult, but I put them in to show the readers that Natives actually had our own dialects and I want to draw attention to these dying languages. I also talk about the people in my Author’s Notes who are trying to save the vocabularies of these ancient tongues.”
About the lack of a strong central character, which the first two books had in Mahingan:
“With the death of Mahingan, the Algonquin group were now searching for their identity once he was gone and were more nomadic living with the Ouendat and helping other groups fight their battles. Their family unit was in tatters and basically homeless because of the major battle at the end of I Am Algonquin. It was not business as usual. They were looking for a place to belong. When Mahingan was alive the family unit was strong and plentiful, but the battles were devastating on his family and his followers. Anokì needed to come of age and prove his leadership. Shawl Woman and Sharp Tongue taking over as leaders was an essential part of Algonquin Sunset to show the readers the strength of the women in the group.”
About a fourth book:
“As the title, Algonquin Sunset indicates, there is a change coming. Whenever the sun sets a new dawn always brings a different day and experiences, some are life-changing. With Anokì and his sister Pangì Mahingan going west with the Anishinaabe group, this indicates that Anokì’s growth will be nurtured not by his father and Mitigomij but by others and his eventual leadership will have a different outlook. The novel would be called Algonquin Legacy and would involve the Blackfoot tribe and the Anishinaabe warriors and Anokì and his group who went west with them. This is where Anokì and his prophecy of his birthmarks will continue the story and he will emerge as a strong leader and go back to his remaining family on the shores of the Ottawa River.”
For more information about the Algonquin Quest series, here is an interview in which Mr Revelle speaks at length about the three books: http://bit.ly/rickrevelletalks