n ancient creation tales of Indian tribes of the American Northwest, nasawaylu, Old Man Coyote, was the spirit who finished the world started by the Supreme Being. A master of animals, holy person, and trickster, nasawaylu sometimes bestowed special gifts on an Indian youth seeking a guardian spirit. But in the 1870s young Nez Perce John Seton struggles to determine whether Coyote’s message is a gift or a trick.
Reared first in an Anglo township in north central Idaho, then on the reservation, and finally on the Salmon River with the free-roving Lamtama band, Seton has always followed the fortunes of his mother. After her death he chooses to stay in the camp of old Hemene, a respected Lamtama leader. Still a novice in all three of the sharply contrasting worlds he has known, Seton is drawn irresistibly and irreversibly into the Nez Perce War of 1877. His quest to find a place in the clash of cultures is a magical saga, a search for meaning in the fabled Trickster’s message.
The events to which Seton is an eyewitness—such as the Nez Perce march of 1877—are recorded in history, masterfully woven here by Karl Schlesier into a fabric of compelling fiction and human drama.