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The Purification Ceremony


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Diana Jackson, also known as Little Crow, is a deer hunter, trained in the Native American ways of tracking by her parents and great uncle. She is also a shaman, in tune with the spirits that inhabit the forest. After a series of tragic events, she denies her spirituality yet can't fully devote herself to a domestic life. Distraught and estranged from her family, she joins a commercial deer hunt on a vast estate in British Columbia. Soon she and the other hunters are stalked by a beastlike killer bent on destroying them all; Little Crow must become one with the creatures of the forest to save her companions, perhaps at the price of her own sanity. While the outcome of the story is predictable, Little Crow's voice‘weary, pain-filled, and, finally, at peace‘is compelling. In her, Sullivan (Hard News, Kensington, 1995) has created a unique character who should be heard from again. Recommended.‘Laurel A. Wilson, Alexandrian P.L, Mount Vernon, Ind.

An elite group of hunters has gathered for a chance to hunt deer on an enormous estate on the border of British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, in Sullivan's latest (The Fall Line, 1994). Among the hunters is Diana Jackman, a Micmac and Penobscot descendant whose Puoin (shaman) father taught her to track deer as a child. Diana, or Little Crow, has given herself this time in the woods as a respite from her ongoing divorce; her husband, who has been granted custody of their children, is smugly convinced that Diana is losing her mind‘and she may be. Certainly, she has acted strangely and even dangerously since the suicide of her father, who may or may not have killed her mother years earlier. Immediately after the hunt begins, members start turning up gutted like deer and scalped. The hunters are trapped on the estate like prey, waiting for the scheduled plane to rescue them, until Diana takes charge, organizing them to fight back against the savage killer. Two deaths and one paralyzing injury later, Diana strikes out to confront the killer‘and her rage at her father‘alone. Sullivan expresses an unusual pro-hunting stance in this novel, discoursing on the Native American understanding of the true hunt. Although the narrative occasionally falters, it is a mark of Sullivan's skill as a storyteller that he makes the vast Canadian wilderness feel confining, overseen by a murderous maniac who could be behind any tree. 300,000 first printing; $250,000 ad/promo; foreign rights sold in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Norway. (June)

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