27 August 2010

BLACK HILLS - Dan Simmons, narr Erik Davies and Michael McConnohie

From the back of the BOCD: Paha Sapa is a young Sioux warrior who can see both the past and the future by touching people. In June 1876 he decides to prove his courage by "counting coup" on a dying soldier, but when he lays his hands on General Custer the general's ghost enters his body. The young Sioux must continue to live with not only his strange gift, but with the voice of the general throughout his event-filled life.

Sixty years later, Paha Sapa is driven by a vision he experienced on his people's sacred Black Hills and is determined to blow up Mount Rushmore the day Franklin Roosevelt is there for a dedication ceremony.
Dan Simmons is one of my favorite authors for horror and supernatural. I've not read his police procedural mysteries or science fiction, but they are on Mt Git'r'Read.
Black HIlls, Paha Sapa, is the narrator of this history of his life. He as at Little Big Horn, performed in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show, and is part of the creation of Mount Rushmore.
While at Little Big Horn, he counts coup on a soldier and, to his horror, is overtaken by the ghost of General Custer, Longhair, himself. A ghost he carries with him through his lifetime through the book. This aspect doesn't distract from the story. This is, for the most part, a history of the West as seen through the eyes of Black Hills, Paha Sapa.
Paha Sapa also finds out at a young age that he has the ability to touch a person and see that person's past memories and that person's future. Because of this ability he becomes an enemy of Crazy Horse when Paha Sapa doesn't tell him what Crazy Horse wishes to know, namely information of his death. Paha Sapa runs and keeps moving and the reader follows along.
I admit to skipping portions of the book...the portions narrated by Custer, he got on my nerves, "Oh my darling Libby..." on and on ad campaign talk only, via letters and memories through Paha Sapa, about what erotic acts they've done and will do again when they meet again. I got tired of the lusty narration and skimmed. I began listening to "Longhair's" narration again once he got past that aspect and began 'talking' to Paha Sapa on everyday occurrences when Paha Sapa allowed him.
I was very glad I listened to this book, mostly due to the Lakota language. I'd have mangled it no end if reading it as handheld. The narrators, Erik Davies and Michael McConnohie, are wonderfully talented and the words flow easily. I would love to learn a language as lovely as this.

Five Wild West historical beans.....

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