Spirits of the Plains
by Daniel G. Matuzas

"Without hesitation Stone took advantage of the distraction grabbing the guard's hair and pulling his head back, slitting the throat in the same motion."

For the native peoples of the plains, magic is very real and involves the use of spirits that are always around, eager to rejoin the world of living humans that they once belonged to. A female with the power to use the spirits is trained to become a shaman, serving as a healer and mystic for the tribe while also often being treated as an outcast. Legend says, however, that men who can use spirits are driven insane by them, murdering friend and foe alike with no regard for safety or control. Chief Windsong's son Wing has those powers, but he and the shamans conspired to keep that ability a secret so that he would not be cast out from the tribe into the wilderness alone. However, when Wing realizes he has these powers, it is not long before he has no choice but to use them.

With a little more grizzly and realistic take than a young adult story in the same vein, this coming-of-age story focuses on multiple characters, often for a chapter at a time or less. At the heart of the story is Chief Windsong and his three sons, the future chief Wolf, the spirit-adept Wing, and the resentful and frustrated Tangle. Their adventures are often separate as the book builds to its conclusion, drawing their paths back together again when circumstances require it. There are elements of fantasy, action, romance, and comedy all at work in this story, and it's easy for readers to get lost in the constant tension being built chapter after chapter. Readers who like an action story with a magical component will be taken by this story and ready to start the sequel the moment they finish this tale.

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