Forge, Jul 2001, 24.95, 384 pages
In 1800, drought has driven the buffalo away while the dryness makes wildfires frequent and nearly impossible to stop. In this environment, the Cheyenne and their rival the Pawnee vie for the dwindling food and water supplies and tempers are quite high.
Two Cheyenne leaders Grey Bear and Lone Hawk disagree on the future of their people. The intrepid Grey Bear wants war with the Pawnee in a winner takes all deadly scenario even though he knows many of his people will die. The cerebral Lone Hawk realizes that the Pawnee share the misery caused by the drought so that he wants both tribes to cooperate for the betterment of everyone. As a fire razes the Cheyenne, two women Touches the Wind and Seeks Fire become involved in the leadership battle that will determine the future of the Cheyenne.
CHEYENNE SUMMER is an exciting, action-packed, but deep look at the Cheyenne. The story line provides an incredible glimpse at a way of life during a major crisis. The characters seem genuine though Grey Bear's military response seems difficult to accept when so many bellies are empty. Still Vella Munn paints an awesome landscape with strong portraits that show she is quite an artist when it comes historical fiction.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner