Friday, July 8, 2011

Cartier's Ring - Historical Novel by Pearson Moore

In Moore's Cartier's Ring, twelve-year old Myeerah has been raised since birth in a tribe not her own. When members of her birth tribe arrive to re-claim her, dangerous negotiations between the tribes threaten to separate her from everyone she loves. However, the arrival of French explorers brings about events which change Myeerah's fate and the future of the Indian Nations.

Myeerah is a believable and well-drawn character, and the novel follows her life in the Wendat (Huron) Confederacy. The story begins amidst a carefully portrayed lifestyle, politics, and philosophy of the native American people. They are shown in all their complexity for both good and bad. By showing the native society in its complexity, Moore is able to explore the conflict between native and European cultures suddenly brought into contact.

Neither culture is idealized nor demonized. Neither understood the other. Each has its own goals and values which each considers right. Conflict is inevitable once they meet.

The story does lead through conflict and war which is neither glorified nor dwelt upon. I would have preferred a somewhat more detailed description of the tactics and weapons, but that is a personal preference.

One thing that I questioned was the changes in PoV. I think some readers may be put off by the switches from first person when the PoV is Myeerah to third-person in other multiple characters' points-of-view. I felt Moore handled this technique quite well, but would have done better to limit the number of point-of-view characters. Having so many lessened the emotional connection with Myeerah. One thing the author did that I liked very much was the extensive use of native words which helped increase the feeling of being part of the culture. A little more use of sensory detail would have increased this though. I didn't feel that I knew the taste, touch and smell of the Indian culture as much as I would have liked.

I must admit this is a bit nit-picking though. This is a fascinating story with very beautifully integrated historical research. I recommend it to any fan of historical fiction. Using the Librarything scale, I would give this four and a half stars.

Cartier's Ring is a wonderful read for only $2.99 at Amazon.


J.A. Beard said...

This was a good book. I agree with pretty much everything you said, particularly that a reduction in POV would have strengthened the novel. I think Pearson let himself get slightly carried away with some of the asides toward the end in Europe, but like you said, minor nit-pick in an otherwise excellent book.

J. R. Tomlin said...

Thank, JA.