This installment concerns, as the previous, something a bit out of the ordinary, for us here at A Muse's Rest. It is Fantasy, and yet it is an Historical novel. Please read on to see what my dear reviewer has for you this time. It sounds a real treat. :o) Enjoy!
The Reindeer People is a prehistoric fantasy/fiction written by Megan Lindholm. Fans of Robin Hobb will recognize that name: both Robin and Megan are the same person. My advice? Drive that knowledge from your head. If you pick up The Reindeer People anticipating a Robin Hobb book you will be sorely disappointed.
If, however, you approach this book without any preset expectations (other than a good story, of course) you will be in a for a treat.
The Reindeer People (and its sequel Wolf's Brother) is the story of a young healer woman who wishes to protect her son so greatly that she cannot let him go. It's the story of the son, different by everyone's standards and shunned most of his life because of it--when he wasn't beaten for it. It's the story of an old shaman who sees the boy for what he is worth and travels across land unfamiliar to his people in order to find him. It's the story of a young man and the evil that afflicts fellow tribepeople--the Reindeer People, a people who make their homes in the near inhospitable northern tundra, following the herds of wild deer in their yearly migration. Carefully, slowly, these small, individual threads are interwoven until they seem as one.
This book (and Wolf's Brother--written as one manuscript and divided up due to length issues as publication) is not your standard fantasy fare. Though magic is present, with our shamans and njads that pop up, it's really a story of people growing and learning and finding happiness despite the harsh, unforgiving landscape. Inspired by various tribal cultures--most notably the Lapp--the land and the people are given life through Megan's hands. Scents, tastes, the feel of it reaches across time to pull you in. The biting cold of winter on the tundra, the smell of the earth and of the domesticated deer... Though not my favorite book by far, it was well worth the read and the time spent tracking down the out of print books. Fans of writers such as W. Michael Gear and his wife, as well as Jean Auel would enjoy this book, I think. I certainly did.
A note: A whole slew of Megan's books are going into reprint in the UK. Check her official website for exact titles and dates.