Coming in at around 50 pages this is a quick, thoughtful read, containing many element including indian folklore, history, betrayal and revenge. Its is somewhat reminiscent of The Crooked Tree, in the way it blends together Indian legend and modern storytelling. Pale Hunter is a character driven story with much attention paid to the history of the time and relationships within the story.
Set in 1666, Pale Hunter is the story of a half Blood (French/Indian) Clem and mentor Bernard , and their run in with a pair of enemy Indians trying to steer clear of the Europeans. Bernard sees the opportunity to make this chance encounter work for him and his ward/interpreter, Clem. He has visions of beaver pelts in his eyes and a plan to get them from the Chipewyan tribe. Once they arrive Clem begins to feel ill at ease trying to figure out just where exactly he fits into this master plan for greatness and riches, the Tribes leader doesn't help matters any, when that night he retells the story of the Manitou that the tribe has been in the protection of, a legend fraught with the horrors incurred by all if they ever chose to ignore the deal they have made with the manitou. Will Clem and Bernard survive their encounter with the tribe, or has their fate been set all along??
Pale Hunter was an interesting read, part adventure, part horror, with lots of drama mixed in.The pace moves along at a comfortable rate, and the story is well constructed. It holds some really interesting dilemmas for the characters, offering up a few twists you wont see coming. The relationships within the story are very well developed, lending a nice voice to the narrator of the story, Clem.
If you enjoy period pieces, historic adventures or Indian lore you should enjoy this one. The ending is tightly written, well crafted and leaves me considering the past and where we are now. The only real fault I found was that a couple of times throughout the story, there was some slang used that didn't fit the period, thus interrupting the flow of the story but it happened only occasionally so its pretty easy to get past.. It reminded me in many ways of the kind of story you would tell around a campfire, at a summer camp, a subtle scary tale with a bit of a morale. All in all I enjoyed this one, it was a nice change of pace for me and unlike anything else I have reviewed for the site. It isnt over the top scary it has a nice subtlety to it that will give it an appeal to those who dont usually read horror, but are looking to expand their horizons, while still holding enough traditional elements of the genre to make the horror fans happy.