Spirit of the Eagle

Vella Munn

Forge Books. $23.95
(paper $5.99)

Jed Britton is a lieutenant in the U.S. Army trying to put down an Indian rebellion. Luash, a young Modoc woman, is guarded and guided by the spirit of Eagle. The setting for this historical romance is a fictional but well researched account of the Modoc War of 1872-73.

Vella Munn maintains a constant tension, almost to the last page, since you know this story cannot have a "happy ending." And it doesn't really, although Munn does the best she can. The Modocs are shipped off to a reservation far away from their native lands; Luash's uncle is executed while true scoundrels go free. But Jed resigns from the army to "speak for the Modocs," and Luash accepts that a white man might learn not to hate. The book closes with the manipulatively powerful (and ambiguous) image of a nestling eagle screaming to the sky.

As strong and accurate as the historical story is, Spirit of the Eagle is too conscious of its romantic elements to be anything other than a romance novel.


This review copyright 1996 by Wendy Morris

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