Foreword Reviews

Trail of the Dead

This post-apocalyptic YA story is an unforgettable sensory experience, steeped in Native American folklore.

Native American folklore infuses this post-apocalyptic story with mysticism and culture. Joseph Bruchac’s Trail of the Dead stars a seventeen-year-old heroine named Lozen, an Apache hunter who must guide a loyal group of friends and refugees through treacherous territory in search of tranquility.

Rich with symbolism, this literary examination of primal instinct and human need is a study of survival. Nestled within these carefully wrought pages are the seeds of profound courage, stamina, and drive. Lozen is a woman who recognizes the necessity to lead others who are dependent on her abilities, rather than follow a childlike compulsion to retreat into the past—a peaceful world that no longer exists. Confronting obstacles along the way, she fights her way through this action-oriented plot, demonstrating the prowess of a skilled warrior as a villainous predator stalks the posse.

Immersion in Bruchac’s powerful descriptive passages—comparable to entering a forest grown dense with lush vegetation—is an unforgettable sensory experience. His evocative words trigger both positive and negative emotions, tangling like flora even upon dry flat terrain.

We’re silent as we watch the distant hills being painted orange and gold beneath the streaked blanket of sky. We can see for at least twenty miles, the land before us stretching out with the promise of new life. A promise for us too, perhaps, despite this blackness I still feel inside me. Despite how raspy my throat feels right now. I am not going to drink yet from the little water we have left.

Joseph Bruchac is the award-winning author of over 120 books. His Abenaki ancestry informs his work, adding realism and authenticity to his narratives.

Spiced with a bit of romance, this sequel to Bruchac’s Killer of Enemies seems to set the stage for an exciting new series, suitable for adults as well as adolescents. The potential for plot development is endless, opening hypothetical dramatic scenarios that will entertain faithful fans of this talented storyteller. With a strong feminist slant on womanhood, his admirable perception of his own protagonist—a gender-neutral quality often lacking in fiction—will draw sophisticated readers.

Reviewed by Julia Ann Charpentier

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Load Next Review