Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: "Song of the River" by Sue Harrison

Synopsis:  Two ancient tribes on the verge of making peace become foes once more when a double murder jeopardizes a storyteller’s mission

Eighty centuries ago, in the frozen land that is now Alaska, a clubfooted male child had been left to die, when a woman named K’os rescued him. Twenty years later and no longer a child, Chakliux occupies the revered role as his tribe’s storyteller. In the neighboring village of the Near River people, where Chakliux will attempt to make peace by wedding the shaman’s daughter, a double murder occurs that sends him on a harsh, enthralling journey in search of the truth about the tragic losses his people have suffered, and into the arms of a woman he was never meant to love.

Song of the River is the first book of the Storyteller Trilogy, which also includes Cry of the Wind and Call Down the Stars.

My Thoughts:  I have never read a work of historical fiction quite like Song of the River. It's set in 6000 BCE in Alaska which makes the book incredibly unique and intriguing.

Song of the River is a richly detailed and very well-researched story. Harrison's descriptions of daily life in an Alaskan village bring the characters to life and introduce the reader to a whole other world that I didn't even know existed. The setting was beautiful and I felt like I could easily see everything she was describing. I can't imagine how much time the author spent researching this period in history; she even uses the old language for names and various items in the villages.

In addition to a beautiful setting, Song of the River has a variety of fascinating characters.  Aqamdax had to be my favorite; I enjoyed seeing her grow into her role as a storyteller and find her self worth in that role.  K'os was another character that really caught my attention.  Yes, she was the 'villain' of the story and had let her desire for vengeance overrun her but I still felt bad for her.  I spent a lot of time wondering what she would have become had she not been victimized when she was young.

This is the first book in a trilogy and there were just enough questions left unanswered that I am going to have to pick up the next book to see what happens.  Song of the River is a great edition to the historical fiction genre and I can't wait to read more of this author's work.  3 1/2 stars.

I received a copy of this book from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:

Sue Harrison grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and graduated summa cum laude from Lake Superior State University with a bachelor of arts degree in English language and literature. At age twenty-seven, inspired by the cold Upper Michigan forest that surrounded her home, and the outdoor survival skills she had learned from her father and her husband, Harrison began researching the people who understood best how to live in a harsh environment: the North American native peoples. She studied six Native American languages and completed extensive research on culture, geography, archaeology, and anthropology during the nine years she spent writing her first novel, Mother Earth Father Sky, the extraordinary story of a woman’s struggle for survival in the last Ice Age. A national and international bestseller, and selected by the American Library Association as one of the Best Books for Young Adults in 1991, Mother Earth Father Sky is the first novel in Harrison’s critically acclaimed Ivory Carver Trilogy, which includes My Sister the Moon and Brother Wind. She is also the author of Song of the River, Cry of the Wind, and Call Down the Stars, which comprise the Storyteller Trilogy, also set in prehistoric North America. Her novels have been translated into thirteen languages and published in more than twenty countries. Harrison lives with her family in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula.    

Check out this awesome interview with Ms. Harrison! 

Check out other stops on the tour here!
Follow the tour on twitter:  #SueHarrisonTour


  1. Wow, that sounds like a really interesting book! I love finding books that are unlike anything I've read before, and this would definitely fit that. Great review! (:

  2. Thank you so much, Denise, for this great review of my novel Song of the River!

  3. What an interesting book! I always love reading books in new settings, so I definitely think I'd be up for this one.


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