×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Dark Heart (The Seeker Chronicles Series)
     

Dark Heart (The Seeker Chronicles Series)

5.0 1
by Betsy James
 

See All Formats & Editions

Having fled the tyrannical rule of her father, sixteen year old Kat now lives among her mother's people - a society that is joyful and caring, as well as conformist and bound by superstition. Kat has lived her whole life by the sea, but this new world is all stone and sky. It is bare and spare and high, ringed by mountains.

Kat has spent one year dutifully

Overview

Having fled the tyrannical rule of her father, sixteen year old Kat now lives among her mother's people - a society that is joyful and caring, as well as conformist and bound by superstition. Kat has lived her whole life by the sea, but this new world is all stone and sky. It is bare and spare and high, ringed by mountains.

Kat has spent one year dutifully preparing for her initiation rite, a ceremony that involves a live bear. Kat is frightened and uncertain, but only by completing the ritual can she be accepted into the circle of women.

But what of the young blind man she feels herself drawn to, who is handsom and artistic but also belligerent and scornful? And what of gentle Nall, the man she left behind?

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-- Continuing the tale began in Long Night Dance (Dutton, 1989), Dark Heart is set in the village of the Creek tribe at the base of Dark Heart mountain. The society is rigid and superstitious, governed by ritual and tradition. It is to this former home of her dead mother that 17-year-old Kat has fled to escape from an abusive father. Here, she must endure the ritual of being ``eaten by a bear'' to become a woman. It is around the preparation for and performance of this rite that the plot turns. The mystery of what this entails and why it must happen keeps readers turning the pages, but the conclusion is disappointing since the ritual is never fully explained or satisfactorily described. Kat is a finely drawn character. As a person in transition between two cultures and from girlhood to womanhood, she often has conflicting feelings. At times she wants to fit into the estab: lished patterns of her new home. At others, she wants to return to Nall, the man she loves but left behind. Her frequent ambivalence and flares of independence make her believable and sympathetic. The minor characters, although not as complex, are adequate to develop the story. Since several questions remain unanswered at the book's end, it's likely that another volume is forthcoming. --Marilyn Makowski, Greenwood High School, SC

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689850707
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Publication date:
11/22/2005
Series:
Seeker Chronicles Series
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Dark Heart


By Betsy James

Simon Pulse

Copyright © 2005 Betsy James
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0689850700

Chapter One

Noisy as starlings, the unmarried girls of Creek poured out of the north gate, their empty water jars on their heads. By the forbidden, smoky lodges of the Loom Holds they surged back laughing, because the young men blocked the way.

They always blocked the way. The young men sang,

Waiting at the den,

Maybe the bear comes.

Oh, yes!

Waiting in the winter,

Maybe the spring comes.

Oh, yes!

Kat staggered in the jostling crowd. The young men never bothered to tease her, because although she was seventeen she was not a woman yet. She rescued her wobbling jar and held it in both arms.

All the girls except Kat wore embroidered dancing skirts, and even on this frosty late-winter morning their blouses were cut low to show the blue tattoos on their breasts. Kat wore childish culottes, and a pinafore. The young men strutted like peacocks in their kilts and greatcloaks, short cudgels shoved into their sashes.

Tossing their spindles, the men locked shoulders and laughed. One of them yelled, "What will you give us to let you through?"

"Cold rabbit pie that the dog won't eat!" shouted Jekka, Kat's cousin.

"We'll warm it." That was handsome Set, the headwoman's grandson. His cloak and coxcomb hair were scarlet, his long legs insolently bare. "Hey, darlings, we'll warm you!"

The girls shouted back, "Naked rooster!" "Set, where are your stockings?"

"Jekka jaybird, who'll kiss such a big beak?"

"Watch out, rooster! With my beak I'll steal your spindle!"

Laughing, Set drew from his fist a length of carded wool, flicked his spindle down, wound up the new coarse yarn, and answered, "Don't bother, jaybird. I want a sweeter girl."

"Set has a honey!" The young men whistled and stamped. "Who is it? Show us, Set!"

Set strolled in front of the girls.

They jeered.

He looked them over, and stopped in front of Kat.

"She's a little red cub," he said. "Not grown yet, a first-moon bear's child."

Kat stared at him blankly.

Jekka leaned over and hissed, "Answer him, Kat!"

"What?"

"It's you. He's courting you. Answer him quick!"

The young men catcalled. "Set loves a cub! A cub!"

Kat clutched her jar. Shame swelled into her arms and face until she was as red as her curls and could not feel her hands.

"Tell him, 'This cub has claws!'" whispered Jekka. "Shout this: 'This cub eats naked rats!'"

But Kat stood dumb, as though the frost had frozen her. With a crow of laughter, Set tossed his spindle into her water jar.

The men roared.

Kat snatched the spindle out and threw it on the sand. "Stop it!" she said, like a child.

Plump MIa took pity on her, shouting to Set, "Come throw your spindle in my pot. I'll test your yarn!"

"I'm not stupid." Set grinned. MIa was as tall as he was. He picked up the spindle and tapped it clean against his long thigh. The wall of shoulders opened and the girls ran through, laughing and shouting insults, past the Loom Holds and onto the wide plain of the mountain valley.

"You'll have to be quicker," Jekka said cheerfully to Kat. "Set has a wicked tongue. But his legs are nice."

Still crimson, Kat demanded, "Why did he do that? Nobody ever -- "

Esangi cut in. "Don't think it means he likes you. They always bait the girl who's going to her bear. You'll have to learn to handle it if you want to be a woman."

"Oh," said Kat in a small voice. Struggling to balance her jar, she followed the girls down the path to fetch water from the sacred spring. The water was for her, because she was going to be eaten by the bear.

Text copyright 1992 by Betsy James



Continues...


Excerpted from Dark Heart by Betsy James Copyright © 2005 by Betsy James. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Dark Heart (The Seeker Chronicles Series) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Raim needs more story! Excellent book-love the culture!