In a novel that memorably evokes a rural American countryside and its wildlife, Daniel P Mannix leads us into the magical existence of a boy groping toward maturity in a primitive but exciting environment. The story unfolds among the woods and farms of the Pennsylvania Dutch country, where the boy Billy comes from an unhappy city home to live with his great-uncle, Abe Zook, a 'braucher' or hex doctor skilled in herbal healing and widely feared as a powwow man and master of magic.
Under the tutelage of old Abe, Billy begins to learn the secrets of collecting herbs, running a farm and otherwise making a living from nature. His companions are the farm dog Wasser, the tame raven Grip, the trained owl Dracula. Important in his new life are two outcast animals, the bitch Blackie and the coyote Wolf, abandoned pets now gone to the wild and so elusive and savage that they are feared throughout the countryside and hunted by the superstitious farmers as werewolves. When the farmers start losing sheep and chickens, Billy joins them and their hounds in trying to run down the coyote and its mate.
As season follows season the 'werewolves' come to play a steadily more important role in the boy's emotional world. Billy's life is in grave danger when he meets the 'werewolves' in the winter woods, and later their marauding coydog offspring. Yet his instinctive sympathy for rejected creatures makes him the ally and defender of Wolf and Blackie. At the same time, he and his great-uncle are forced to defend their own right to wrest a living from nature against the restrictions of civilization as typified by government regulations and game wardens. Gradually, surviving conflict and near-disaster, the boy develops a new maturity and purpose.
This sensitive and poetic novel is distinguished by Daniel P Mannix's talent for recreating the lives of animals and of people who live in close contact with the outdoors. Seldom does a novel so naturally combine powerful suspense, subtle humor, little-known nature lore, and a perception that reaches deep into the ways of men, boys, and animals.
|Publisher:||eNet Press Inc.|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||404 KB|