From Win Blevins, two-time recipient of the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers Writer of the Year Award, a dazzling tour de force packed with drama, humor, and the lore of Native American Indians and Tibetan Buddhists.
An unlikely trio comprised of the Shoshone Indian Asie, a musical savant who has been accepted into the Church of Latter-day Saints; Sun Moon, a Tibetan nun kidnapped in Asia and forced into prostitution in America; and the renowned soldier, explorer, and translator of the Kama Sutra, Sir Richard Burton flees from the Utah Territory to California in 1862.
The Destroying Angel of the Mormon Church, Porter Rockwell, seeking vengeance against Asie and Sun Moon, pursues them relentlessly. The journey is jam-packed with unforgettable incidents and colorful characters, including a fledgling journalist named Mark Twain.
Along the way, Asie discovers why he was named the Rock Child, what it means to be a man of color in America, and how to find the spiritual path that will nurture his soul.
“Win Blevins–that master yarn-spinner–has done it again with ‘THE ROCK CHILD’. A wonderfully wild one which you don’t want to miss.” — Tony Hillerman
“Win Blevins displays an antic imagination, not only in mingling actual and invented characters but in melding gritty action-adventure with metaphysical musings.” — Dale Wasserman, author of Man of La Mancha
“Win Blevins new book is a risqué and veritable romp through the history of the Old West! Highly enjoyable reading! —Clyde M. Hall, Shoshone-Bannock tribal judge
“Blevins, whose Stone Song (TOR, 1995) fictionalized the life of the legendary Crazy Horse, has stated his aim is to write ‘mythic novels of the American West.’ He meets that goal in his new work, which is told from the shifting perspectives of Asie, a mixed Native American-Anglo musical savant; Sun Moon, a virginal Tibetan nun shanghaied into American prostitution; and Sir Richard Burton, real-life explorer, linguist, and Arabian Nights translator.
“Joining Burton in rescuing Asie and Sun Moon from a dreadful fate is Mark Twain, a ready-made, easy-to-use comedic catalyst that surprisingly few historical novelists have thought to exploit. Like Twain, Burton is rendered as a caricature. He’s a cultivated, Sean Connery-type sinner who feels badly about his appetites, and the picaresque passages told from his perspective enliven the pace of this ambitious narrative.” — Library Journal
“A colorful novel set among the Mormons in 1862, featuring such real folks as Sam Clemens, Sir Richard Burton, Brigham Young, and Porter Rockwell, by the author of Stone Song. Half-Indian Asie Taylor, a musical prodigy who has been accepted into the Church of the Latter-day Saints, drowns when his delivery wagon is overturned in a flash flood, has an out-of-body experience, returns to life, and is amazed to see hovering over him the scarred but beautiful face of Sun Moon, a Tibetan Buddhist nun who was kidnapped in Asia and shipped to America to be sold into prostitution. There, she ended up in Idaho, where Tarim, the local tavernkeeper/whoremaster who bought her, expected to resell her for a hefty sum.
“When Porter Rockwell, a Mormon known as the Destroying Angel (he seeks out and kills enemies of the church) wins Sun Moon, he attempts to satisfy his lust, is frustrated by his inability to do so, and disfigures her face. Having learned some English while storekeeping, Sun Moon flees Tarim and falls in with Asie, who decides to go in search of his origins and of the meaning of his Shoshone name, Rock Child.
“Meantime, Rockwell is in pursuit of Sun Moon, determined to kill her—and anyone who gets in his way. Tibetan-speaking British explorer/translator Sir Richard Burton, an opium addict of none-too-sound mind, who’s in Salt Lake City to persuade Brigham Young to form a separate Western Confederacy, saves Asie and Sun Moon from Rockwell and joins their quest. For a while, Brigham Young gives them sanctuary from Rockwell, though Rockwell later follows the trio to San Francisco. The climax would satisfy the Buddha himself as his teachings resoundingly bring the murderous Rockwell to heel.
The historical detail serves a charming treasure.” — Kirkus Reviews
“‘Life is a flabbergaster,’ says Asie Taylor, hero of Win Blevins’s THE ROCK CHILD, a story that will flabbergast every reader who opens it. This is a rich, funny, fascinating, meaningful, and memorable novel from the author of that incredible masterpiece about Crazy Horse, Stone Song.” —Rocky Mountain News
“Blevins’ interest in Western history is obviously equalled by his love of music… He is a gifted storyteller bound to captivate his readers.” —Choteau Acantha (Choteau, MT)
“This book is a first person account of a perilous journey taken across the wild west. What makes this book unique is the company the teller keeps. A half breed of unknown origins is the teller, and he is in the company of a Tibetan nun whom he has fallen in love with, and a spy for the British—who’s secretly practicing a ‘heathen’ religion!”–Wlksonrvr
“Flabbergaster. I found this novel a delightful and interesting read. The inclusion of Buddhist spirituality, an amazingly international array of characters (even a Chinese Muslim (Uighur) tavern keeper), and emphasis on the Native American experience, make this novel deeper and more meaningful than most other novels set in the American West.
“The plot is intriguing, and the novel is at its best in depicting its colorful and diverse characters (Taylor, buoyant half-Indian, with a passion for music, who pairs up with Sun moon, beautiful Tibetan nun) and settings, from a Digger Indian village to Mormon Utah. Despite its realistic depictions of the racism and violence of the period, the story remains light-hearted and humorous. Sir Richard Burton, Nile explorer and drug addict, was particularly enjoyable. It would have been more interesting if his Sufi beliefs were explored a bit further, but of course he was somewhat of a side character.” — Munir
“This Book ROCKS! Everything about this book is great. Awesome and original story line, interesting historical facts, and wild adventure. This is the first book I’ve ever read by Blevins, and now I can’t wait to order his other books, pronto. If you like historically based novels and unique story lines, this is the book for you.” – Amy Burr