Hot Best Seller

Black Hills

Availability: Ready to download

When Paha Sapa, a young Sioux warrior, "counts coup" on General George Armstrong Custer as Custer lies dying on the battlefield at the Little Bighorn, the legendary general's ghost enters him - and his voice will speak to him for the rest of his event-filled life. Seamlessly weaving together the stories of Paha Sapa, Custer, and the American West, Dan Simmons depicts a tumu When Paha Sapa, a young Sioux warrior, "counts coup" on General George Armstrong Custer as Custer lies dying on the battlefield at the Little Bighorn, the legendary general's ghost enters him - and his voice will speak to him for the rest of his event-filled life. Seamlessly weaving together the stories of Paha Sapa, Custer, and the American West, Dan Simmons depicts a tumultuous time in the history of both Native and white Americans. Haunted by Custer's ghost, and also by his ability to see into the memories and futures of legendary men like Sioux war-chief Crazy Horse, Paha Sapa's long life is driven by a dramatic vision he experienced as a boy in his people's sacred Black Hills. In August of 1936, a dynamite worker on the massive Mount Rushmore project, Paha Sapa plans to silence his ghost forever and reclaim his people's legacy-on the very day FDR comes to Mount Rushmore to dedicate the Jefferson face.

*advertisement

Compare

When Paha Sapa, a young Sioux warrior, "counts coup" on General George Armstrong Custer as Custer lies dying on the battlefield at the Little Bighorn, the legendary general's ghost enters him - and his voice will speak to him for the rest of his event-filled life. Seamlessly weaving together the stories of Paha Sapa, Custer, and the American West, Dan Simmons depicts a tumu When Paha Sapa, a young Sioux warrior, "counts coup" on General George Armstrong Custer as Custer lies dying on the battlefield at the Little Bighorn, the legendary general's ghost enters him - and his voice will speak to him for the rest of his event-filled life. Seamlessly weaving together the stories of Paha Sapa, Custer, and the American West, Dan Simmons depicts a tumultuous time in the history of both Native and white Americans. Haunted by Custer's ghost, and also by his ability to see into the memories and futures of legendary men like Sioux war-chief Crazy Horse, Paha Sapa's long life is driven by a dramatic vision he experienced as a boy in his people's sacred Black Hills. In August of 1936, a dynamite worker on the massive Mount Rushmore project, Paha Sapa plans to silence his ghost forever and reclaim his people's legacy-on the very day FDR comes to Mount Rushmore to dedicate the Jefferson face.

30 review for Black Hills

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kemper

    When will Dan Simmons come up with some original ideas? This latest is about a Lakota (Sioux) Indian named Paha Sapa (which means Black Hills) who has the psychic ability to read a person’s memories and get a glimpse of their future by touching them. After trying to count coup on a dying soldier at the Little Big Horn, he ends up with the spirit of George Custer inhabiting his consciousness. This puts Paha Sapa at odds with Crazy Horse, whose memories he also absorbs, and forces him to run away When will Dan Simmons come up with some original ideas? This latest is about a Lakota (Sioux) Indian named Paha Sapa (which means Black Hills) who has the psychic ability to read a person’s memories and get a glimpse of their future by touching them. After trying to count coup on a dying soldier at the Little Big Horn, he ends up with the spirit of George Custer inhabiting his consciousness. This puts Paha Sapa at odds with Crazy Horse, whose memories he also absorbs, and forces him to run away and start his vision quest. After a terrifying vision of his people’s future, Paha Sapa tries to return to warn the Lakota, only to be blocked by circumstances that will lead him through a life of loss and regret that culminates with him attempting to sabotage the carving of Mount Rushmore. Yeah, like we haven’t read THAT story a thousand times already…. Seriously, someone needs to put an ice pack on Dan Simmons head because I’m relatively sure that the guy's brains have got be cooking. Normal writers are not meant to shift from horror to crime to sci-fi and then start packaging elements of all of them into meticulously researched historical fiction. It was hard enough to keep up when he just stuck to mind-bending sci-fi like Ilium and Olympus, but this is just crazy. The story of Paha Sapa and his life will suck any reader in. Plus there’s an amazing amount of detail that’s in this book regarding everything from the Lakota way of life and language, Custer’s life (and surprisingly freaky sexual escapades with his wife), the Battle of the Little Big Horn, the carving of Mt. Rushmore, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Chicago World’s Fair. In fact, there’s a little too much detail in this one. Reading the section where Paha Sapa visits the Brooklyn Bridge and is remembering all he was told about its construction by a friend made me realize that Simmons could have written an entire book about just the building of the bridge. And while it’s all interesting and well written, it’s just completely overwhelming after a while. That’s too bad because there is a really great and touching story with a terrific main character here, but it all tends to get obscured by everything that’s going on. Simmons is an incredible writer, but he really doesn’t need to put every idea he has into one book. I need a nap.

  2. 5 out of 5

    J.K. Grice

    I loved the premise of BLACK HILLS, and Simmons delivers an absolutely brilliant story. Meticulous historical research, coupled with wonder and Native American magic make this novel a superb read. Highly recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    DNF due to absurd sex letters and boring bullshit. Easily one of Simmons's worst. Which is sad because the book isn't terrible all the time. But when it is terrible, holy shit, it's almost unreadable.

  4. 5 out of 5

    11811 (Eleven)

    I'm not sure why I finished listening to this but every time I thought I was at a dead end it would turn back onto Fascination Street. (Maybe not the same street The Cure sang about. That would require further tiresome research.) I love Simmons but, like his genres, my ratings are all over the place. This gets somewhere between one and five stars. At half the length of masterpieces like The Terror and The Abominable, it felt twice as long. He could have shaved a hundred pages by sticking with Eng I'm not sure why I finished listening to this but every time I thought I was at a dead end it would turn back onto Fascination Street. (Maybe not the same street The Cure sang about. That would require further tiresome research.) I love Simmons but, like his genres, my ratings are all over the place. This gets somewhere between one and five stars. At half the length of masterpieces like The Terror and The Abominable, it felt twice as long. He could have shaved a hundred pages by sticking with English. The Sioux spoke Sioux. I get it. Unless there's a complicated translation of something specific I don't it's necessary to offer everything in both languages. I also learned from The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America that the Chicago fair was boring enough to not deserve multiple pages on the fucking Ferris wheel. Ever been on one as a kid? Remember wanting it to end so you could get on a real roller coaster? Yeah, it was fifty cents to ride it. Fascinating. Let's talk about it. I didn't hate all of it. Most of it, probably, but the rest of it was fabulous. The dynamite shaving of Mount Rushmore was of particular interest to me but detailed enough that those parts will probably piss people off too. I defer to one of my previous reviews of his work where I complain that he's always hit or miss for me. (Fucking Simmons!!!) I'm gonna settle for a simultaneous one and five star rating. You'll either love it or throw things in frustration. Good luck to you all.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    The beauty of Dan Simmons is how well he transcends genre. Not content to just be a science-fiction novelist, or a horror novelist, or a crime novelist, or a historical ficiton novelist, he does a bit of dabbling in all of those genres. And that's the thing: he doesn't just dabble. He kicks each genre square in the ass. Simmons is such a damn fine writer that his work can be enjoyed as the beautiful works of art they are, regardless of the genre. In fact, the genre of each individual work is irr The beauty of Dan Simmons is how well he transcends genre. Not content to just be a science-fiction novelist, or a horror novelist, or a crime novelist, or a historical ficiton novelist, he does a bit of dabbling in all of those genres. And that's the thing: he doesn't just dabble. He kicks each genre square in the ass. Simmons is such a damn fine writer that his work can be enjoyed as the beautiful works of art they are, regardless of the genre. In fact, the genre of each individual work is irrelevant. I read everything this man publishes because I love his work, but there really is something for everybody in the vault of Simmons novels. My wife asked me about halfway through this novel if I thought it was better than Drood (his most recent novel, which I raved about on this very site). And I don't think it is, but I also believe that it might be. It's a different sort of novel, impossible to classify alongside a work as dreary and dark as Drood. Black Hills is also neither as good as or better than Hyperion, or Carrion Comfort, or Fires of Eden, or The Terror. Simmons doesn't seem to be out to defeat himself, though. He just seems to want to write beautiful novels that don't necessarily all fit on the same shelf at the library. Dammit, I love Dan Simmons! And Black Hills is no exception. I'm not going to spoil anything. Readers should experience the story being told here for themselves. I will say, though, that it's quite remarkable the way that Mr. Simmons can take a story about a man who plots to destroy Mt. Rushmore and make a reader care. Everyone knows that Mt. Rushmore isn't going to get destroyed at the ending, but the writing still manages to give the idea an incredible amount of tension. This one is more about the journey. It's the journey of a flawed and sad and wonderfully inspiring man.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    It's been almost a full year since I've read my first Simmons novel, Summer of Night. Black Hills will mark my seventh Simmons read. Contrary to popular opinion, this one ranks as one of my favorites by him. I can easily see why people would think that this is boring, and for a number of reasons. Folks may not have much interest in Native American culture. Or can get bored with historical fiction when they want that SCI-FI fix. I can also say that there was not a whole lot suspense. But for me, It's been almost a full year since I've read my first Simmons novel, Summer of Night. Black Hills will mark my seventh Simmons read. Contrary to popular opinion, this one ranks as one of my favorites by him. I can easily see why people would think that this is boring, and for a number of reasons. Folks may not have much interest in Native American culture. Or can get bored with historical fiction when they want that SCI-FI fix. I can also say that there was not a whole lot suspense. But for me, Black Hills packed quite an emotional punch. I feel like this book was something personal, almost spiritual to Simmons. It was more than just a story about an Indian boy and the ghost of Custer. It was more than just a story about carving into Mount Rushmore. Black Hills, I think, was a coming-of-age novel while also being a coming-of-old-age (since the timelines flipped back and forth between Paha Sapa as a 10 year old boy and as a 70 year old man). Simmons really outlined Native American culture that was seen through the lens of an innocent child who was suddenly thrust into adult situations and had to make adult decisions. We follow Paha Sapa throughout his lifetime as he grows and finds work, develops relationships, and adjusts (or does he?) to the white man's world. The Natural-Free-Human-Being living amongst the Wasichu Fat-Takers. So yea, I really enjoyed this one. It took a little bit at the beginning, but I found myself quite immersed into the story. It was pretty grand scale, from Midwestern landscapes to big skies and prairies. This would make for a very visual experience, if ever turned into a film. **I also enjoyed the tie-in to 'The Fifth Heart' which was written after Black Hills

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sandi

    I am so glad I listened to the audiobook of Black Hills instead of trying to read it. It's so dense and convoluted that I don't think I would have made it through the print version. Plus, it was pretty cool listening to the two readers. The one who narrates all of Paha Sapa's experiences sounds like a Lakota. He does a great job with all the Lakota words and phrases that would have just fouled me up royally if I had been trying to read it. The reader who does Custer's ghost sounds sufficiently 1 I am so glad I listened to the audiobook of Black Hills instead of trying to read it. It's so dense and convoluted that I don't think I would have made it through the print version. Plus, it was pretty cool listening to the two readers. The one who narrates all of Paha Sapa's experiences sounds like a Lakota. He does a great job with all the Lakota words and phrases that would have just fouled me up royally if I had been trying to read it. The reader who does Custer's ghost sounds sufficiently 19th century. The problems I had with this book were also some of the things I liked. Black Hills has a ton of historical information covering 80 years of South Dakota and US history. I learned about the Lakota and how they related to other Plains tribes; I learned about the carving of Mount Rushmore; I learned everything I need to know about dynamite; I learned the history of headlights on Harley Davidson motorcycles; I learned more about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge than was ever covered on Modern Marvels; I learned everything there is to know about the Chicago World's Fair; and I learned that George Armstrong Custer was a horny guy and his wife was the original Cosmo girl. (The scenes where Custer's ghost is reminiscing about his sex life with Libby were extremely uncomfortable. Paha Sapa rightfully calls them pornographic.) There's a lot more history in Black Hills, but I think that's enough for one review. My biggest issue about this book is that it rambled. It went back and forth between historical periods without much rhyme or reason. Sometimes, a scene in Paha Sapa's early life is told in present tense, other times it's a flashback. Throw into the mix the fact that Paha Sapa sometimes gets people's forward (future) memories when he touches them, and you get a narrative that is more than non-lineal. As he did with The Terror, Simmons dragged the ending out way too long. There were at least 3 places before the actual end when the book should have and could have ended. As in The Terror, there is an extended dream sequence near the end that really doesn't make much sense and actually detracts from everything that came before. There was also a pointlessly long epilogue and 20 minutes of acknowledgments that I didn't bother to listen to. There's a lot of great stuff in Black Hills, but it sure would have benefited from some serious editing.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Having demonstrated that he can write successfully in any genre he chooses, Simmons plainly wanted a greater challenge, so he decided to create his own: the historical horror/supernatural genre. The Terror and Drood showed just how ambitious an idea this is and neither is perfect. For this, his third entry in his own genre, Simmons makes his own life easier by not using the first person voice of a Brit and thus avoiding all the problems of writing British English when you are an American English Having demonstrated that he can write successfully in any genre he chooses, Simmons plainly wanted a greater challenge, so he decided to create his own: the historical horror/supernatural genre. The Terror and Drood showed just how ambitious an idea this is and neither is perfect. For this, his third entry in his own genre, Simmons makes his own life easier by not using the first person voice of a Brit and thus avoiding all the problems of writing British English when you are an American English speaker - then makes it harder again by making the narrator a Lakota Indian and having to deal with a language that is not remotely like English... So Paha Sapa (Black Hills) tells his life story and a remarkable life it is, what with being at the Battle of the Little Bighorn (or Greasy Grass in Lakota), inhabited by the ghost of Custer and the memories of Crazy Horse (who is pretty crazy), a participant in Buffalo Bill Hicock's Wild West Show, a powder-man at the Mt. Rushmore sculpting and a man prone to visions when at spiritually important locations. Through the voices of various people, the visions and direct experiences of Paha Sapa, Simmons is able to tell the tale of the final destruction of the plains Indians' way of life, starting with the Pyrhhic victory of the Greasy Bighorn (or Little Grass, or something) and the subsequent environmental degradation caused mainly by cattle ranching but this is no simple monument to a dead culture. Simons points out that the Lakota were violent, stealing women and horses from neighbouring tribes, having gained their territory by ousting the people who were there when they arrived...which might remind one of what the European settlers did. Other tribes were much the same. They were not, despite their religion, "in harmony with nature" either, having apparently hunted to extinction various paleo-megafauna (which is a just fabulous word) of the North American plains. The Lakota called themselves Human Beings and every other racial grouping were not proper people...most other tribes' languages made the same distinction for their tribe... Where is Simmons going with all this? Only so far as to say, oh look - the Plains Indians were human too, and prone to the same foibles, crimes and passions as everyone else. They were certainly sinned against but they were sinners too. Which raises the question, what's the difference between a bunch of tribes with essentially the same technology, philosophy and religion warring with each other for territory and a completely alien culture coming along and doing the same thing but to all the tribes at once? It feels like there is one. The book forces you to think over questions of cultural relativism, colonialism and evangelism. Here is a classic "Outside Context Problem" as discussed in Iain Banks' Excession. However, Simmons hasn't discussed the same topic over and again ad nauseum so it isn't annoying... It's an impressive feat, as were drood and the Terror but they were both flawed; is Black Hills? Unfortunately, yes it is. The problems are all in the "Paha goes to New York City" chapter where Simmons goes completely crackers and starts writing like Dan Brown! By which I mean that he insists on pouring every tedious statistic about the dimensions, weight, shoe and hat-size of the Brooklyn Bridge. I had serious flash-backs to the Louvre scene at the beginning of The Da Vinci Code. Also the shakes, sweats and a fever. The horror! Listen guys! Readers do not care what the length, breadth, height and weight of any famous building or engineering work is, expressed to three significant figures and dumped on them all at once like, well like a 597 metre long, 1.27 metric tonne, 3.14cm diameter coil of steel cable. (See? And I just made those figures up 'cos they just don't matter.) All of this ruins an impressive, evocative story about how the caissons for the bridge were made fast on bedrock below the mud of the Hudson. So, authors, having done the work to discover a fact is not sufficient reason for putting said fact in the book. If it doesn't advance the story, help set the scene or aid the subtext, leave it out. Paha Sapa has three visions in the book. One is very bleak indeed and comes true. Another has his ancestors exhorting Paha Sapa to take action to save his people. He has a completely false notion of what this action should be. Can he save his people? The third vision is a prophecy: the plains will be restored to something like their former glory and neo-Indians will live there, within a newly rebuilt eco-system, resuscitated after clinical death by climate change and mono-culture farming. I don't share Simmons' optimism but it's worth reading about it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    16/12 - I can't remember ever being quite so relieved to have finally finished a book. Usually bad books get to be quite fun to read because I can post hilarious status updates showcasing the horrendous editing, writing, dialogue, etc., but Black Hills didn't have most of that, it was just really, REALLY boring and slow. I hated about 97% of the minutes I spent reading this - skimmed from somewhere in the 200s, skipped Custer's sex scene reminiscences (grossest and most awkward I've read in a lo 16/12 - I can't remember ever being quite so relieved to have finally finished a book. Usually bad books get to be quite fun to read because I can post hilarious status updates showcasing the horrendous editing, writing, dialogue, etc., but Black Hills didn't have most of that, it was just really, REALLY boring and slow. I hated about 97% of the minutes I spent reading this - skimmed from somewhere in the 200s, skipped Custer's sex scene reminiscences (grossest and most awkward I've read in a long time) after the first one, but it still took me 55 days to finish it (thank goodness the library's understanding and no one else felt a desire to read it) and I'll tell you it was truly a struggle. I felt no connection with Paha Sapa (main character) whatsoever; found the descriptions of the Lakota ceremonies too long and too numerous; wanted to like Rain, but because of the way the plot kept jumping between three different timelines where she was in Paha Sapa's life I didn't get a chance to know her properly; found the construction (or I suppose destruction) of Mount Rushmore to be of vague interest as I barely know anything about it (didn't even know it's in South Dakota, always thought it was in Washington State), but that interest waned as the timeline jumped around and I was buried under minute details about the process of blasting bits of rock off the mountain in order to allow men to carve the faces with hand tools. There were only two instances where I thought "This is honestly interesting." - when Simmons was discussing the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the epilogue which was pure fact about Paha Sapa's descendants and his son Robert's wife's family's escape from Nazi Europe. I think this would have been a much better book as a biography of Paha Sapa showing only what is known of his life, rather than making so much weird stuff up (Paha Sapa's childhood vision of the creation of Mount Rushmore by the Fat Takers was sooo long that I ended up skipping most of the second half because I kept falling asleep while reading it). I would only recommend this to those really devoted to knowing everything there is to know about dynamite blasting in the 1930s, those who are interested in reading Custer's intimate letters to his wife Libbie, and those who are fascinated by the day-to-day life of a Lakota boy in the late 1800s. Also probably not a good idea to choose this as your first Simmons book (like I did) because I have it on good authority that it doesn't show him at anywhere near his best.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gef

    This sets the bar pretty high for the rest of the 2010 releases I read. It's also my first chance reading a Dan Simmons novel, and I think I'll be reading a lot more of his work in the years to come. This is a coming-of-age tale, with a love story, with a dash of the supernatural, and a kind of requiem for the Native American ancestry. I dare say anyone who reads this book will be contemplating it long after they've set it down.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marvin

    Three and a half stars. Black Hills is another intelligent marathon of a book by Dan Simmons. It's actually a bit shorter than his last two, The Terror and Drood, at 500+ pages. It is also not quite as good at his last two novels but still an entertaining and impressive read. In Black Hills, Ten year old Sioux Indian Paha Saba touches General Custer at Little Big horn at the time of Custer's death and causes the boy to be haunted by his spirit. The novel follows Paha Saba throughout his life culm Three and a half stars. Black Hills is another intelligent marathon of a book by Dan Simmons. It's actually a bit shorter than his last two, The Terror and Drood, at 500+ pages. It is also not quite as good at his last two novels but still an entertaining and impressive read. In Black Hills, Ten year old Sioux Indian Paha Saba touches General Custer at Little Big horn at the time of Custer's death and causes the boy to be haunted by his spirit. The novel follows Paha Saba throughout his life culminating in what may be his destiny at Mount Rushmore. I found Saha Saba to be a worthy protagonist in this epic tale and instantly likeable. Yet the way Simmons tells this story is quite fragmented. He slips from one period of time to another and back. I felt I didn't have all the information I needed at times to have empathy for Paha Saba and therefore some of the book dragged. Also Custer's "ghost-voice" was not all that significant at times and often over-shadowed by Paha Saba's other psychic abilities which were more germane to the plot. Custer was also a bit of a whiner, unfortunately. As usual, Simmon's incredible research makes the novel real, especially in his depiction of tribal life and life in the Western frontier. I also found the background on the making of Mount Rushmore fascinating. Not so much the building of the Brooklyn Bride since it seemed to be research for research's sake and not all that important to the rest of the narration. Mostly though, I found the bigger-than-life Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum to be a bigger catalyst to the tale than the elusive Custer. When Borglum takes center stage, so to speak, the room lights up. By the end of the novel, I found Black Hills to be very moving, get-out-your-handkerchief material. Overall it is a fitting addition for your collection if you like either fantasy or fictional works about American history. If not on the par with most of Simmons' other books it is still way above most literary fantasies.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tropean

    I'll still read everything Simmons writes, but this one was, for me, just OK. For the last few years I've marveled at Simmons' ability to write so much, so quickly, about such a range of topics. And yes, I understand that an author of Simmons' prominence will (may?) have a research assistant or two helping out. But at several times during Black Hills I was reminded of Mark Twain's apology to a friend that he wrote him a long letter "because he didn't have time to write a short one." There were p I'll still read everything Simmons writes, but this one was, for me, just OK. For the last few years I've marveled at Simmons' ability to write so much, so quickly, about such a range of topics. And yes, I understand that an author of Simmons' prominence will (may?) have a research assistant or two helping out. But at several times during Black Hills I was reminded of Mark Twain's apology to a friend that he wrote him a long letter "because he didn't have time to write a short one." There were pages of material in this book - almost always details of historic events or places - that served no other function than to convey that Simmons (or a researcher) had dug out these (sometimes) interesting facts and were conveying them to us. In my view, they didn't move the plot forward or make the characters more believable or the places more real. They simply added to the heft of the manuscript. But like I said, I'll still be there to buy the next one.

  13. 5 out of 5

    William

    As usual his need to show off his research is in abundance, but here it stifles the story rather than revealing motivation, and chunks of exposition appear just when things were getting interesting. Still, he's a magical writer when he lets his imagination soar, and parts of this, in particular the sections dealing with the protagonist's spiritual quests really soar. It's not in the same upper bracket as The Terror or Carrion Comfort, not as gripping as Drood, and hasn't got the thrills of The Ab As usual his need to show off his research is in abundance, but here it stifles the story rather than revealing motivation, and chunks of exposition appear just when things were getting interesting. Still, he's a magical writer when he lets his imagination soar, and parts of this, in particular the sections dealing with the protagonist's spiritual quests really soar. It's not in the same upper bracket as The Terror or Carrion Comfort, not as gripping as Drood, and hasn't got the thrills of The Abominable, but it held my attention, although I could have done without knowing quite so much about General Custer's sex life.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Buhs

    Maybe it's me. I haven't found any good long novels in a while--and maybe that's a me problem. Maybe I just don't like them anymore, even though I loved Dan Simmons' Terror and Summer of Night when I read them. Maybe. But I think there's enough problems with this story that it's the book's problem, not mine. In my experience, Simmons is an uneven writer. I still think of the Terror as one of my favorite stories. But I Carrion Comfort was an interesting novella stretched over 700 pages, A Winter's Maybe it's me. I haven't found any good long novels in a while--and maybe that's a me problem. Maybe I just don't like them anymore, even though I loved Dan Simmons' Terror and Summer of Night when I read them. Maybe. But I think there's enough problems with this story that it's the book's problem, not mine. In my experience, Simmons is an uneven writer. I still think of the Terror as one of my favorite stories. But I Carrion Comfort was an interesting novella stretched over 700 pages, A Winter's Haunting a failed experiment, and I could not even finish Song of Kali. I hope that Black Hills would at least be engaging. The outline of the story seems as though it would be: A Lakota Indian who can sometimes see the future is possessed by the ghost of General George Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn. He vows revenge on the 'fat takers'--those whites who stole everything from his people--by getting a job on the crew sculpting Mount Rushmore and then blowing it up in front of FDR. Alas, it is not engaging. At all. A large part of the problem is the book's structure. The story flits back and forth in time, from 1876, when Paha Sapa is infected and goes on a vision quest, to 1893, when he spends some time at the World Fair in Chicago, to his times in New York, when he helped build the Brooklyn Bridge and met Custer's widow, to 1936, when he is dying of cancer and racing to blow up the nascent Mount Rushmore. The trouble with this structure is that it drains the story of any suspense. Sure, Paha Sapa encounters a howling tornado on the Dust Bowl--but we already know he survives, because we met him years later. Sure, he meets a woman at the Chicago Fair, but whether he marries her or not, we know that he is alone again when we actually care about his struggles. These constant trips through time do not seem integral to the story as much as chances for Simmons to due set pieces based on his extensive historical research. Which brings us to another problem. The research is not well integrated into the book. At times, it almost seems as though what Simmons wanted to write was a book of history but for some reason chose to make it fiction. There are elaborate paragraphs devoted to explaining just how Paha Sapa was at the write place to read T.S. Elliott and so could accurately quote him, or how some other character had just happened to read one of Einstein's scientific papers (in the original German, though the student was a high school student), and how it changed his religious views. At times, it is easier to skim between the dialog and just ignore the intervening parts because it is all historical detail, mostly undigested and irrelevant tot he story. But the dialog, too, is not the conversations of normal human beings. Half of the time, it is done just as positioning, to let us know, again, we are in historical times. The other half of the dialog sounds anachronistic. Simmons builds elaborate sentences in order to use the actual Lakota words. (Paha Sapa means Black Hills). But this just reinforces the distance between the modern vocabulary he uses and the historical setting. This distance is especially clear in the sections voiced by Custer. He sounds like someone trying to sound like Custer. It is unintentionally funny--moreso since the first few times we hear Custer talking, he is basically telling his life as a bodice-ripper. (It's almost as though Simmons wanted to write a contemporary romance novel.) Campy to the extreme. I think it is supposed to tie in with a symbolic meaning to the story that Simmons started with at the beginning of the book, but then left behind. The Black Hills, Paha Sapa says, are the 'cunt' of the world. And it is made extremely clear that Custer likes Libbie's vagina. But what's the point of the parallel. But the real disappointment in Custer's ghost is that there is no point to it. Mostly Paha Sapa ignores it. It doesn't haunt or torment him. It is just there. To no effect. The most unforgivable sin, however, is the ending. Total deus ex machina. Completely out of left field. Indeed, the book breaks apart at the end, suddenly pointing toward a different view of history--that the Native Americans were as bad as the whites, killing each other, wiping out the continent's megafauna. But these are thrown in and don't carry the emotional weight of what came before (such as it was). They seem part of another story. What is most fascinating to me are it is possible to see some of the same elements here--good and bad--that were present in books by Simmons I liked: the lonely, hard-scrabble man, the fiery, sexual woman who awakens him, the necessary brush with the primeval forces of nature. Cliched those these may be, they can work if put into an actual story, but that's not what is presented here. Disappointing.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Judy Pancoast

    Dan Simmons wrote my all-time favorite book, "Summer of Night." So why has it taken me so long to get to this one? I don't know- because I wasted a lot of time reading lesser writers when I could have been enjoying the spectacular epic story of Paha Sapa, Lakota. To be honest, I was dumb. I let the genre label "historical fiction" keep me away. I'm not necessarily "into" historical fiction, nor do I particularly seek out stories of Native Americans, so I finally picked this up for only one reaso Dan Simmons wrote my all-time favorite book, "Summer of Night." So why has it taken me so long to get to this one? I don't know- because I wasted a lot of time reading lesser writers when I could have been enjoying the spectacular epic story of Paha Sapa, Lakota. To be honest, I was dumb. I let the genre label "historical fiction" keep me away. I'm not necessarily "into" historical fiction, nor do I particularly seek out stories of Native Americans, so I finally picked this up for only one reason- it was written by Dan Simmons. What I got was historical fiction, adventure, ghost story, mystery and suspense all rolled into one. I don't write "reviews" that regurgitate the story. I just like to tell you whether or not a book is worth your time and imagination. And I'm telling you, this one is. Whatever your interests are, Simmons' writing will make you care about Paha Sapa's story, and understand that history itself is dependent upon one's perspective. We never really "know" it; but we can learn more by understanding more perspectives. The story is both sad and hopeful and endlessly fascinating with its insight into U.S. History and its speculation about the future. I've been to the Black Hills many times... I can't wait to go back now that I've read this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ben De Bono

    I have mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand, the subject matter really isn't something that interests me. If this hadn't been a Dan Simmons novel there's no way I would have picked this up. On the other hand, the writing is spectacular. The characterizations are great, the prose is poetic and the history is fascinating. Even though I didn't care for the overall subject matter, I was completely caught up in the story just because of how well written it is. That pretty much sums up my thoug I have mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand, the subject matter really isn't something that interests me. If this hadn't been a Dan Simmons novel there's no way I would have picked this up. On the other hand, the writing is spectacular. The characterizations are great, the prose is poetic and the history is fascinating. Even though I didn't care for the overall subject matter, I was completely caught up in the story just because of how well written it is. That pretty much sums up my thoughts on the first 400 pages. Then in the last 80 everything gets turned on it's head. The writing takes a dive. It's not terrible by any means, but there are some contrived character choices and the prose loses its intimacy and poetry. However, the content gets a lot more interesting. What Simmons has to say at the end of the book is very engaging and thought provoking. So I guess I can't win with this one. It's either so-so content with lights out writing or so-so writing with great content. The bottom line: it's Dan Simmons and you should read it. Even his less than great books are still pretty terrific.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This book was a real disappointment. Dan Simmons wrote one of my most favorite books ever: The Terror. Black Hills, on the other hand, seemed to go on and on, delving into detail no matter how trivial and not in service of forwarding the plot. I liked some of the characters well enough, and truly enjoyed the descriptions of what it was like living in Plains Indians' society before most tribes were killed off or forced onto reservations. As others have commented in reviews of this book, many of t This book was a real disappointment. Dan Simmons wrote one of my most favorite books ever: The Terror. Black Hills, on the other hand, seemed to go on and on, delving into detail no matter how trivial and not in service of forwarding the plot. I liked some of the characters well enough, and truly enjoyed the descriptions of what it was like living in Plains Indians' society before most tribes were killed off or forced onto reservations. As others have commented in reviews of this book, many of the interweavings of the thoughts of George Armstrong Custer seemed off point, especially some of the very odd-almost soft porn-ramblings about his relationship (and relations) with his wife Libby. A further complaint includes the sometimes gratuitous moving back and forth across decades versus using a more linear narrative style which would have been easier to follow. I have two more Simmons books on my shelf: Carrion Comfort and Drood. Guess I'll give the former a try once I've recovered from reading Black Hills. Hope CC will be as fabulous as The Terror was.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    This isn't the best of Simmons.There were moments of literary brilliance here and then there were parts that were so boring I wanted to rip my eyes out.This is very uneven work,pace is slow and some parts are nothing more than Dan Simmons showing of how well he did his historical research.But Paha Sapa is splendid character.Following his life journey is what made me stick with BLACK HILLS,even when I wanted to throw this book as far as I could and then pick it up an throw it again.Frustrating bu This isn't the best of Simmons.There were moments of literary brilliance here and then there were parts that were so boring I wanted to rip my eyes out.This is very uneven work,pace is slow and some parts are nothing more than Dan Simmons showing of how well he did his historical research.But Paha Sapa is splendid character.Following his life journey is what made me stick with BLACK HILLS,even when I wanted to throw this book as far as I could and then pick it up an throw it again.Frustrating but worthy novel.

  19. 5 out of 5

    John Boettcher

    After reading most of the works the Dan Simmons has read, I have come to believe that he can do no wrong. I would read a grocery list if he published it. Every time I grab another one of his books, there are always those little quips at the beginning from authors and newspapers and other publications touting the book, but I have little faith in them because how many authors just have their publishers pay for that thing to be done? But all of Simmons's praise is deserved. All reviews by me on Sim After reading most of the works the Dan Simmons has read, I have come to believe that he can do no wrong. I would read a grocery list if he published it. Every time I grab another one of his books, there are always those little quips at the beginning from authors and newspapers and other publications touting the book, but I have little faith in them because how many authors just have their publishers pay for that thing to be done? But all of Simmons's praise is deserved. All reviews by me on Simmons are probably going to read the same. Awe of the book, extreme praise for the author to the point where I just want everyone to read SOMETHING by Simmons. Anything. Just pick one out and go for it. This guy has won awards in more geners than most authors even know exist! Black Hills is no exception. You walk into the book with a vague intro in the book cover and don't really know what you are in store for. By the end of the book you are not only entertained, you are educated, and most amazing of all, driven to go see the Black Hills(again) for yourself! Having grown up fairly close to the Black Hills myself in Western Nebraksa, we frequently went to the Black Hills for vacation or Rapid City for sporting events, during which we would always make trips to the popular places in the area. However, I learned more in the NOVEL from Simmons than I have spending 30-40 days of my life there over the years! Simmons has been gifted with the blessing of telling a story. Such a believable story interwoven with actual events that when you are finished, you can't tell where the fictional parts of the story even were. Simmons is a Master, I hope he never dies, and Black Hills is like every other book I have read of his: AMAZING!!

  20. 4 out of 5

    bsc

    One of my favorite books by Dan Simmons. I love the mix of historical fiction and magical realism that he's been doing lately and this is maybe the best of the bunch. The historical subjects are probably what sets this one apart a bit from the others for me. I'm a bit of an American history buff so I really enjoyed reading about the Black Hills, the Lakota people, Custer, and Mount Rushmore. Like the last few Simmons books, I wasn't crazy about the ending. However, as a big Neal Stephenson fan, I One of my favorite books by Dan Simmons. I love the mix of historical fiction and magical realism that he's been doing lately and this is maybe the best of the bunch. The historical subjects are probably what sets this one apart a bit from the others for me. I'm a bit of an American history buff so I really enjoyed reading about the Black Hills, the Lakota people, Custer, and Mount Rushmore. Like the last few Simmons books, I wasn't crazy about the ending. However, as a big Neal Stephenson fan, I'm used to a somewhat unsatisfying conclusion*. "It's the journey, not the destination." * This doesn't include Anathem, which was awesome.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    Simmons has reduced, effectively, from his recent 'war-and-peace' length works (Drood, The Terror). It's a beautiful novel, almost a great-american-novel contender, blends some classical themes and moves from dystopia to utopia-image with a compelling image of what could be for America.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    The main problem with "Black Hills" is that it's not as flat-out sensational as Dan Simmons' previous two novels, "The Terror" and "Drood." The secondary problem is Simmons' growing tendency to show off his research. The first gripe probably is a little unfair (three five-star novels in a row would be a lot to ask), the second quite legitimate but an ultimately minor complaint in another strong book from a man who clearly has become an American master. "Black Hills" has nowhere near the the knife The main problem with "Black Hills" is that it's not as flat-out sensational as Dan Simmons' previous two novels, "The Terror" and "Drood." The secondary problem is Simmons' growing tendency to show off his research. The first gripe probably is a little unfair (three five-star novels in a row would be a lot to ask), the second quite legitimate but an ultimately minor complaint in another strong book from a man who clearly has become an American master. "Black Hills" has nowhere near the the knife-edge adventure of "The Terror" nor the psychological suspense and creepiness of "Drood," both tales with a supernatural element or at least the appearance of it. Again, there is extra-worldly stuff in "Black Hills," a story that stretches from the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876 to the 1930s (and well, well, beyond). With its story of the life of Native American Paha Sapa (his name means Black Hills in Lakota), inhabited by George Armstrong Custer's ghost as the 11-year-old counts coup at the moment of the Army officer's death, "Black Hills" reminds me of a more-accurate, less-funny "Little Big Man" fused with one of Tim Powers' great ghost possession/soul swapping yarns. Paha Sapa, who can "talk" with Custer's ghost (once he learns English, that is) and has the ability sometimes to glimpse a person's future when touching him or her, grows up as the Native Americans' way of life and power fade with the white man's domination. Simmons juggles time, going from orphan Paha Sapa's youth with the Lakota (Sioux) and his interaction with his adoptive uncle Limps-a-Lot and historical Native figures such as Crazy Horse, to his time with Buffalo Bill Cody at a Wild West show near Chicago (far too brief), to his work as a powder man on the emerging Mount Rushmore monument; one could say he plays with time throughout. Paha Sapa, given a vision, as a boy, of four white giants rising from the Lakota's sacred Six Grandfathers (Rushmore) to chew and destroy, plans to blow up sculptor Gutzon Borglum's shrine to American presidents during President Franklin Roosevelt's 1936 visit at the unveiling of the Thomas Jefferson head. Simmons' jumps around in time are not disorienting. He is covering a lot of years and a lot of territory, but he pulls it off. Paha Sapa has a few adventures among the Lakota (the Natural Free Human Beings) and other tribes, including their often disastrous encounters with whites. And we're privy to his visions of the Native Americans' spirit world and their fate. Not surprisingly, much is made of Native Americans' visions and spiritual power. But, like Little Big Man, Paha Sapa also becomes integrated into the white world. He falls in love with a woman only part Indian and works among whites at mines and at the Mount Rushmore project. Simmons is not telling us a straight adventure tale, but the story is moving and engrossing. The "voice" of Custer is effective; though we first hear his intense sexual longings as if told to his now-unreachable wife, his "conversations" with Paha Sapa come to be quite entertaining. Thankfully, the author resists painting the Indians as infallible and hopelessly noble, and the whites simply as evil. His treatment of Custer, in contrast to Thomas Berger's in "Little Big Man," is even-handed. Simmons' quest for authenticity is obvious, from historical details to his liberal (to say the least) presentation of Lakota language. This generally is commendable, but sometimes the torrent of difficult-to-pronounce and read Native language can really screw with momentum. In addition, Simmons simply cannot resist throwing in as much historical research as he can. When Paha Sapa visits New York, there is a seven-page digression about one of Paha Sapa's friends and his work on the Brooklyn Bridge that simply doesn't add to the story but sure does let us know Simmons has been hitting the books. Not everyone will love the way Simmons winds up the tale (I thought it was fine), and there is an epilogue that I found unnecessary. So, was "Black Hills," not quite up to Simmons' recent standard, a disappointment? No way. "Merely" very good is good enough.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Greg McClay

    This is a Forrest Gump type of fantasy-history where history happens normally but its told through the eyes of a single person and with fantasy/horror elements thrown in but no impact on actual events, unless you want to interpret them that way. So I guess it comes down to whether you enjoy the time period and the players. The time covers 60-70 years so there's lots of interesting tidbits. Black Hills is an interesting character though a bit stoic. Quite a few others breeze in and out through t This is a Forrest Gump type of fantasy-history where history happens normally but its told through the eyes of a single person and with fantasy/horror elements thrown in but no impact on actual events, unless you want to interpret them that way. So I guess it comes down to whether you enjoy the time period and the players. The time covers 60-70 years so there's lots of interesting tidbits. Black Hills is an interesting character though a bit stoic. Quite a few others breeze in and out through the entire book so you'r never bored. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone as a quick read or even a random one but if they were interested in the time and place its definitely worth trying.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laura.125Pages

    3.5 Stars Black Hills was a very interesting listen. It follows Paha Sapa a 10 year-old Sioux boy as he rides through the aftermath of the battle of Little Big Horn, to his time working on the construction of Mt. Rushmore, to his last days. Now interesting doesn't necessarily mean good or bad, it was different. The first thing to note is the time line of the story. It begins when he is 10 then the next chapter he is in his late 60's, then he is a man in his 20's. It took a few chapters to figure 3.5 Stars Black Hills was a very interesting listen. It follows Paha Sapa a 10 year-old Sioux boy as he rides through the aftermath of the battle of Little Big Horn, to his time working on the construction of Mt. Rushmore, to his last days. Now interesting doesn't necessarily mean good or bad, it was different. The first thing to note is the time line of the story. It begins when he is 10 then the next chapter he is in his late 60's, then he is a man in his 20's. It took a few chapters to figure out the time line and honestly it would have made an easier time of it if the tale had not jumped back and forth as it did. The second thing to note is that Paha Sapa believes that the ghost of General Custer enters him at the battle and he spends his life listening to the voice in his head. Okay.... that happened. It actually detracted from the main story and the letters from Custer to his wife were pretty graphic and not in a good way. I'm not sure if they were included to add some spice to the tale, but I don't need to hear about Custer's sex life and manhood *shudder*. Item three, was the immense length. The audio book was well over 20 hours and at times I grew frustrated with the needless antidotes and facts ( the Chicago's World Fair had lots of stuff and you will hear about it all). Now on to the good things, the world building was superb and the images the story created were vivid. Paha Sapa is a character that felt deeply and I loved the emotion in him. Black Hills is a book to read if you have a lot of time and are okay with being bogged down by details. The lush scenery it evoked was superb and I truly felt a part of Paha Sapa's life. At the end I really did enjoy it, but a good 1/3 of the book was unnecessary to get the heart of the story across.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    I stuck this out because of my interest in Native Americans and the settlement of the west, but was I rewarded for my perseverance? No! Apparently Dan Simmons has many loyal fans--I gleaned this from reading some of the Goodreads online reviews-- I will not be one of them. Regurgitated history combined with metaphysical speculation, cardboard cutout characters combined with an overly complicated plot-- how does this guy sell books? The highly imagined life of one Sioux, Paha Sapa ("Black Hills" I stuck this out because of my interest in Native Americans and the settlement of the west, but was I rewarded for my perseverance? No! Apparently Dan Simmons has many loyal fans--I gleaned this from reading some of the Goodreads online reviews-- I will not be one of them. Regurgitated history combined with metaphysical speculation, cardboard cutout characters combined with an overly complicated plot-- how does this guy sell books? The highly imagined life of one Sioux, Paha Sapa ("Black Hills" in Lakota) who manages to be present at all the major events of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The book opens as Paha Sapa works as a "powderman" on the making of the Mt. Rushmore monument. He plans to blow it up as revenge upon the wasichu (white men, "fat takers") who have despoiled the Black Hills. Through flashbacks and flashforwards we follow his life as he loses his tribe's sacred pipe, is afflicted with the ghost of George Armstrong Custer and Custer's pornographic memories, falls in love with a part-Indian woman who dies young, has a son who dies young, discovers that he has a granddaughter who is half-Jewish on the eve of WWII, and is given a vision of the future that includes the "re-wilding" of the Great Plains with Paleolithic plants and animals as well as the restoration of the Indian tribes to keep the natural balance of predator to prey. Some people are apparently charmed by Simmons-- I find him tedious and overblown. I hate pedantic, preachy historical novels. Boo hiss phooey.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    Stretching from the years just after the Civil War until the years just before World War II, this amazing novel ties together several historical events into the life story of a Lakota Indian who, quite unusually for his people, was named after a place, Paha Sapa, the sacred Black Hills. The story opens when, as a 10-year-old who has followed the warriors and older boys to the battlefield, Paha Sapa finds himself inhabited by the spirit of General George Armstrong Custer at the moment he counts c Stretching from the years just after the Civil War until the years just before World War II, this amazing novel ties together several historical events into the life story of a Lakota Indian who, quite unusually for his people, was named after a place, Paha Sapa, the sacred Black Hills. The story opens when, as a 10-year-old who has followed the warriors and older boys to the battlefield, Paha Sapa finds himself inhabited by the spirit of General George Armstrong Custer at the moment he counts coup on the dying man at the Battle of Little Big Horn. He carries the spirit with him for sixty years, and only years later, after being taught English by Catholic missionaries, does he begin to understand what the voice inside him has been saying. As his eventful life progresses, we see him taking his vision quest in the Black Hills for which he is named, working in Buffalo Bill Cody's show, visiting the Chicago World's Fair with his future wife in 1893, and finally working as a blasting expert for sculptor Gutzon Borglum during the construction of the Mount Rushmore monument. After a life filled with pain (both physical and emotional,) loss, disappointment, and what he perceives as repeated failures, Paha Sapa finds a joyful redemption waiting for him at his life's rock bottom. Simmons's skill in weaving all these diverse story lines together is awesome, his insights into the emotions and motives of a diverse cast of characters is remarkable, and there were moments throughout that left me literally breathless!

  27. 5 out of 5

    P.A. Pursley

    Dan Simmons shows his genius as a writer and researcher yet again in his 2010 novel "Black Hills." As told from the view point of Paha Sapa, a Lakota indian, who takes on the dying soul of General Custer, it journeys through the planning, sculpting, and lost funding of Mount Rushmore. Because it is told from the viewpoint of a Native American, it also goes into the history and take over of the plains indians in South Dakota. Dan Simmons has a way of writing that makes history come alive. It is c Dan Simmons shows his genius as a writer and researcher yet again in his 2010 novel "Black Hills." As told from the view point of Paha Sapa, a Lakota indian, who takes on the dying soul of General Custer, it journeys through the planning, sculpting, and lost funding of Mount Rushmore. Because it is told from the viewpoint of a Native American, it also goes into the history and take over of the plains indians in South Dakota. Dan Simmons has a way of writing that makes history come alive. It is creative fiction so Mr. Simmons does take some creative liberties, but I do not believe it takes away from any of the history from our Nation or the Lakota Indians. I started to read this book when it first came out but put it down because we were going to make the drive up to Mount Rushmore later in the year. The trip didn't happen until 2015 so I picked up the book five years later. It felt completely different reading it as we toured Mount Rushmore and traveled the areas of the Black Hills, Bear Butte, the Badlands, and Crazy Horse. I even met with Mr. Clifford who Dan Simmons gives credit to in the book. The trip made the story real for me and brought it close to my heart. I truly enjoyed the novel and am, once again, in awed by Dan Simmons writing. This book ranks second to "The Terror" written by Mr. Simmons. It is a must read - and if you can, read it while touring South Dakota.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lou Repetto-conry

    couldn't get into it...

  29. 4 out of 5

    JManInPhoenix

    I have generally enjoyed the Simmons books I have read - Hyperion series, Illium series, The Terror & Abominable - but this was a real chore to read in the first 100 or so pages. Not a Custer fan nor a prude but I could really do without the Custer & Libby bits in the first quarter of the book. There are some excellent parts; my favorite part of the book of all was Paha Sapa's vision quest. The imagery in that was very good. Another part I enjoyed was the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago - the I have generally enjoyed the Simmons books I have read - Hyperion series, Illium series, The Terror & Abominable - but this was a real chore to read in the first 100 or so pages. Not a Custer fan nor a prude but I could really do without the Custer & Libby bits in the first quarter of the book. There are some excellent parts; my favorite part of the book of all was Paha Sapa's vision quest. The imagery in that was very good. Another part I enjoyed was the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago - the author goes into great detail explaining how everything at the fair was powered. Being a tech geek, I found that very interesting. Five stars in places, 1 star in others, 3-4 stars in most other places. I can completely understand someone that bails on this book before reaching page 100. If you stay with it to the end, there are some very good parts though.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    Past, Present and Future collide during the construction of Mount Rushmore. On the day that General Custer was killed, a young Indian boy named Paha Sapa was also on the battle field. Seeking to claim glory and be counted as one of the warriors of the tribe the young Paha Sapa, his name means “Black Hills”, places his hands on General Custer at the moment of his death. Unknown to Paha Sapa at the time is that he has a special gift that allows him to occasionally “absorb” the memories and experien Past, Present and Future collide during the construction of Mount Rushmore. On the day that General Custer was killed, a young Indian boy named Paha Sapa was also on the battle field. Seeking to claim glory and be counted as one of the warriors of the tribe the young Paha Sapa, his name means “Black Hills”, places his hands on General Custer at the moment of his death. Unknown to Paha Sapa at the time is that he has a special gift that allows him to occasionally “absorb” the memories and experiences of people that he touches. In the case of General Custer the young Paha Sapa takes in the spirit of the dying General and changes his life forever. Despite his best efforts he is unable to rid his self of the General’s spirit and is soon swept up in events that will see him lose everything he has ever known. Almost 60 years later Paha Sapa is a dynamite expert on the construction of Mount Rushmore, also known as the Black Hills by the local Indian tribes. Paha Sapa has experienced much in his long life. He has gained much and he has lost much. Paha Sapa knows that all the events in his life have brought him to this point. Still accompanied by the babbling ghost of General Custer, Paha Sapa looks back on his long life trying to make sense of a terrible vision that he experienced as a young child. He knows that the spirit guides of his people want him to stop the construction of Mount Rushmore and he has come up with a plan to remove the sculptures on the day of their unveiling. What he doesn’t know is that the spirits may not be quite done with him yet… To start off I really liked this book as it reminded me of movies like Benjamin Button and Titanic. The author does a good job of transporting the reader to a time and place where the world was changing and it seemed like almost anything could be possible. Even though there is a supernatural flavor to this story, the real magic seems to come from what the characters have to go through and the time and place that they are in. The world was different back then; it had a different mindset. The author also does a good job of portraying what the Indian tribes had to go through as they were slowly pushed into reservations and lost the land that had been theirs for generations. The author doesn’t white wash that there were mistakes on both sides of the equations. He also doesn’t really get into who was right and who was wrong. Like history what happened, happened. What’s interesting is how the people caught up in the events, dealt with them. The sections where Custer talks about his life and eventually about his situation where some of the more interesting parts of the book as it gives the reader a better sense of who Custer was than is generally explored. All in all I would recommend this to anyone that likes historical dramas and those that like to have a little supernatural in their stories. M.ac.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.