Book Review: Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman

Anne Hillerman, continues her father, Tony Hillerman’s legacy, with her latest book Song of the Lion.  The story begins with a bomb exploding during an alumni basketball game song-of-the-lion-35b15dat the local high school in Navajo territory. Bringing together Navajo Tribal Cops, Jim Chee, Bernadette Manuelito and legendary  Joe Leaphorn, the reader is plunged into the political drama associated with change, tradition, and the lure of monied investors.

We are taken on a history lesson of the Navajo. We learn how the past is intertwined with the present and the future. We catch glimpses of Navajo culture. The reader witnesses a world inhabited by those who are trying to balance respect for heritage with a desire to break into the future.

The central issue is the Grand Canyon and the exploitation of Navajo lands. There is the interplay between those with the  desire to abase this natural beauty for their own monetary gain, versus a reverence for Earth, and ancestry. This drama is played out in several days of hearings, complete with protestors, sabotage, and the intervention of the FBI . Meanwhile, Chee is tasked with keeping an eye on the mediator, who is thought to have been the target of the bomber, while Bernie, and Leaphorn, dig deep into the suspects’ pasts, in order to find the answers in the present.

What does the potential killer want?

Is the bomb connected to the proposed tourist resort?

What was the lone bombing victim doing by the car?

What about the mediator, himself? Is his past the reason for the attack? Are the issues more personal and less political than everyone thinks?

History plays a large role in this story. Whether learning about Native-American culture, and politics,  or analyzing the chronicles of the main characters of this novel, we learn that who we are, and where we come from, always plays a part in our present, and especially in our future.

This is a fun read and one that does keep you guessing to the end.

I personally enjoy a book especially when I can learn something new. This book provides the reader with an interesting look at how some indigenous societies in the United States hold on to their ancestry. For those of us completely uneducated in Native-American history, religion, and lore this book is a nice beginning of an education. Moreover, it is also a wonderful travelog of Arizona the Grand Canyon, and the tribal lands out west. We see the beauty of the landscape, and learn to understand the importance of respecting the Earth while holding tight to her beauty.


This book is available April 11.


About Elise "Ronan"

#JewishandProud ...
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