Black Hills – Dan Simmons

In 1876 on the fields of the Little Big Horn battlefield, native Indians and General Custer’s army are battling it out between one another.

As Custer breathes his last breath, a young Indian approaches him, lays a hand on him.  Little does he know that Custer’s ghost has entered his body.  Not only scaring him, Paha Sapa will have him talking inside his mind for decades to come as he grows into a man while the events and his way of life shapes him and his outlook on life.

I was really looking forward to this book after reading Dan’s previous book Drood.  I was quickly entranced by the seamless narration, the action, the adventure, the storyline as delicate and fierce as it could be to solve the mystery of Dickens and Wilkie Collins’ experiences.

I have to admit, I was quickly becoming this way again, until I got further into the book.  There were a few things that turned me off.

Firstly, the names of the native people that he portrayed in the book.  Some of the names he used in the book we really quite ridiculous.  As a person that lives in Canada where we have quite a large population of Native people, as well as knowing a bit about their culture and practices, I found the names to be ridiculous as they take such pride in their culture and the names they are given.  Not only pride but feel blessed that they have been named what they have been.  The culture is one of awe, and graciousness.

The 2nd issue was that the letters that Custer writes to his wife as he is a ghost and doesn’t realize that he is dead and living in someone else’s body was quite sexually explicit for my liking.  What also added to the distaste, was the continual use of italics throughout the book when something was happening, or when these letters were being written.

Although I wasn’t a fan of this book, I will be looking forward to his future work.

Hachette / Reagan Arthur

Listen to an excerpt

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7 thoughts on “Black Hills – Dan Simmons

  1. A shame you didn’t care for it that much, as I rate it as my personal favorite so far in 2010. I can see where you’re coming from with regards to character names though–“Long Turd” struck me as such an odd name, I had to double back and make sure I read it right. And while Custer’s lascivious musings were a bit out of tune with the rest of the book, I didn’t feel they detracted from the overall story.

  2. I wasn’t a fan of the Custer sex scenes either, I didn’t feel like they added anything to the book really, but I suppose they were there to show what great chemistry Custer & his wife had *shug*

    Apart from that I really loved this book.

  3. Pingback: Susan Hated Literature | The Black Hills

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