Desert Wind

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Synopsis

A desert village is under attack, and SuSaan can only watch. One of the flat nosed attackers knocks her aside as he torches another wickiup. It explodes into flame, and SuSaan bolts awake. Was it just a dream?

The Kwaaymii shaman knows. For SuSaan's mother died a year ago, and living in that shadow has worn on SuSaan. She has been given a vision. She has been chosen.

In council, the Kwaaymii interpret the vision. Their desert cousins, the Haawii, will soon be attacked and they need to send a warning message---the Flat-Nosed have returned.

SuSaan stands to volunteer. It's her vision; it's her responsibility---she has to save the Haawii. But her father disagrees. SuSaan is young, inexperienced, and he's already lost his wife, SuSaan's mother, to the Flat-Nosed. Yet the vision burns hot within SuSaan, and she hears its call to help the Haawii. She refuses her father's counsel---and in doing so, she invites consequences she could not foresee.

Swift Foot, an experienced runner, accompanies SuSaan. They traverse a dangerous path, for the threat of the Flat-Nosed is about them---waiting to waylay any unsuspecting travellers. Carelessly, Swift Foot charges headlong into an ambush.

The Flat-Nosed pursue SuSaan to the edge of the Haawii village. There, she seeks council, but discovers she has lost the implements that offer the proof of her message. Alone, she faces the Haawii council. Alone she is their only hope, for the Flat-Nosed are coming. With cautious words, SuSaan convinces the Haawii to evacuate.

Yet this is only half the task. Swift Foot has been captured and imprisoned.

With aid, SuSaan crosses the desert to the Flat-Nosed camp, and soon discovers two prisoners. To her surprise, there, bound to Swift Foot, sits her father. His presence brings back all that has weighed on SuSaan over the past year: life in the footsteps of her dead mother, frustration with her own people, and the need to carve her own path in life.

Yes, SuSaan has been chosen for a reason. For there, in the Flat-Nosed camp, SuSaan faces her enemies. One makes its stronghold in the desert; the other makes its stronghold within SuSaan's very heart. It is these enemies that she grapples with as she struggles to save Swift Foot and her father. A struggle that she may well lose, for the shadow of the Flat-Nosed---and the shadow that hangs over her very soul---is a black and ruthless foe.

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About the Author

All my life, I've been enthralled with the peoples who lived in North America before Europeans came. I always sought to learn about the kind of life the lived before their very history was interrupted by the insurgents from across the Atlantic. To my dismay, I discovered early on how few books actually discuss Native American life in pre-Columbus times---especially in terms of fiction, my favorite genre. This lack served to motivate me as I nurtured my dream to become an author.

In writing Desert Wind, I blended my interest in Native American culture with my direct experiences with the Kwaaymii people (now known as the Laguna Band of Mission Indians) and my travels through the desert and mountains which they called home.

My understanding of the Kwaaymii people formed out of my friendship with Steven T. Lucas, a Kwaaymii himself. Over the years, he taught me many things about his people, their beliefs, and their culture. It was even my honor to attend the Karuk ceremony for his grandfather, Tom Lucas, the last full-blooded Kwaaymii. In many ways, it was Tom Lucas' efforts to preserve his culture which allowed me the opportunity to learn about the Kwaaymii heritage from his grandson, as well as through interviews he gave later in life.

Steven T. Lucas was also kind enough to serve as technical consultant for Desert Wind, checking for both cultural and historical accuracy.

As a Southern California native, I have lived in the San Diego area for the past twenty years. I completed both my graduate work in Computer Science at the University of California, San Diego, as well as my undergraduate studies there in Computer Science and Literature. During the past year, I've been fortunate enough to apply both disciplines, dividing my time between working as a Systems Engineer and writing Desert Wind.

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Text Copyright © 1995-1996 Mark Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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Images Copyright © 1995-1996 Daniel Spencer and Mark Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.