Nothing But Echoes: Anne Montgomery
Tapestries are often woven to tell the stories of both the past and the present in an intricately crafted way. Each square or picture on the tapestry tells its own story. Some are told out of turn while others create a story that will take viewers from the past to the present and back again in order to learn the secrets, history and wonders of tow time periods. Nothing But Echoes takes readers back to 1098 and then into the present with a mystery that one freelance reporter hopes to solve in the present but first the author introduces us to the reason in the past. Kate Butler wants to learn as much as she can about someone called The Magician that lived so many years ago. Artifacts found and possible funerary items back in 1939 peeked the interest of many as a description of the man started to unfold allowing us to learn about this interesting man. As the author describes him in both time periods the story begins with a young boy named Woodrat finding an injured man, a dangerous wolf and fearing for his life. But, as the story then comes into the present we learn that Kate Butler has been given the assignment to learn more about this man who just might be the one found in the past. The Hopi tribe was working with the dig and realized that this man had found something special called Moochiwimi sticks and that his appearance was not like others. Notice the reaction when the main character sees them and what follows. Taller, stronger, large in frame and when you meet him will realize his eyes are blue. Kate decides to explore further and wants to know who he was, where he came from and why the interest? But, before she can get started she contacts a man named Dr. Perkins who promises to add some information about the Native American ball courts but he never shows up but why? The author creatively keeps what happens to him unwraps as Kate request the help of the Hopi tribe to view some of the remains and hopefully get some DNA samples from these artifacts but she is blatantly turned down. However, she hopes but to no avail that Perkins would help her but Kate has to find other ways and here is where it gets interesting as she teams up with Deputy Sheriff Jack Cooper an old friend who comes along with her hoping his skills as a law enforcement officer might be useful. In the past we meet Kaya a healer who has yet to be accepted by the villagers. But, when finding this injured man a young hunter called Deer Hunter refuses to let him die and there lies the start of an intricate plot that will take you back in time where prejudice, differences and acceptance of others was not any different than today. A man whose countenance was not the same and whose eye color was blue not brown or black and who seemed to exude magic no one could describe. While Kaya agrees to tend to him the author graphically describes his wounds and the healing herbs and process in detail. In the present we learn more about the artifacts as we meet Dr. Jerrod Crane an archeologist on a dig with his students and the author shares her extensive research into the past and the history of the man called The Magician.
Time periods might be different but the information would blend them together as the author weaves her own tapestry for readers to visualize the events. When Dr. Crane describes the beads, the artifacts and allows Kate and Jack to go on a dig and join his classes she not only unravels some of the mystery but also understands the link between investigative reporting and using her skills to unravel the past. Discouraged that the museum will not allow her access to what she needs and not realizing that someone close to the artifacts is watching her every move, Kate will learn the new meaning of deceit, danger and hopefully this second person will not gain access to the secrets she wants and needs to write her article. If you take a long look at the lower left hand corner of the cover and read the chapters related to the history of the beads, the shells, stones and more you will see the man called the Magician wearing an unusual pointed hat made of shells and stones and other materials as well as the rest of his apparel.
Meet Woodrat, Deer Runner and the male healer named Mul who play in integral part in the events that unfold as Woodrat might appear to be different and Deer Runner refusing to allow the strange man to die we learn more about the people of this time period and wonder just how different were they from us? The book is replete in research of the time period and the McGregor papers that both Kate and Jack read and hope will get information from are real. The dangers are real in both time periods as the man is named Wolf Catcher because of the white wolf that follows him and seems to understand his words and actions. Kaya agrees to tend to his needs and places herself in a difficult position with the rest of the villagers but she stands firm. With the help of Badger and Woodrat she manages to get him tended to and even learns how to communicate with him. But, there is someone out there that wants to silence him and the end result might prove deadly. With the Ballgames coming up and the stranger needing medical care what Deer Hunter does to help Mul who has been adverse to Kaya, her talents and Wolf Catcher will surprise you? The lake might dry up and the crops might become scarce and they need to bring a special offering to the Volcano God but Mul is hurt and his legs are torn apart and need tending but he insists on going along with Deer Hunter. As Kaya struggles with her feelings, dealing with her past and having conflicting emotions about Wolf Catcher important lessons might be learned as everyone begins to see him in a different light. Yet, in the present Kate presents other problems and just wants to find a way to create her article but finds herself with conflicting emotions about Jack and wonders why? Acceptance and finding a place in this world to feel understood and proud comes through in each and every character as we get to know them both in the past and present.
The primary setting for both stories is the Ridge Ruin in Arizona and the mystery surrounding the Magician will keep you glued to both stories from start to finish. But, there is a third story here about a man named Mosby who worked in the Museum, was fired and thinks he is entitled to the artifacts and much more because of a letter left to him by his uncle. Not thinking on his own and realizing the dangers he might encounter he ventures off to try and get what he thinks if rightfully is. Burial sites described, pothunters or looters after the artifacts, black market dealers and one freelance reporter that will stop at nothing to get the answers she wants and create the story of a lifetime.
The author shares information based on astronomy and a different way to look at the dark or night sky and why the sky where this story takes place stays dark and not illuminated at night. The history is amazing and the end result will surprise authors as someone wants to stop what Kate has started. Someone in the past wants to eliminate Wolf Catcher and of course the wolf that guards him and provides protection for others when needed. As Kaya comes to learn more about him her feelings change and when her lover returns she is confused and has mixed feelings. As you watch the games at the end and see those that are victorious you wonder what happens to Wolf Catcher that changes his perspective that moment. Memories come back others will remain faded and two worlds are apart to collide as the past comes center stage in the present and the final two squares on the tapestry are about to be completed. Each one in the center but what will it shows? As the villagers are threatened and the fate of the village is at stake will the final square show the defeat of the intruders or will it show their deaths? What about the present as someone stalks both Kate and Jack and someone is seriously injured but whom? Will the final square show only Kate or only Jack and what about the interloper? An ending that will challenge your thinking and surprise readers as you hope that the author will bring back Kate and Jack to solve more mysteries but first just who survives this one? Well crafted and documented and characters that just want to find a place in the worlds in which they live. If you listen carefully and see what finally happens to the village, the people, the crops and the lake you just might understand why we need to preserve, honor and respect the land and the water or all that will be left in both worlds will be: Nothing but Echoes.
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/MJ Magazine