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Shaman Pass

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars
Walmart # 569318671
<div> Tony Hillerman of the Arctic </div>

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Tony Hillerman of the Arctic
“In a robust sequel to  White Sky, Black Ice, this Alaska state trooper is still burdened by his urban upbringing and his aversion to ice and snow . . . Active maintains his awe of the vast Alaskan tundra, a forbidding region that Jones renders in all its bone-chilling beauty.”  The New York Times Book Review

State Trooper Nathan Active was born in the Inupiat village of Chukchi, where he is now stationed, but he was adopted and raised in Anchorage. Now he must investigate the murder of a tribal leader who was stabbed to death with an antique harpoon that was recently returned to the community under the Indian Graves Act.


Series Title
A Nathan Active Mystery
Soho Press
Book Format
Original Languages
Number of Pages
Stan Jones
Publication Date
January, 2005
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
7.49 x 4.98 x 0.79 Inches

Customer Reviews

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars
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Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book no...

I enjoyed this book not only for the mystery, but for its view of life in rural Alaska among native people. The protagonist's status as a native-born villager who was adopted by white teachers and raised in Anchorage, but who has now joined the state police and been assigned to his native village, makes for many interesting conflicts. I recommend this one.

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

This is a pretty good ...

This is a pretty good mystery by itself, but the real features of Shaman Pass are Alaska and the Inupiat people. Nathan Active is an Alaska State Trooper and a native who was born in the village of Chukchi, raised by white adoptive parents in Anchorage, and is now stationed back in Chukchi. He doesn't quite fully fit into the Inupiat or white cultures. When the ancient remains of a native Shaman nicknamed Uncle Frosty are stolen before they can be placed in a museum - against Inupiat beliefs, and a proponent of that plan is murdered, there are several suspects. The descriptions of Alaska, Inupiat culture and language, and how they survive in both traditional and modern ways (park with your tailpipe to the wind to conserve engine heat) and how Nathan learns and adapts are fascinating and make the story.

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Protagonist: Alaska St...

Protagonist: Alaska State Trooper Nathan Active Setting: present-day, the remote tundra of northern Alaska Series: #2 First Line: "Should I take it out?" Trooper Nathan Active must solve the theft of an Inupiat mummy. Well-meaning "naluaqmiut" (white men) at the Smithsonian have sent mummified "Uncle Frosty" to Chukchi to become the centerpiece of a new tribal museum, only to have the body stolen. When a tribal elder at his ice-fishing camp turns up impaled on the mummy's harpoon, Active tracks down a fascinating series of suspects living in isolated hunting and whaling camps and igloos, each with an intriguing story to tell. There wasn't much suspense to the mystery, and in this case, I didn't care. Jones' series is so rich in the sense of place and cultural detail and has such interesting characters that a little lapse in what my mother would call "suspenders" is very forgivable. Eyebrows are more eloquent in this land than voices, and while you watch the snow drifting like smoke across the ice, you can wonder what will ultimately happen when the old ways die in favor of snowgos and Pokemon cards. This series is definitely one that's gone beneath the radar, and I'm thankful to the person who brought it to my attention.

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

This is book 2 in the ...

This is book 2 in the Nathan Active mystery series. It is set in modern day Alaska and follows a native State Trooper who is stationed in a small native village in the far north of the state. Nathan was raised by whites in the big city of Anchorage so he is just learning the native culture and customs and the outdoors craft that are his heritage. He is personally torn between wanting to return to the easy, technologically rich life in the big city and becoming part of the native community and his natal family. He is also ambivalent about his feelings for his mother who gave him up. On top of his emotional confusion he has fallen for a native girl who has no plans to leave the village. Amid Nathan's personal growth, exploration and changes he also has to uphold the law and investigate crime. In this book a native artifact, a preserved man and a harpoon (locally dubbed 'Uncle Frosty'), has been returned from the Smithsonian. There is controversy surrounding his disposition. Traditional natives want him put out on the ice or in the wilderness to let nature take him. This is what they did for burial before the whites and Christians arrived. More modern natives want him displayed in the local museum where he will help raise money for the poor tribe. While the conflict is swirling Uncle Frosty is stolen. The local activist, Calvin, somewhat of a dingbat, is the main suspect. Then the harpoon is used to kill the tribal Chairman, Victor Solomon out at his ice-fishing camp. The mechanisms of justice go after Calvin, but Nathan investigates in another direction. He excavates an old feud and legend of the time just before the whites came, when Shamans with their magic and their curses ruled the tribes. The relatives of the last Shaman and Uncle Frosty have a violent tangled history of opposition and are still alive in Chukchi. The story is very interesting with Inupiat history and legends worked into the mystery. The setting is well done, quite unique and fascinating. The characters are well developed, many are from the previous book, with a bit more development added. Nathan is seen trying to balance his competing desires, and to learn more about his heritage. He as a law enforcement officer is also in the middle of the conflict between the white way, modernity and the native culture and their traditional way of dealing with events. In the end Nathan works out a compromise that he can live with and that respects the native culture. I really enjoyed this book, and will keep reading the series. The writing is smooth, if a bit simple. I was fascinated by the native setting, history and culture, and I like the characters.

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

I enjoyed this series....

I enjoyed this series...this is #2

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