“’Before Columbus’ has become the politically correct way of saying ‘before destruction’—or rape, oppression and essentially evil. Chaco bills itself as a fictional tale based on the reality of Chaco before Columbus.
“If previous works in the saturated genre on American Indian spirituality and culture are any indication, then this book should be about how great life is with the Anasazi before the coming of the white man. To its credit it isn’t. The stereotypes are there: Native Americans running around, incredibly spiritual, not doing much without consulting with some sort of spiritual force. Such is the reality that we have painted for ancient Native Americans (and Native Americans today for that matter). The characters in Chaco however do actually at times behave like real human beings. They exhibit greed, the desire for glory, lust and downright immorality. This gives the work credibility and I think affords it its place amongst valid literature about Native Americans.
“Chaco also acts as a pretty good guide for Native American spirituality. There are some interesting ruminations by some of the characters that are pedagogic in the same vein as Siddhartha and his quest for enlightenment. The ruminations do get to be a little static and tedious, but nothing that a person who wants to can’t get through.
“Chaco is a good read for people interested in the genre. It is by no means a classic but few books are. If you are going to be doing a trip to Chaco this book will most likely really bring the place to life for you. If you have never been to Chaco this book will most likely make you want to go. Chances are that’s what the author had in mind.”
—The Santa Fe New Mexican
“Taylor, a student of Chacoan culture since 1983 ‘when he stood at the center of the great architectural wonder of Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon under the full moon,’ here imaginatively illustrates some customs and theories about the disappearance of that ancient group. The thin narrative, descriptions of customs and ceremonies, and strange nomenclature make it seem more like science fiction than anything else. For aficionados of the Chacoan mysteries, this might be entertaining.”
—Books of the Southwest
“First novelist Taylor, an investigative reporter, uses allegory to suggest the causes of the mysterious 12th-century disappearance of northern New Mexico’s ancient Chaco Canyon civilization. He tells the story of Chaco’s seven grand pueblos through the eyes of two young friends, Hopi and Zuni. Hopi, ‘the experimental man,’ refuses to call the rising sun one morning, setting in motion events that lead to mass starvation and carnage. He escapes the pueblo and experiences life outside, while Zuni, called ‘cloistered man,’ stays and learns the ways of the Indian abbots and astronomers. The symbolism and the topic make this a title of primarily regional interest.”