TUCK AND NIP
By Barend Van Kimball
In the early 1800s a young Ute Indian half-breed endures circumstances and choices he never thought possible in this novel involving many historical individuals in the American West.
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Tuck, a tall young, blue-eyed, black haired half-breed, is the son of a kidnapped Ute Indian mother, Spring Willow, and Otto, a murderously cruel white mountain man. During a hunt Tuck adopts a newly born gray wolf pup who soon matures into his constant companion as they confront man and beast alike. Along the way, he learns that his grandfather is a Ute chieftain, Walkara, Hawk of The Mountain, and the greatest horse thief in United States history. The conflicts Tuck finds as a half-breed bring him into the lives of many individuals of the American West’s early 1800s. Before long Tuck becomes the great Sioux Chief, Sitting Bull’s confidant and close friend who perceives Tuck as a spiritual man, offering visions of coming events. Emotionally Tuck struggles with loyalty toward his Indian heritage, but other white trappers, pioneers, Indian killing Cavalry, religious extremists, and those he thought were friends often ridicule and assault him. Exciting, dangerous events bring him to circumstances and choices he never envisioned possible.
Barend Van Kimball has spent decades trekking the Eastern Sierra mountain ranges. He was the first white man invited into the Big Pine sweat lodge and taught arrowhead making at the Paiute educational center. Prior to the 1970s he attended graduate school at Pepperdine University and was employed as a human factor engineer in Los Angeles before settling in Bishop, California, the permanent home for him, his wife and his eight children. Love of the great outdoors, the Sierras and the White Mountains are his most endearing pastimes. Owen’s River trout and the occasional mule deer grace his table.
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