Blood Moon: A Captive’s Tale

Written by Ruth Hull Chatlien
Review by India Edghill

In 1862 Minnesota, Sarah Wakefield’s peaceful life with her husband and two young children is about to change radically. The food and money the U.S. government owes the Sioux in exchange for the tribes living on a reservation is late, and the Sioux, no longer able to range the miles needed to hunt, are starving. Fearful that the anger may turn to violence, Sarah’s husband sends her and the children away, thinking they’ll be out of danger. But on the road, Sioux warriors attack, killing the driver and taking Sarah and her children captive. Sarah is saved from death by the Sioux warrior Chaska, and she and her children live with Chaska’s family as the Sioux try to elude government troops. Constantly in danger and always on the move in search of safety, Sarah uses all her strength and intelligence to keep herself and her children alive in a beautiful but harsh land.

Based on Sarah Wakefield’s Six Weeks in the Sioux Tepees, Chatlien has written a truly gripping book. Blood Moon is a very immediate novel. It is vivid, earthy, and compelling: you feel you’re there in the choking dust and burning heat, in the mud and rain and cold. It brilliantly evokes life in an evanescent time and place (the American frontier lasted for a very short time), while being respectful of both sides in the epic struggle for possession of the American West.