Hawk’s Valley

Written by Arvid Lloyd Williams
Review by Alice Logsdon

This novel opens as a reporter comes to interview Hawk Owen about life in frontier Minnesota. Hawk begins his narrative with an account of a day in August, 1861. That day, he began life on his own after a terrible quarrel with his father, John. Leaving his parents and younger brother, Jake, behind, Hawk falls in with a Metis trade caravan on the way to St. Paul. Traveling with these men and women, Hawk learns many of the skills that will help him survive. He also earns the friendship and trust of his companions.

Meanwhile, back at home, trouble with a band of rogue Indians leaves his mother dead, his father missing and Jake with a thirst for vengeance. Jake sets out to seek justice, not knowing that his father is alive and off on his own path. As these three men wind their separate ways across the Minnesota territory, it becomes clear who will survive, who will fail, and why. It is also inevitable that they will cross paths again at some point. In fact, the string of coincidences that leads them together is unbelievable.

This action-packed novel is the first in a planned series. The author’s love for the landscape and history of his region of the country is evident throughout. Though the pacing of the events is often rushed, there are some very compelling battle scenes. There are, further, some structural problems with this novel, such as when the narrative ends without reference to the reporter in the first chapter. Still, this is a good effort that will be of interest to people who enjoy frontier tales.