Raven Mocker

Written by Don Coldsmith
Review by Tracy Callison

The twenty-ninth entry in Coldsmith’s Spanish Bit Saga, Raven Mocker follows the story of Snakewater, a conjurer (healer) of the Cherokee people during the time of the westward expansion. Snakewater is an embittered old woman who has lived in Old Town longer than anyone else alive can remember. When she is accused of being a Raven Mocker (in legend, a person who achieves immortality by killing people, stealing the years remaining to them, and adding them to his/her own), she finds it easier to leave than to stay. She heads west to the new territory of Arkansas with a small band of traveling Cherokee, a journey which will change her life forever.

Coldsmith weaves elements of Cherokee myth and legend into the narrative through Snakewater’s origin and trickster tales and by her relationship with one of the Little People. Is Snakewater a Raven Mocker? The answer is uncertain — Snakewater herself isn’t sure — and the handling of this element of the story provides some necessary dramatic tension. Taken as a standalone novel the level of historical detail is sparse. Enough is given to set the stage and add some flavor, but I found myself wanting to know more about the events going on outside the immediate characters’ interests. An uncomplicated afternoon’s read.