22811928The Windigo stories, it is surmised, came out of the fear of dwindling supplies and starvation. Underlying fear that glimmers in Windigo stories is the constantly desperate struggle to survive – food ran out, the weather was prohibitive, cannibalism was an inevitable result. There is nothing worse than being alone, cold and hungry – the mind begins to play tricks. As a result, Windigo became this huge creature, 20-30′ feet high, with a block of ice surrounding it, particularly its heart, he was lipless, great bloody fangs, and bloody feet, hissing breath you could hear for miles, great speed and supernatural strength. – Shannon Thunderbird, M.A., Gispudwada Tribe – An Interview with Thunderbird About Windigo

Life in the wilds of Alaska can be not only hard, but deadly.  Bitter cold and starvation are very real, and loneliness in this bitter landscape can drive even the most stable beyond madness.  When Caleb’s plane goes down in the backcountry, his cousin Logan knows that he must reach him as quickly as possible if he is to have any chance of surviving.  However, what he finds when he finally locates Caleb at an old trapper’s cabin proves that sometimes, survival isn’t for the best.

Lucas McWilliams has written an action/thriller with researched elements of Windigo legend.  Of course, the Windigo is not just a Native American legend, but rather an archetype settled within the collective unconscious of humanity, harkening back to a time when humans huddled together in fear of the dark.  The dark is inherent in this particular tale, on many levels – from the Windigo to the modern day military political machine.

The research on the Seneca and the Windigo myth is good, and the overall storyline showed promise.  Personally, as a Native Quapaw, I was uncomfortable with the “prototypical Native American Mythos/Character” developed by the author.  It is easy for a non-native author to gather up legends and weave them into their books.  It is harder to not fall into the trap of creating such a clichéd stereotype as to insult the very people you are writing about.  

This is, in my opinion of course, a book geared towards teenaged male ideology.

The women in the book are weak and hypersexual, falling into bed with the lead character without a whimper, no matter how badly he treats them.  Though there is a supposed relationship between the lead and one of the female characters, he has no problem with having sex with other women on a whim, encouraging the idea that “real men” don’t do honesty.  The action is well enough written, but again, the stereotypes in the book were uncomfortable for me.  There are highly unrealistic happenings in what should be the “realistic” parts of the book, but the horror portions make up for it.  Overall, though I am a huge fan of Joe Hill, Matthew Reilly, James Rollins, Richard Matheson and other action adventure and horror writers, I couldn’t really compare this book with any of my favorites.

Maybe because I had issues with the Windigo portion of the tale, but also because of the misogynistic bent.  Be that as it may, for a certain audience this book will definitely appeal.

I received this book from Audiobooks Monthly in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.