“Win Blevins, that master yarn-spinner, has done it again with ‘The Rock Child.’ A wonderfully wild one which you don’t want to miss.” — Tony Hillerman. Packed with drama, adventure, humor, the lore of American Indians and Tibetan Buddhists, plus unforgettable historical characters, this book is a dazzling tour de force and a deeply moving story.“A wild mythic novel of the American West. The climax would satisfy the Buddha himself!”— Library Journal
An unlikely trio comprised of the Shoshone Indian Asie, a Tibetan nun, and Sir Richard Burton—the famous soldier and explorer—flees from the Utah Territory to California in 1862. The Destroying Angel of the Mormon Church, Porter Rockwell, pursues them relentlessly.
The journey is jam-packed with unforgettable incidents and colorful characters, including a fledgling journalist named Mark Twain. In the end Asie discovers why he was named the Rock Child, what it means to be a man of color in America, what spiritual path will nurture him, who his people are, and the strength of love.
“Blevins, whose book Stone Song fictionalized the life of the legendary Crazy Horse, has stated his aim is to write ‘mythic novels of the American West.’ He meets that goal in The Rock Child. The voices shift between an Indian-Anglo musical savant; Sun Moon, a virginal Tibetan nun shanghaied into American prostitution; and Sir Richard Burton, real-life explorer, linguist, and Arabian Nights translator.
“Joining Burton in rescuing Asie and Sun Moon from a dreadful fate is Mark Twain, a comedic catalyst that surprisingly few historical novelists have thought to exploit. Like Twain, Burton is well drawn. He’s a cultivated, Sean Connery-type sinner who feels badly about his appetites, and the picaresque passages told from his perspective enliven this ambitious narrative.” — Library Journal
“A colorful novel set among the Mormons in 1862, featuring such real folks as Sam Clemens, Sir Richard Burton, Brigham Young, and Porter Rockwell, by the author of Stone Song, Win Blevins. Half-Indian Asie Taylor, a musical prodigy who has been accepted into the Church of the Latter-day Saints, drowns when his delivery wagon is overturned in a flash flood. He experiences an out-of-body experience, returns to life, and is amazed to see the scarred but beautiful face of Sun Moon above him. Sun is a Tibetan Buddhist nun who was kidnapped in Asia and shipped to America to be sold into prostitution. Tarim, the tavernkeeper who bought her, expects to resell her for a hefty sum.
“When Porter Rockwell, a Mormon known as the Destroying Angel (he seeks out and kills enemies of the church) buys Sun Moon, he attempts to satisfy his lust. Frustrated by his inability to do so, he disfigures her face. Sun Moon flees and falls in with Asie, who has decided to go in search of his origins and the meaning of his Shoshone name, Rock Child. Meanwhile, Rockwell is in pursuit of Sun Moon, determined to kill her—and anyone who gets in his way.
“Tibetan-speaking Sir Richard Burton, a brilliant opium addict, is in Salt Lake City to persuade Brigham Young to form a separate Western Confederacy. Burton saves Asie and Sun Moon from Rockwell and joins their quest. For a while, Brigham Young gives them sanctuary from Rockwell, though Rockwell later follows the trio to San Francisco.
“‘Life is a flabbergaster,’ says Asie Taylor, hero of Win Blevins’s The Rock Child, a story that will flabbergast every reader who opens it. This is a rich, funny, fascinating, meaningful, and memorable novel from the author of that incredible masterpiece about Crazy Horse, Stone Song.” —Rocky Mountain News
“Win Blevins displays an antic imagination, not only in mingling actual and invented characters, but in melding gritty action-adventure with metaphysical musings.” — Dale Wasserman, author of Man of La Mancha