I married into a very interesting family. Most of them are Mennonites (though not as Amish as you might think), but a few of them are Baha’i. If you aren’t familiar, this faith is largely based on peaceful coexistence and equality. I’d never encountered a Baha’i character in literature before. But Owl Dance features a main character who brings her belief system to the rugged Southern US when she leaves Persia. Fatemeh, and her strange propensity for talking to and understanding owls, play a major role in the fate of the entire world in this weird West Steampunk tale.
When she arrives in Socorro, New Mexico, all the healer wants is to start a new life. Instead, she finds a town under the thumb of a mine owner and a population suspicious of her aid. When a mine shaft collapses, the superstitious townsfolk accuse Fatemeh of causing the tragedy through her witchcraft. Sheriff Ramon Morales can’t stand idly by while even the priest calls for her to be burned at the stake. The unlikely pair begin a slow-burning love affair and dogged journey across the Southwest.
Along the way, they meet colorful locals, bounty hunters, and pirates, but the real threat lay where no one can see. An alien entity known only as Legion lands on earth, and enters the minds of hapless victims as it learns our ways. Legion predicts the earth is headed for a terrible conflict. For the first time in its long, life, the creature decides to interfere in hopes of saving the planet. Too bad it chooses the wrong men to aid its cause…
What I thought of Owl Dance by David Lee Summers
If you are looking for Steampunk style mash-up, look no further. The alien presence may sound like it is coming out of left field, but it actually folds into the more intimate narrative between the characters really well. The actual chemistry and romance leaves some room for improvement, but if you are looking for an imaginative adventure you will find it in Owl Dance. There are plenty of gizmos to keep sci-fi geeks happy.
When Summers contacted me about doing a review, he mentioned this book started life as short stories rather than a novel. This does show some in the structure. There are times when I think chapter breaks should have been shifted or added, and there was occasionally redundant details. But overall, this didn’t detract much from a unique story. The language is pretty plain, which is fitting for a Western. Which is also makes it an ideal, easy Summer read.
Buy it now on Amazon: Kindle $2.99, paperback $14.95