by Zoe Saadia
The Foreigner is another excellent book by Zoe Saadia. In this second book in the People of the Longhouse series, Mrs. Saadia mixes old and new characters to produce a marvelous story.
The Foreigner is many stories in one. It is a story of an aging war chief who has spent his entire life fighting for peace but now finds himself at odds with many of his people. It is a story of his wife, who attempts to address many problems in the longhouse she runs. It is a story of their oldest son, who must come to grips with a young brother who is coming into his own. It is a story of his younger sibling who possesses many of his father's strengths, all of which places him in constant conflict. It is a story of a foreigner who suffers the hostility and hatred from being the newcomer. The Foreigner challenges the universal urge to label all enemies and unknown people as "savages", and continued the quest of one man to expand peace to include those in the foreign lands.
The war chief, who has led the people for decades, suddenly finds his wisdom questioned, even by those closest to him. The war chief promotes peace with the Crooked Tongues on the other side of the great river, while most his people believe war is inevitable with the "savages." When his enemies plot against him, and his son and friends question the desire to negotiate peace with the Crooked Tongues, the war chief rises to the occasion.
Another story line follows a new and unusual female. An atypical girl, misunderstood in her tribe, she finds herself at odds with many of the women in her new longhouse. Even though she proves quite gifted in many ways, most the women in the new tribe view her as a "beast" or "savage".
The Foreigner is well-written, full of historical references, and does a marvelous job of challenging the human instinct to demonize our enemies or those people we do not understand. Looking forward to book three in the series!
The Foreigner by Zoe Saadia