"I've seen what the world does to the weak. It'll eat you alive."
Tirio was cast out of the Takunami tribe at a very young age because of his disabled foot. But an American woman named Sara adopted him, and his life has only gotten better since. Now, as his thirteenth birthday approaches, things are nearly perfect. So why is he having visions and hearing voices calling him back to the Amazon?
Luka has spent his whole life preparing for his soche seche tente, a sixth-sense test all Takunami boys must endure just before their thirteenth birthday. His family's future depends on whether or not he passes this perilous test. His mother has dedicated herself to making sure that no aspect of his training is overlooked . . . but fate has a way of disturbing even the most carefully laid plans.
Two young boys. An unforgiving jungle. One shared destiny.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: N.A. NELSON
N.A. Nelson was born in London, England and grew up on a cattle farm in rural Missouri. Living on a thousand acres of wilderness provided plenty of opportunities for adventure, but it also created a sense of wonderment about what else was out here. After graduating with a degree in tourism, the author strapped on a backpack and has been exploring the world ever since. Recent journeys include the jungles of the Amazon and the glaciered peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
How the book came about: “The idea for this story came from an experience I had while staying at a scientific research camp in Brazil. On my second night there, I developed a stomachache and asked our guide, Juan Diego, for some local medicine. He translated my problem to the camp cook, who grabbed a machete, went into the woods, chopped some leaves off a tree and brewed me a mild flavored tea.
As the cook handed me the cup, I realized that I was about to drink the same tea that he prepared for his own family. All of a sudden, the differences between us—our skin color, our country of origin, our place in life—disappeared. We were both just flesh and blood trying to make a sick person feel better. This realization actually became a theme of the book itself and allowed me to write about a culture of which I was not actively a part.
"Told in two distinctive voices, this imaginative and beautifully realized novel, set in the Amazon, tells the story of two boys from the fictional Takunami tribe, who on the eve of their 13th birthdays must endure the soche seche tente, a test of manhood. If a Takunami boy successfully completes this ordeal, he will have warrior status in the tribe and be allowed to meet his father, who psychically guides him during the experience. Tirio, who was ousted from the tribe because of a bad foot, has not been formally trained. But now that his birthday approaches, he has been hearing the voices of his ancestors and knows that despite his lack of preparation, he is being called upon to meet his destiny. Luka, who has spent his childhood working toward this moment under the tutelage of his strong-willed mother, is ready. Their stories connect in a surprising yet totally believable way, giving psychological depth to this richly hued novel about the winding turns of destiny and the bonds between father and son, tribe and family." ~Kirkus Review
"Refreshing, well put-together, and completely original." ~Teensreadtoo.com (5 star review)