I am prey, caught in a spider's web. Every time the spider creeps, he makes me whirl around and around. My life is spinning without me. I cling to the web with my hands and feet.
I look for a place to leap.
Nana's future is certain, and she dreads it. Daughter of a proud Kwakiutl chief, she will become a weaver, marry the son of a chief from another tribe, and leave her beloved home forever. Nanolatch, Nana's twin brother, will be chief one day, and he welcomes it. He will be a warrior and a strong leader, just like his father. Together, the twins will enter their initiation to adulthood, and fulfill the roles that have been determined for them since the day they were born.
But when the chief leads a warring party to destroy another tribe's village and capture a slave, the fortunes of the Kwakiutl tribe begin to turn. Convinced that they must make amends, the chief casts about for a way to undo the curse that has descended on their people.
The young slave, Noh, has been mute since the day she was torn from her village. Daughter of a shaman, she has already seen visions of the twins. Only gradually does she understand that her own emergence as a shaman is inextricably linked with the twins and their approaching initiation. Through her sympathy for Nana and her growing love for Nanolatch, she understands that she must help them fulfill their true destiny. But can she save them, knowing that it will take a terrible sacrifice to restore them all to their rightful place?
Set on the West Coast of North America during the fifteenth century, Initiation is a powerful story of a proud tribe, the Spirit World that guides them, and the universal struggle of three extraordinary young people on the brink of adulthood.
Cover design and vignettes by Paul Morin.
Awards and Nominations:
Winner of the Silver Birch Award
Winner of the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction
UNESCO International Youth Library - White Raven Award special mention, 2004
Shortlist for the 2004 Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award
2005 Snow Willow Award Nominee
Shortlisted for the 2004 Sunburst Award
Kiriyama Prize Notable
Red Cedar Award shortlist
Stellar Award nominee
Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award Nominee 2005