PUHA

PUHA

Master of the Wild - Volume 1

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
498 Pages
Reviewed on 03/08/2014
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

J. Bradley Van Tighem was born and raised in California, a sixth-generation Californian. He is an avid nature buff, especially fond of birds of prey and reptiles. He dabbled in falconry for several years, but realized he couldn't dedicate enough time to it with a full-time job as a Java programmer and two sports-loving teenage boys.
His fiction attempts to capture his love of falconry and the Native American cultures, specifically the Apache and Comanche tribes of Texas. The first book of the Master of the Wild Series is entitled "Puha" and is set in the 1700s, unsettled Texas, before Rangers, revolvers, and rifles. A western without cowboys during a time when Comanches, "the most powerful tribe in American history" as coined by historical author S. C. Gwynne, roamed the Southern Plains on their painted ponies. "Puha" blends "My Side of the Mountain" with "Dances With Wolves."

    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

J Bradley Van Tighem’s novel Puha, Master of the Wild, Volume 1, unravels in the late 1700s, when wolves, buffaloes, and grizzly bears freely wandered the southern plains of Texas. This was also the time when Comanche Indians roamed the land with their horses, spears, knives, bows and arrows, and puha or spiritual power. In this setting, a 12-year-old white boy, who will later earn the name Many Wolves, is adopted by Painted Wings and Red Arrow of the Lipan Comanche tribe. He is frequently bothered by memories of the murder of his real parents by men with painted faces. When his adopted tribe is attacked by the Nokoni Comanche, led by Laughing Crow, who wants to take him in exchange for peace, Many Wolves has to escape into the wilderness of the Texan desert and survive with the help of his animal friends. Laughing Crow is a cruel, ruthless, and powerful warrior while Many Wolves is a gangling little boy who has the gift of walking with the spirits of the animals. In the near future, the bloody paths of these two main protagonists will meet again.

Puha refers to an Indian word, which means spiritual power. This historical novel deals with the Comanche Indian tribe, America’s indigenous people who used to live freely and in harmony with nature. The author’s writing style is fast paced and descriptive. He is certainly able to capture the Comanche spirit. Feared by the colonizers and other Indian tribes, a Comanche warrior can ride his horse faster and farther than almost anyone, and is as skilled with his spears, bow and arrows, or bare hands. Puha, Masters of the Wild, is a well researched story that provides the reader with a lot of information about how the Comanches actually lived at that time. It is interesting to learn about their customs and traditions and their everyday life. The characters in this novel are so well developed and their adventures are described quite vividly that one can imagine how the great warrior Laughing Crow actually killed his enemies. Although it is hard to imagine the life and times of this Indian tribe in today’s modern world, J. Van Tighem succeeded in bringing them to life again in his reader’s imagination with this novel.

Mamta Madhavan

Puha (Master of the Wild) (Volume 1) by J. Bradley Van Tighem is the arresting story of a twelve-year-old Indian boy, Many Wolves, set in the 1700s. He is adopted by Lipan Apaches when his parents are killed by men with painted faces. But Many Wolves escapes when he comes to know that the Nokoni Comanche band responsible for killing his parents is asking for a white-skinned boy in exchange for peace. Alone in the wilderness, Many Wolves learns to survive. Five years later, the Nokoni leader's son is killed by a Lipan arrow. Laughing Crow, the leader of the Nokoni Comanche band is now looking for vengeance. But in these five years, Many Wolves undergoes a lot of changes in his character.

Puha is the Comanche word for spiritual power and the story takes you back in time in American history, blending the mystical and spiritual realms of that era when people lived a carefree existence in tandem with the universe. Though the book has a lot of violence, the emerging message is that of brotherhood and peace. The metaphorical descriptions are vivid and they enhance the visual aspect of the story. The story alternates between Laughing Crow and Many Wolves with an even pace. The trials, tribulations, and adventures of their lives form the most important theme of this book. The setting of the story in 1700s introduces readers to another world. The detailed descriptions add to the charm of the story and the characters.

Kim Anisi

If you are interested in native American Indians and general adventure stories, then Puha (Master of the Wild) (Volume 1) by J. Bradley Van Tighem might just be the right book for you. The story is about Many Wolves, a light-skinned boy who grew up with an Indian tribe, and his adversary Laughing Crow, who is a rather mean-spirited leader of a hostile tribe which is more powerful than Many Wolves' tribe. When Laughing Crow comes to the other tribe and requests some horses and the light-skinned boy (because he'd be worth a lot of money), Many Wolves is told to run away - and he does. But he does not go alone because he has a secret: three feathered friends who will grow close to the reader's heart. Together, they brave the wilderness on their own and have quite a few adventures until the inevitable happens.

Puha was a story I really enjoyed reading; however, the chapters that focused on Laughing Crow really made me hate that character - and most readers will feel the same way. Such a horrible, mean character - one really hopes that he does not get away with the things he does. And how the friendship between Many Wolves and his birds develops is just wonderfully heart-warming. I loved it so much and I found it a vital part of the story. The book was beautifully written and well crafted. I would recommend it for readers of all ages!