Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side ~ with Walker by Jane Alexander
Over Christmas I downloaded a book I was not sure I would like. When I was a kid, the genre YOUNG ADULT barely existed, if at all, and I’d have run screaming from it, as the condescending marketing ploy from publishers it surely is. However, Walker by Jane Alexander has been placed in this category because the main character Hunter is only fifteen. So, I swallowed my doubts and began reading.
Now, due to my depression I often find concentrating really hard and unless fiction is exceptionally well written, I can give up within pages. I finished it in about two days, either side of the festivities.
What hooked me most was the presentation of a hidden world, that lies in and alongside our own, a world I see glimpses of from time to time. I’ve done some shamanic work and while it may seem really “woo” it gets results. Many psychotherapists use soul retrieval techniques to heal serious psychological traumas so going back to ancient basics with the original techniques has become very popular.
The story is so finely written, I soon forgot my doubts. I was transported to Exmoor (which I had visited a few months previously) and to a landscape that is ancient and powerful. I’ve walked the hidden valley of Kitnor, and let me tell you something: despite it being a sunny day in early September, not a bird sang; the air throbbed with unseen power. This is the blurb from Amazon:
Hidden temples have always protected the Earth. But now they are dying. Concrete is spreading over the valleys, pollution hangs heavy over the cities: greed is consuming the world.
Deep in the heart of England, there is one last hope. Kitnor, a remote Exmoor valley, could be a new place of power. But it is young and vulnerable to attack. The guardians, ancient keepers of the land, have to find the new temple and bring it to its full power. But their mission is failing and time is running out.
One teen, Hunter McKenzie, survivor of the car crash that killed his parents, is a shaman, a walker between worlds. He alone could find Kitnor. But Hunter doesn’t know his power. He doesn’t believe in shamanism. He doesn’t even believe in himself.
Help comes from unexpected quarters. Rowan is another teen shaman with her own ‘power animal’, a black panther called Comer. Rowan, however, has her own problems, her own potentially fatal Achilles’ heel.
Hunter meets many strange beings on his quest – the Ferish (cruel fairies who hate humankind); the punkies (souls of dead babies and young children); ancient warriors, Tibetan lamas and, above all, his own powerful animal spirits. Some will help, some hinder. Some are not what they seem.
Walker is a magical eco-quest. It is based on the ancient practice of shamanism, in which the shaman ‘journeys’ into other realms with the help of power animals and guardian spirits, to find wisdom and power. Shamanism holds the earth and all its creatures as sacred – the shaman’s duty is to protect the earth and honour everything in it.
While the story of Walker is pure fiction, the shamanic practices used in the tale are all based on fact.
While the story is filled with mysticism the young hero is filled with doubts, not only about himself but about all that he experiences. Not brought up to this kind of thing, it is utterly alien, but seeing it through his eyes aids the reader understand the practises and beliefs involved.
This book ought to be a rallying call for eco-warriors young and old alike. My only caveat is my personal concern about this being considered a YOUNG ADULT book. It might put off people who do not fall into this demographic, as it almost did me. I also worry that since the techniques are real and can be dangerous, ill-advised attempts might be made by children to reproduce the experiences, but since generally shamanic power comes either by long training, hard knocks and often near-death experiences, I suspect that all that would really happen is a few terrifying nightmares at worst. There’s enough information out there on the internet freely available after all.
From my own perspective, this book reminded me of the work I have already done to explore the Otherworld, and encouraged me to continue it, in my own way. Being an eco-warrior is about more things than recycling and acknowledging the hidden world and working with it is as important as more mundane and accepted practises.
At less than you’d pay for a decent cup of coffee, I can’t see why anyone interested in both beautifully written adventure tales and environmental matters wouldn’t buy it. What’s that you say? You don’t have a Kindle? Well, you can download a free app to your PC, Mac or tablet, or even your phone, and then you can buy Kindle books and enjoy them without shelling out for a Kindle. And if this book sells well enough as an e-book, I’m hoping the author will consider producing a paerback as the cover art is so beautiful it deserves more than an Amazon thumbnail!