Oregon Magazine

When the Wolf Comes: a journey back in time
to the 19th Century

By Fred Delkin

This reviewer has spent angling weekends on the Makah Indian
Reservation in the far Northwest corner of Washington state and has visited the tribal museum...developing profound respect for the original residents of this still wild and beautiful area. Now a Seattle author has penned an absorbing novel based upon actual significant events involving the Makah tribe at the start of the 19th century. The reader is projected into a web of tribal warfare, customs and a love affair involving a captured New Englander who became a Makah slave. "When the Wolf Comes" by John Pappas, a 2009 publication of Seattle's Orca11 Books, is a thoroughly
researched work that entertains and informs. The author displays a thorough knowledge of seamanship and angling in these roiled waters and weaves this into a remarkable adventure story.

Young Bostonian, Aidan Martin, 21, is 'shanghaied' in his favorite grog shop after a day's fishing and wakes up aboard a four-masted sailing vessel bound for a journey around Cape Horn into the Pacific. Aidan and a shipmate, James, jump ship in what is now San Francisco and toil for months at a Spanish mission before hiring on as crew on a passing American sailing vessel heading north in search of furs. Quinalt natives attack the vessel, kidnap Aiden and subsequently sell him as a slave to a rival tribe, the Makahs.

Now, dear reader, you are on an aborginal adventure wherein our hero, Aiden, becomes both teacher and warrior while still a slave, then bonds romantically with the maiden Neveah as he earns tribal respect for both his knowlege and bravery. Descriptions of tribal rites and emotions keep the pages turning.

We've read no better or absorbing tale of life in the Pacific Northwest before the white man settled these shores. "When Wolf Comes" is available at Amazon.

© 2010 Oregon Magazine