"The Hunter's Son," author Gregg Luke's 10th novel, explores what happens when a teenage Nephite boy is captured by the Lamanite army after his small village is annihilated and his family slaughtered.
Jarem of Oranihah, the protagonist of the story set in Book of Mormon times — roughly in the war chapters era of Alma, when the Lamanities are seeking to attack the Nephites, finds himself far away from home and amongst strangers of every kind. Because those who imprison him are unbelievers, Jarem has only his faith in God and his religious upbringing to carry him through his captivity and the degradation he encounters as a slave to the Lamanites. As if nothing worse could happen, the love of his life is tragically ripped from his arms.
Through all of this, he finds mercy and kindness in the Lamanite Master Healer, Chemish. Seeing potential in Jarem, Chemish teaches him all he knows as his healer apprentice. In return, Jarem teaches Chemish about his faith.
A pharmacist practicing in Logan, Luke expertly weaves his knowledge of drugs and cures into the story in a way that is familiar to modern-day readers.
At its heart, this is a coming-of-age story about a young man trying to find his place in the world. There is an undercurrent theme of romance and some sexual innuendo, but it is not meant to be offensive to the reader. It sometimes comes across as awkward, but as the main character is a teen, it makes sense.
There are some scenes of violence toward slaves that are mild, and battle scenes that involve injuries and death caused by swords and arrows. There are depictions of drinking alcohol and of being drunk.
Luke, a California native, served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Wisconsin. He attended both Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.
Jennifer Lambert is a freelance writer and editor in Provo. Her email is at [email protected].