Village of the Ghost Bears
is the fourth book in the series starring Alaskan Trooper Nathan Active. The series has many fans, and for good reason; this novel isn't just a mystery about who started a fatal fire, it's also a source of insight into the lives and culture of Native Americans in Northwest Alaska. Jones is an Alaskan native (and a Bush pilot), so he knows what he's talking about.
I have to praise the exceptionally useful and fun glossary of Northwest Alaskan
terms in the Inupiaq
* (IN-you-pack) language (which I understand he includes in
every book). I learned from it that a kinnaq
(KIN-ock) is "a crazy person,"
(ICK-mick) is "a form of chewing tobacco made by combining
leaf tobacco with the ashes of burnt tree fungus, usually birch" and that quiyuk
(KWEE-yuk) means "sex." (Try tossing those into your next...
Beyond the Book
In Village of the Ghost Bears
, Trooper Nathan Active and his fellow law enforcement personnel must discuss the problem of polar bear poaching, because at least one of the suspects in the arson/murder has been involved in the illegal trade of selling polar bear gallbladders to China...
The Value of Bear Gallbladders
As the book correctly explains, gallbladder bile is highly prized in Chinese medicine. It is considered to be a cure for everything from fever and rheumatism to poor eyesight. Illegal trade exists between Alaska and Korea, and between Alaska and Russia (for eventual sale to China), and it is a lucrative enterprise. The Humane Society...