Summary and book reviews of The First Eagle by Tony Hillerman

The First Eagle

by Tony Hillerman

The First Eagle
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 1999, 360 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 1999, 319 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Offers a wealth of Tony Hillerman's signature gifts - glorious evocations of the high desert, delicately drawn characters, and eloquent insights into the foibles and wisdom of the Southwest's native people.

The very plague that decimated Europe in the fourteenth century lurks today in the high, dry land of the American Southwest. But Navajo Tribal policeman Jim Chee and his mentor, Joe Leaphorn, discover an even deadlier killer stalking the reservation in the most chilling and beautifully crafted novel yet from the beloved and bestselling master of Southwestern suspense.

When Acting Lt. Chee catches a Hopi eagle poacher literally red-handed--huddled over the bloody body of a young Navajo Tribal police officer--he has an open-and-shut case. Even the Feds--usually at odds with Chee'agree, and it seems the Hopi is headed for the gas chamber. Until Joe Leaphorn shows up to blow Chee's case wide open.

Leaphorn, now retired form the Navajo Tribal Police, has been hired to find Cathy Pollard, a hot-headed biologist who disappeared from the same remote area on the same day the Navajo cop was murdered. Is she a suspect? A victim? And what are Chee and Leaphorn to make of the report that a skinwalker--a Navajo witch--was seen in the same area at the same time?

To answer these questions, Leaphorn and Chee must immerse themselves in the enigmatic web of scientists hunting the key to the most virulent form of bubonic plague since the Middle Ages.

In addition to its finely wrought plot, The First Eagle offers a wealth of Tony Hillerman's signature gifts--glorious evocations of the high desert, delicately drawn characters, and eloquent insights into the foibles and wisdom of the Southwest's native people.

Excerpt
The First Eagle

The body of Anderson Nez lay under a sheet on the gurney, waiting.


From the viewpoint of Shirley Ahkeah, sitting at her desk in the Intensive Care Unit nursing station of the Northern Arizona Medical Center in Flagstaff, the white shape formed by the corpse of Mr. Nez reminded her of Sleeping Ute Mountain as seen from her aunt's hogan near Teec Nos Pos.

Nez's feet, only a couple of yards from her eyes, pushed the sheet up to form the mountain's peak. Perspective caused the rest of the sheet to slope away in humps and ridges, as the mountain seemed to do under its winter snow when she was a child. Shirley had given up on finishing her night shift paperwork. Her mind kept drifting away to what had happened to Mr. Nez and trying to calculate whether he fit into the Bitter Water clan Nez family with the grazing lease adjoining her grandmother's place at Short Mountain. And then there was the question of whether his family would allow an autopsy. She ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

The Wall Street Journal

Mr. Hillerman skillfully blends Navaho lore with daily life.... Although the story is neatly told, the plot-line about a drug-resistant plague is slowed by Mr. Hillerman's fascination with scientific mumbo-jumbo.

The Washington Post

The First Eagle displays all the strengths of Hillerman's writing a vivid sense of place, nuanced characters, and a complex, engrossing plot.

Reader Reviews

Eagle Boy Zephier

Mystery Analysis
It is a good book to read.

Anonymous
Lonna Schmidt
Again, Tony Hillerman has written an intriguing novel about the Navaho people and those wonderful police officers Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn. Though one of his shorter novels, the plot quickly takes shape and you are left guessing "...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The First Eagle, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...
  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman in Moscow
    A Gentleman in Moscow
    by Amor Towles
    It is June 21, 1922, and 33-year-old Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is convicted of being a class ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.