On the Brink of Shards, by Nancy Rivest Green, is a fictional story recommendation for Grand Canyon rafting enthusiasts. If you seek a unique and intriguing page-turner incorporating things you have come to learn and love about the Southwest and the Grand Canyon, this may be the book for you. Order the book today. Here are five reasons why Grand Canyon raft adventure participants love On the Brink of Shards.
Reason # 1 – The Story is Geographically Intriguing
The two main characters, Kaiya and Drok, live separate stories for much of the book. Each takes a momentous journey across land familiar to readers who travel in Northern Arizona and the Grand Canyon. However, Kaiya’s journey aligns more geographically with a Grand Canyon raft adventure. Her story begins at Walnut Canyon and her journey takes her through Wupatki, Betatakin, Hovenweep, Aztec, Chaco Canyon, Homolovi, and then back to her home at Walnut Canyon. But not for long, because she has to flee the Toltecs who chase her. Then she goes by herself through the Little Colorado River gorge to the Confluence of the mighty Colorado River, crosses the River by Unkar, climbs to the Walhalla Plateau on the North Rim, where in a final battle meets Drok. It is the North Rim where she also consequently meets the love of her life, Kayko.
Kaiya and Kayko have an idyllic time on the North Rim, but then Kaiya receives direction by her clan’s shaman that she must travel once again. She and her lover hike across the Canyon and then again cross the River. They roughly follow the Bright Angel Canyon drainage before they top out on the South Rim. They hike to Keyhole Sink where they set up their new residence. Sound familiar? It should! Kaiya’s journey includes real places inhabited by the Ancient Puebloan long ago. Therefore, you might visit one or more of these spots as part of the experience on a Grand Canyon raft adventure. The author provides a few maps to help get your bearings straight.
Reason # 2 – The Theme Reflects Today’s World
If you have been on a Grand Canyon raft trip with Arizona Raft Adventures then you know it is more than just good fun! River guides are not only leaders, they are teachers. They incorporate education into an adventure in a way which you don’t even realize you are learning. In fact, every trip blends a theme about protecting natural resources and restoring balance. This is exactly what takes place in On the Brink of Shards.
On the Brink of Shards integrates the very same issues humans deal with today with issues the characters face in the book. One major theme regards a society facing climate change, environmental degradation, overpopulation and depletion of natural resources.
In addition, the author also wants the reader to know that basically people have not changed through time. People still want basic survival needs met. They want safety, artistic freedoms and to be loved. Most noteworthy, the author wants the reader to acknowledge the diversity in the story. There are people with disabilities, gay people, kind people and bullies.
Reason # 3 – The Cast of Characters is Diverse
Arizona Raft Adventures gives a lot of thought to the diverse staff. Each crew is delicately staffed with an interesting cast of characters. This is what you find with the cast of On the Brink of Shards. Here is a summary of the characters you meet:
- Kaiya – the “good” main character, an orphan of the clan training to be a healer
- Drok – the “evil” main character, blood lusting, violent and power hungry
- Moochkla – the wise and kindly shaman
- Bertok – Kaiya’s uncle, an artist struggling with his sexual identity
- Souva – Moochkla’s brother, who has spent his whole life enraged and cut off from his feelings
- Jumac – the wise storyteller of the clan
- Tal – a magical cougar
- Pem – a Toltec with no tolerance for violence
- Loka – an albino temple worker
- Cumani – a misguided Toltec priest
- Sess – a traveling Kokopelli
- Obaho – a brain-injured sweet man of the clan
- Kayko – Kaiya’s great love
Reason #4 – You Learn a Plethora of Vocabulary
Nancy Rivest Green incorporates words throughout the story that are historically accurate. Many of these words you also learn on a Grand Canyon raft adventure. These words also pop up in studies about the Ancient Puebloan of the Southwest and other Native American studies around the word. You will read words like cobblebar, scat, Chub, obsidian, pinyon nuts and kiva. Here are some additional favorites to add to your glossary:
Hisatsinom: A Hopi word meaning “people of long ago” used to describe the ancestral Puebloan people who inhabited the Four Corners region of the Colorado Plateau.
Pulque: Pulque is believed to be one of the oldest alcoholic beverages known to North America drunk first by the Aztecs. It is made by fermenting the sap of the maguey plant. Colorado River enthusiasts know this more commonly as the Century plant or the agave which are prevalent all over the region. It is a milky, a little foamy and somewhat thick. The history of pulque intrigues any history buff.
Wikiup: A wikiup is a single room, dome-shaped dwelling structure. They were usually used more like a tent rather than a permanent structure. The wikiup was used by Native Americans and made by draping branches over each other. Then weaving or lying branches over the structure.
Atlatl: An ancient weapon used for hunting found used all over the world. The two piece weapon is best described as a spear thrower. It predates the bow and arrow!
Reason #5 – Supporting Northern Arizona Authors Helps Support and Protect the Grand Canyon
Northern Arizona authors are known to connect to the land they love. Support Northern Arizona authors, and you are inadvertently helping support the land you love too. Author Nancy Rivest Green, lives a life deeply intertwined with the Grand Canyon. However, there are many authors who maintain an abiding love for the Colorado Plateau landscape. For example, Wayne Ranney and Don Lago. Wayne is a geologist and author of Carving Grand Canyon: Evidence, Theories and Mystery, and Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau. Don Lago, canyon historian, is the author of Grand Canyon Trivia and Grand Canyon: A History of a Natural Wonder and a National Park.
If these five reasons don’t convince a Grand Canyon raft enthusiast to read On the Brink of Shards, then here is one more reason. Nancy worked for Arizona Raft Adventures for 17 seasons as an orientation hostess! She was a teacher at the South Rim village where her and her husband (a park ranger) lived and worked. Nancy has hiked and rafted countless hours in the Grand Canyon and around the region. Her experience, passion and dedication is real. For those who know Nancy, On the Brink of Shards is an extension of her imagination. The book is a great example of her literary expertise!
Pick up a copy of her book before or after your Grand Canyon raft adventure. Or order online anytime from AzRA’s Red River Sports retail store.
Nancy just published her second book called Stalking the Wild Dragonfly: Stories of Experiences in Nature.
“If we’re smart – we’ll use both science and history to help us restore balance without letting our civilizations descend into chaos.” Nancy Rivest Green