Eighty centuries ago, in the frozen land that is now Alaska, a clubfooted male child had been left to die, when a woman named K'os rescued him. Twenty years later and no longer a child, Chakliux occupies the revered role as his tribe's storyteller. In the neighboring village of the Near River people, where Chakliux will attempt to make peace by wedding the shaman's daughter, a double murder occurs that sends him on a harsh, enthralling journey in search of the truth about the tragic losses his people have suffered, and into the arms of a woman he was never meant to love.
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Winter looms in this place of icy splendor near the top of the world-chilling a heart already frozen by hatred and cold dreams of revenge? Experience and adversity have made the storyteller Chakliux a wise and powerful hunter and a man of great respect. But a tender heart is his weakness. In his village lives the beautiful Aqamdax for whom he yearns, though she is mated to a cruel and dangerous tribesman she does not love. It is Chakliux she runs to under a clear, moonlit sky while the village sleeps.
A handsome young tribal warrior and sage, Yikaas has traveled across the sea to hear stories of the Whale Hunter and the Sea Hunter peoples. Around the fire, Qumalix, a beguiling and beautiful storyteller, barely old enough to be a wife, catches the eye of Yikaas, and so begins their flirtation through storytelling, which brings to vivid life tales of the Near River and Cousin River tribes.