NC Literary Hall of Fame



The Legend of Skyco: Spirit Quest by Jennifer Frick-Ruppert

Amberjack Publishing
$15.99, hardcover / $8.49, e-book
ISBN: 978-I-944995-II-9
April, 2017
Fiction: Middle Grade / Young Adult
Available from your local bookstore or

"If nothing else, The Legend of Skyco is an important book for our mainstream urban-industrial culture that in general has little knowledge of the natural world and essentially no initiation rites, ceremonies, nor celebrations for young men or women coming of age. Nothing that deliberately defines those transitions from one stage of life to another. But this book is just as entertaining as it is informative. In essence it’s a great ride in a literary time machine that takes us back to what some might say was 'a better time.' When things were just as God or The Great Spirit made them, and when we humans were more at home and at one with it all. Lucky are we to be travelers on this great ride with Jennifer Frick-Ruppert and the historical characters she has brought back to life through her fiction. And the 'ride' doesn’t end with 'Spirit Quest,' as this is only the first book of a series on the adventures of Skyco."
—Thomas Crowe, Smoky Mountain News

"A biologist and environmental scientist, Dr. Jennifer Frick Ruppert’s The Legend of Skyco greatly expands part of that forgotten world. It is based on the writings of explorers, the contemporary watercolors of John White, folklore, and Frick-Ruppert’s masterful knowledge of Chowan River basin wildlife. The Chowan River itself it is frequently overlooked in North Carolina histories, yet the first explorers saw it as a key path to settlement and several nations lived in and around it."
—Marvin Jones

Skyco, an Algonquin boy, is heir to the great chief Menatonon, but he has much to learn before he can take his place within the tribe. He studies with the shaman Roncommock, who teaches him how to enter the spirit world and communicate with spirits and other animals, while he also learns practical skills of hunting, fishing, and starting a fire from other men in his village. But learning to throw a spear with an atlatl and shoot arrows with a bow are just precursors to the ultimate test, the husquenaugh, when he is challenged to use his hard-earned skills to survive the harrowing life-or-death ritual. A book of rousing adventure and historical relevance, The Legend of Skyco: Spirit Quest brings to life the world of the Algonquin tribe before the arrival of English explorers.

Dr. Jennifer Frick-Ruppert earned her P.hD in Zoology from Clemson University and holds the Dalton Professor of Biology and Environmental Science at Brevard College in Western North Carolina. Originally from South Carolina, she grew up with a love of nature and the outdoors. Her other two books are Mountain Nature: A Seasonal Natural History of the Southern Appalachians and Waterways: Sailing the Southeastern Coast. Both are about southeastern biodiversity.

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