"Soul Catcher" by Frank Herbert
"'You are the Innocent,' Katsuk said, 'But I am Katsuk. I am the middle of everything. I live everywhere. I see you hoquat all around. You live like dogs. You are great liars. You see the moon and call it a moon. You think that makes it a moon. But I have seen it all with my good eye and recognize without words when a thing exists.
"'I want to go back now.'
"Katsuk shook his head. 'We all want to go back, Innocent Hoquat. We want the place where we can deal with our revelation and weep and punish our senses uselessly. You talk and your world sours me. You have only words that tell me of the world you would have if I permitted you to have it. But I have brought you here, I will give you back your own knowledge of what the universe knows. I will make you know and feel. You really will understand. You will be surprised. What you learn will be what you thought you already knew.'"
"Soul Catcher" was first published in 1972, a very good year for Frank Herbert. "Hellstrom's Hive" and "The Godmakers," two other great novels, saw publication the same year. He was turning out some of the best work of his career, and starting to enjoy the fruits of his labors. His next novel, and the third in his Dune series, "Children of Dune," wouldn't appear until 1976.
In "Soul Catcher," a Native American abducts a young boy, taking him into the Olympic National Forest and teaching him the ways of his tribe. In doing so, the protagonist is both exacting revenge for the rape of his sister, and enacting an ancient ritual designed to bring self-awareness back to his people. It is a dark story of survival, and is the only "straight" (non-genre) novel that Herbert ever wrote.
As Frank Herbert novels go, this one ranks right up there with "Dune Messiah," "Hellstrom's Hive," and "The Godmakers." Despite subject matter that would have quickly grown dull in other, less experienced hands, this book held my interest from beginning to end. Herbert obviously had a wealth of knowledge with regard to woodcraft and cosmology to work with here, and he uses nearly every idea explored in earlier novels to full advantage. "Soul Catcher" is a great book, even if it's not science fiction.
I wish we could have seen more of this kind of book from Frank Herbert. As it was, the remainder of his career as a writer was largely spent writing the last four books in the Dune series, only one of which was as good as "Soul Catcher".
This can be a difficult book to track down, but you won't be sorry that you did.