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Colibri    by Ann Cameron order for
by Ann Cameron
Order:  USA  Can
Laurel Leaf, 2005 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

A four year old Mayan child is found by an ex-solder who insists that she call him Uncle. Uncle calls her Rosa although her true name is Tzunun which means hummingbird or Colibri in Spanish.

When the story begins Rosa has been traveling through the Guatemalan countryside with Uncle for eight years. Through Tzunun's eyes we see an ancient Mayan culture where fortunetellers and mysticism share the same respect as the holy church. Uncle intends to sell Tzunun, but is told that she is too old. Foreigners want babies to adopt. The woman who arranges adoptions reads the cards for him instead. The cards tell Uncle that Tzunun will lead him to a treasure. As they travel from village to village, Uncle hopes that soon she will make him rich. Uncle provides for them by pretending to be blind. Tzunun's mother taught her that her first job is to be honest. When she is forced to beg for her blind Uncle, she asks her mother's forgiveness in case they ever meet again.

Tzunun is torn between what she knows is wrong and what she is forced to do to remain with Uncle. Afraid to be alone in a country where innocent people are killed or abducted, she tries to reconcile his demands with her desire to be the kind of daughter she knows her mother would want her to be. The relationship between Uncle and Tzunun is unloving and tense. But as long as he believes she will bring him riches, he cares for her, forcing her deeper and deeper into his world of deceit and larceny.

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