BOOK CORNER: Battles of American West are focus of historical novel

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By Marissa Wells

Contributing Writer

“Bone Necklace,” by Julia Sullivan, is a new novel inspired by the true story of a war in which Native American warriors held off four converging armies while their families escaped to Canada.

The book was inspired by the author’s fascination with the historical story and the figures that participated in it such as Chief Joseph, known as the “Red Napoleon,” the Nez Perce Tribe, and General Oliver “Uh Oh” Howard. Sullivan was also inspired by the story’s continued relevancy today.

“While deeply rooted in American history, ‘Bone Necklace’ is also relevant in our own time,” Sullivan said. “It illustrates a principle that we too often forget: that without equal access to justice, there can be no peace.”

“Bone Necklace” is the author’s first book and it was important for her to write it.

“As a lawyer, I have tried to speak out about injustice wherever I have found it; that was how I first became interested in the Nez Perce story, but the more I learned, the deeper I was drawn,” Sullivan said. “Writing started out as a way to organize my thoughts, but eventually the project took on a life of its own.”

“Bone Necklace” is a compelling story of endurance, hope and not giving up despite overwhelming odds. Inside the book, readers will see the war and its effects through the eyes of narrators that take us through the three major battles of the war. There is also one female narrator, who offers readers a glimpse into the suffering endured by women and children.

“Bone Necklace” will be enjoyed by fans of both social justice literature and history of the American West.

“Native American history is too often portrayed as a tragedy — as if some fatal flaw in the character or culture of the Native American race doomed them to a disastrous fate,” Sullivan said. “It’s a narrative that places the moral blame squarely on the victim; ‘Bone Necklace’ confronts that lie.”

The author’s favorite part of the book is the section narrated by Nicole, an English tourist who was kidnapped by Nez Perce Indians and traveled with them for several weeks.

Sullivan is based in both Annapolis, Maryland and Hamilton, Montana. For more information about the author and her work, visit

“Bone Necklace” is available for $33.05 (Hardcover), $19.95 (Paperback), $19.95 (Audiobook), and $4.99 (Kindle) via,, and


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