Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 236
Shaman Winter is a 1999 adventure mystery novel written by Rudolfo Anaya. It is the third installment in his Sonny Baca’s mystery series, coming after Zia Summer (1995), and Rio Grande Fall (1996), and followed by Jemez Spring (2005). It tells the story of Albuquerque based private investigator Sonny Baca, who is still coming down to his senses and recovering from his last encounter with his sworn nemesis, Raven. Raven returns to New Mexico and begins kidnapping young girls.
He also finds a way to enter Sonny’s dreams and kidnap a sixteenth-century daughter of a shaman—Owl Woman, who is one of Sonny's ancestors. She is the first one to be taken from Sonny’s past, and soon, other Sonny’s ancestors follow. Raven’s goal is to weaken Sonny’s soul and make him vulnerable, by 'trespassing' into his dreams and slowly erasing his past and history.
Similar to his previous novels in the series, the main theme of Shaman Winter is the mystical battle between good and evil. Spiritualism is another common theme, as the book explores shamanism, dreams, myths, and legends. Because it is, essentially, written like a detective story, with a dash of international espionage on the side, Shaman Winter is also considered an action thriller. The novel was praised for its accurate representation of New Mexican culture and entertaining narrative, however, it was also criticized for its occasional plot holes and mediocre dialogues.