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The matriarch is a woman of intelligence, wit, beauty and ruthlessness, and has become a mythical figure through her fight to repossess the land and sustain her people against the ravages wrought by the Pakeha. Priestess of the Ringatu faith, she has been virtually a law unto herself. In his search for the truth behind the legends surrounding the matriarch, his grandmother, Tama Mahana delves deeper and deeper into Maori history and lore to understand the mysterious sources of her power and ambition. Witi Ihimaera’s prose is at turns lyrical and spare, sensuous and savage. Weaving fact with fiction, this remarkable odyssey into New Zealand history is a novel of stunning imaginative power.
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