The Winter of the Iron Bow

Young Adult, Middle Grade, General Fiction

By William F. Higbie

Publisher : Christopher Matthews Publishing

ABOUT William F. Higbie

William F. Higbie
William F. Higbie Having spent over 30 years teaching English at the high school and college levels, William Higbie has studied the Cheyenne culture extensively. He was awarded a Geraldine Dodge Foundation grant to explore the tribe’s traditions while living with a Cheyenne host family  More...



The story takes place in 1796 on the windswept Northern Plains. It is a coming-of-age story that takes place over the year in the life of a teen-aged member of the Cheyenne tribe. Bull Calf‘s needs are those of any adolescent male: he wants to have friends, to be accepted as a grown man, to seek adventure  and aches to find true love with a girl, Pretty Day Walking. As Bull Calf leaves his childhood behind, to begin his new life as a warrior, his people are also emerging from the Stone Age in their own coming-of-age story, hurtling along on an unavoidable course with European technology. The introduction of firearms (“iron bowstrings”) leads to an intertribal arms race and war for survival with their enemies, the Absorkas. Having completed his vision quest, and now known by his man-name, Otters Circling, he must prove himself as a warrior, survive the warrior’s path and return to the girl who has stolen his heart. This deeply researched novel is excellent for readers of all ages from 9 to 99.

The author has done extensive research into the Cheyenne Indian history. Awarded a grant, he spent some time living with a Cheyenne family on their reservation. He has had an abiding passion for history and his knowledge of the people, their customs and language adds real richness to this book.