This is a gripping, moving tale about Erdrich’s usual raft of multi-generational Native Americans. The story begins in present day New Hampshire when Faye Travers, an estate valuator, comes across the drum of the title, a large, ceremonial Native American artifact, and determines to return it to its rightful owners (not the owner of the estate she is handling). Back in time we learn the history of the man who made the drum, the stories of his family, three generations worth, and they are powerful tales indeed, tales of courage, hope, magic and sadness. Erdrich covers two very diverse places and cultures in this novel, from New Hampshire (where she lived for 10 years during and after her schooling at Dartmouth) to her native North Dakota. Children take a central place here, facing cruel situations, showing remarkable strength and courage. She crosses lines between this world and the next with deft grace, seeing the connections, both spiritual and physical between not only generations of people, but with the things that make up our world. Her imagery is rich and satisfying, her characters very human and her writing a delight. This is a very moving satisfying read.