The Author
Mary Relindes Ellis


Chicago Tribune – January 18, 2004
“Ambitious, insistent and often very beautiful, The Turtle Warrior is… a book rife with tragedy and heartache, suffering and struggle, deluded dreams and exiled dreams, the twisted legacy of abuse… Ellis is particularly gifted at conveying dreams… and she endows Ernie and Rosemary with such complex and finally true humanity that the closing pages of the book feel earned, honest and genuinely transcendent. Passionate… a heartfelt and urgent book that heralds what I hope will be a long career as a writer.”
— Beth Kephart

San Francisco Chronicle – January 11, 2004
“Luminous… The Turtle Warrior is about many things: self-hatred, domestic abuse, the cruelty of fate, the unfairness of life, the sadness of sons repeating the sins of the fathers. But it is also about goodness and kindness, the sacredness of nature and the miracle of love. It is a deeply spiritual book… a cathartic experience for [its characters] and us. They have earned it. And we, the reader, who have accompanied them on their journey, weep with joy.”
— June Sawyers

BookSense 76 – January/February 2004
“After his older brother leaves for Vietnam, Bill Lucas must find ways to survive his alcoholic father’s abuse and his mother’s slow descent into mental illness. A mix of characters narrate Ellis’ amazing first novel, including Ernie and Rosemary Morriseau – the very people who eventually pull Bill back from the depths of his sorrow. An unforgettable novel.”
— Katrina Denza

Publishers Weekly – December 1, 2003
“This sensitive, melancholic first novel by Midwestern short story writer Ellis probes the troubled heart of a Wisconsin farm family. From alternating points of view, Ellis reveals the details of decades of family life (from 1967 to 2000) in the Lucas and Morriseau households… Bill’s tale is also dark; though he believes that the turtle shell shield he makes will protect him, he grows into a man haunted by his past… Ellis’s debut is affecting and sometimes gorgeously poetic.”

Kirkus Reviews
“Elegantly written and sharply observed…a well crafted debut.”

“Told from many perspectives, this epic of the emotions explores themes of war, loss, and family, showing the paralysis of grief and the healing power of nature.”