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3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  226 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Old Cover-First Edition-Out of Print

Winner of the 2013 BEST INDIE BOOK AWARD, Storykeeper is an epic adventure, based on historic sixteenth-century Spanish documents from the expedition of Hernando de Soto through the southern regions of the United States. However, the story is told from the perspective of the people of the Mississippi River Valley, who lived and survived
Paperback, First Edition, 352 pages
Published March 8th 2012 by Createspace (first published March 4th 2012)
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  • Storykeeper by Daniel A.  Smith
    Release date: Mar 04, 2012
    “A vivid epic” (Kirkus) told from the perspective of the ancient people of the Mississippi River Valley who survived America's deadliest invasion.


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    Giveaway dates: Oct 24 - Nov 01, 2016

    Countries available: US, CA, and GB

    Format: Print Book

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    Community Reviews

    (showing 1-30 of 1,227)
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    Jess Mountifield
    I was gifted a copy of this eBook in return for a review.

    I studied this area of American history in school and while it was quite a number of years ago now it still made me eager to read this book. I was not let down in the slightest. This was the perfect book to finish off last year with and one of the best books I had the pleasure of reviewing in 2012.

    The storytelling structure of the book appealed to my own nature and each different timeline being talked about felt real and fresh. I could ima
    J. d'Merricksson
    ***This book was reviewed for Reader's Favourite***

    Storykeeper by Daniel Smith is a beautifully woven tale of stories nested inside stories. It is a tale of times long past and peoples long gone. Long before writing, stories were kept by shaman, Druids, lorekeepers, bards. They encoded history, myth, legend, and kept a people in touch with their ancestors.

    Storykeeper threads through the lives of several such lorekeepers, binding them together, even as the stories they tend bind family and tribe
    Jane Blanchard
    Feb 18, 2016 Jane Blanchard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    In Storykeeper, Daniel A. Smith creates a historic tale about Native Americans and the arrival of Hernando de Soto. From the opening dream, Mr. Smith drew me into the story of Manaha, "Mother-of-None." In that dream, she is charged to "Give your stories to the ones who have not heard. Become the storyteller your people need."

    The narrative is about the recollections of an old Native American woman and the stories she heard from Taninto whom she called "grandfather," the man who raised her. Her vo
    Oct 16, 2015 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Hernando DeSoto and his band of conquistadors were the first to cross the Mississippi and conquer the ancient people of Arkansas. Three 16th century journals documented their travels and battles.

    A hundred years have passed and the stories revolving around these bloody encounters have all but vanished - but one old woman, one of the last surviving storytellers able to relate eyewitness stories of the bloodshed, defies native custom to tell youngsters around the campfire what really happened - an
    Jim Fromm
    Feb 21, 2014 Jim Fromm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    A story well told.

    As I was reading this, I found myself thinking in simplistic terms, welcoming the sunrise, cupping beautiful blooms in my hands. and discovering a potpourri of suburban aromas I had never noticed before. I wonder what life in the western hemisphere would look like if the natural simplicity could have been nurtured and appreciated without the greed or the self righteous Christian mandate. Could we be living as gently on our land? The Spanish, with all their arrogant and evil, we
    Cindy Watkins
    Jan 11, 2016 Cindy Watkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    As a lover of the mountains and creeks/rivers of Arkansas, I could easily visualize the locations written of in this book. While this is a work of historical fiction, The history of the Indians who lived here in the 1500's was fascinating to me. I enjoyed this book tremendously. I loved the spirituality of the Indians and their knowledge of living off the land in harmony with nature. I found so many endearing reminders of the value of our stories, of our histories, families, genealogy, and the n ...more
    David Duncan
    Jul 11, 2016 David Duncan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Recommends it for: HIGH SCHOOL THRU ADULTS
    Recommended to David by: GOODREADS
    Shelves: first-reads
    Storykeeper, by Daniel A. Smith, is my one hundred fifty-fifth book that I have received and read from Goodreads. I thought the author did a great job of showing us some Native American History.
    This story takes place in the mid 16th century in the state of Arkansas. I really enjoyed reading about Hernando DeSoto and his conquistadors, they were the first to cross the Mississippi and conquer the Indian people of Arkansas the Casqui and Pacaha people.
    The author tells the story of how the lives of
    Oct 09, 2015 Macpudel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
    This book feels like the writer learned about the Spanish invasion of the Midwest Native America and wanted to share the story in the form of a novel. The story is told by an old woman recounting the experiences of her guardian to a young boy of her adopted tribe. The only character you get a feeling for is the guardian, the first person witness to the invasion. The other characters are basically ciphers, even the old woman whom we meet as a young girl in one of the three timelines of this book. ...more
    Sep 02, 2013 Gail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    It's mid-16th century in what is now Arkansas. This book is a story within a story within a story. In the oral history tradition of the Native Americans, Manaha passes down stories surrounding the arrival of conquistador Hernandez de Soto and the fate of the Casqui and Pa-caha peoples.

    Favorite quotes:
    "Walk with pride, but always step with respect." (p110)
    "Do not lose your life to the fury of war nor your soul to its glory." (p230)

    "A man without a story is one without a past, and man without a p
    Nov 18, 2012 Ian rated it really liked it
    This is the story of how the lives of the native Americans of the Nine Rivers valley were changed by the arrival of the Spanish. It's told in three concurrent threads the first being that of an old woman, the last of her people, living under sufferance with another tribe. She keeps alive the memory of her own people by the oral tradition of story telling.

    By means of these stories we get the second thread, the woman's life as a young girl with her adopted grandfather. The third thread, a story wi
    Kathy Davie
    Aug 16, 2012 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: history, homey
    eBook: 4869
    Publisher: Daniel A. Smith
    Review source: Daniel A. Smith
    Rating: 5
    Reviewed by: Kathy Davie

    I'm hoping this is the first in a Nine-Rivers Valley historical fiction series about the power of memory.

    My Take
    I love how Smith brought the Spanish invasion of the Americas to life through his use of Manaha and her storytelling. He held my attention throughout as he flashed back and forth from Manaha's childhood to her older life using Manaha as the vehicle to tease us into wanting to know what
    Arkansas Book Reviewer
    The Hachia people, one of the last surviving tribes of the ancient nations of the Nine-Rivers, do not speak of the history, the disgrace, that took away their strength, leaving them weak and hiding, now, at the foothills in the Mountains of the Ozarks of Arkansas. Despite this, Manaha, Mother of None, receiving a dream that renders her arm useless, and in which she is told to share her stories in order that her arm may be restored, goes before the council proclaiming her wish to do so at the vil ...more
    Dawn Edwards
    Nov 16, 2012 Dawn Edwards rated it really liked it
    Terrific Historical Novel about a Little-Known bit of our Country's Discovery and Conquest Mr. Smith has written a fantastic tale from the Native American point of view about the conquest of the New World by Hernando DeSoto. He has done impeccable research on this topic, and through this novel has made that period in our history come alive for me. Prior to reading this book, I had only a passing and shallow knowledge of the conquering of the area where I was actually born. As I read from one sto ...more
    Sep 25, 2012 Reynard rated it it was ok
    Goodread's first-read giveaway.

    Rating: 2/5

    The book has interesting concept, emphasizing the importance of stories/history, so that people know their past and prepare them for the future. The language is promisingly descriptive, yet perhaps not making enough echo to me.

    Having said that, the pace of the stories seems repetitive and predictable, even somewhat irritating to me whenever it comes to "I, ..., shall tell a story." Maybe that is the way N.A. Indians converse, their formality/ritual, and
    May 02, 2015 Michelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction, early North American history, Native American culture and storytelling
    This was an interesting glimpse into a time period that I know very little about: North American native culture during the invasion of Hernando de Soto and the Conquistadors. The book is in the form of a story within a story within a story, mostly in the voice of the storyteller Manaha, who, in relating the story of her life, also passes on those told to her by her grandfather. It is beautifully descriptive of the land at that time and the now-extinct civilization that inhabited it. I really enj ...more
    Gordon Howard
    May 12, 2013 Gordon Howard rated it really liked it
    In 1514 Hernando De Soto lead a Spanish army on an expedition through Arkansas. This historically accurate account of the impact on the local native Americans is anything but dry. The story is told told through three separate timelines. Taninto is a young indian living in Casqui, an indian village along the Mississippi river. He lived through the arrival of Hernando's army and followed it through its exploration for several years. The second timeline commences when Taninto discovers a young girl ...more
    Mar 17, 2014 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    The story of Native American tribes when the Spanish were conquering the land that would become the United States, this was an interesting tale. It involves three generations of two people who believed in the importance of passing along stories to maintain the family history. The stories were set in three different time frames which kept the novel from lagging. It was a good book, and might spark someone to record and save his or her own family stories and history.
    Hans Doreleyers
    Mar 29, 2014 Hans Doreleyers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    A Tremendous story, well told

    I loved this story! It narrates the lives of natives between the Mississippi and Arkansaw rivers on three separate story lines. The language is beautifully simple, its message brutal and harsh: The brutality of the Spanish conquistadors only exceeded by their zealous conviction that all was to the glory of their god. A must read!
    sherry beth
    Sep 22, 2014 sherry beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Excellent Story

    This is such an interesting book. Being a tale of historic fiction, reading it helps bring us back to a time when the first white explorers came to America. The cruelty that was inflicted is heartbreaking. It was a story about a story, stretching back in time and then to the future as the stories will continue to be told.
    Sep 07, 2014 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Very moving book. A nice treatment of the consequences of the Spanish invasion for the Native Americans. The language was beautiful and created a sense of being in that time and place. I cannot help feeling that the loss of Native American history and culture is a loss for all humanity.
    Sep 29, 2012 Diane rated it it was amazing
    I was particularly interested in this book since I had just finished researching the prehistoric Mississippian culture for an article I was writing.

    Storykeeper is a story that tells what happened to the people of the mounds after Hernando de Soto and his army of conquistadors trampled through the land bringing disease, war, and a new religion. One hundred years later, a woman of a tribe steps forward to demand that the stories about their heritage be told. Thus, she becomes the Storykeeper.

    I fe
    Jun 04, 2014 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: kindle-free
    I don't have enough historical background to verify with certainty the accuracy of this tale, but it felt believable, which is often more important to the reader than complete accuracy. A very sad and moving book.
    Jul 07, 2015 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Fascinating read

    Enjoyed learning about early Native American lifestyle, and how important the storytelling was. Intrigued by the "story stick". A well told story, nicely woven together.
    Apr 28, 2014 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Very interesting to read about the civilizations in America before the coming of Europeans. I'd really like to read Hernan DeSoto's journals, from which this story was taken and embellished.
    Oct 27, 2014 Marianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Storyteller flows gently like a river bending and turning from one story teller to the next. What a beautiful way to tell a brutal history.
    Kim hansen
    Dec 01, 2015 Kim hansen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    well written story thru the eyes of native americans.
    Oct 12, 2015 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: 2015, ebook
    Was the location the area of present day Arkansas or not?
    Faith Justice
    Dec 23, 2015 Faith Justice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: ebook
    I wanted more! The only fault I found with this book? It could have had a couple more chapters to round out the lives of the two main storytellers. Other than that, I loved the movement back and forth in time, the complex multiple story lines contrasting the native life pre and post Spanish invasion, the rich cultural detail, and the storytelling "voice." Well researched. Well written. Well done.
    "Quote I like: I have come to understand that stories must be passed down or those that follow will lose their place in the world and the guidance of knowledge gathered through many lifetimes.

    Son of the Sun to come from the East from across the Great Waters

    The native Americans requested the promised sign from the Son of Suns

    This book is a keeper."
    Jul 14, 2015 Em rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: could-not-finish
    I wanted to like this as the premise is so intriguing but the writing put me to sleep. It wasn't engaging or entertaining or even challenging (in a good way). This book just turned into a struggle to read and I so rarely quit books...but I couldn't finish this, after about 60%.
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    Daniel grew up in Arkansas. In his youth, he worked for his father, riding in an old Studebaker pick-up around the state servicing refrigeration units in tourist courts and small country stores. Years later, Daniel traveled some of those same back roads for his own business, repairing and installing sound systems.

    For the first time, he began to notice the amazing number of ancient earthworks that
    More about Daniel A. Smith...

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