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People of the Lakes (North America's Forgotten Past #6)

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4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  1,858 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Clan fighting over a powerful totemic mask has brought the Mound Builder people of the Great Lakes region to the edge of destruction. It is up to Star Shell, daughter of a Hopewell chief, to rid her people of this curse. Along with her companions: Otter, a trader; Pearl, a runaway; and Green Spider, either prophet or madman, she braves the stormy waters of the lakes to rea ...more
Paperback, 816 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Tor Books (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

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Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
I know the First North Americans books claim to be a series, but they're all standalone books placed in different time periods, with different tribes and obviously different characters. This was the first of the 4 or so that I've read, and hands down the best.

This book has many similarities with fantasy, which I enjoy: one of the main characters, Star Shell, goes on a quest to destroy an evil totemic mask, and along the way meets up with some others who are also in desperate straits; there's a
...more
Paige Comston
I've read The People of the Lakes twice, and it was just as wholesome and fulfilling this last time as it was the first. It is probably my favorite book in the series because it has everything you could want from a novel. The realistic characters were still alive long after I closed the book. Each main character had a core element that I could identify with and I was equally drawn to them all. The lesser characters were developed and easily related to, even if they were only around for a chapter ...more
Adam Sprague
I can't remember frantically reading thru the last 150 pages of a book like this before. It was very well written and the book does an amazing job of putting you right into the story. I didn't realize how attatched I was to the characters until they started to get into risky situations and started saying they were going to sacrifice themselves for the lives of the others. I think in spots it got a bit repetitive, but looking back I think a lot of people run the same important thoughts through th ...more
Vali
This book is almost like a First Americans Lord of the Rings. And Black Skull has become one of my favorite literary characters.
Rog
Mar 05, 2013 Rog rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 20+ years of age
I liked this "People of the Lakes" story more than several other, earlier North America's Forgotten Past series books. The Gears offer a lengthy, and exquisitely interesting voyage around our pre-Columbian Mississippi, Ohio River Valleys and Great Lakes regions. The main characters are interesting and diverse. I also really like how Black Skull matures through the story and how Green Spider is a friendly antagonist for Black Skull as part of his changing character. Star Shell and the haunted mas ...more
Judy A
Stepping back into the time when journeys were measured by moons, I really felt that I had stepped into a life that was also very new. Often I find the essential elements of the history can be understood through fiction. In People of the Lakes, based on the struggles and success of those native to the Great Lakes, the events become personalized and memorable. Very rich creativity and content, such as wondering whether going backwards toward the light meant turning one's back on the Darkness, del ...more
Stacy Genobles
Too much exposition, inconsistent tone. I could have done without the modern day prologue about a bunch of academics debating whether to leave the site intact or build over it.

The story didn't feel authentic to me at all. The authors hardly used any Native terms or customs, everything is Americanized or modernized.

Are we really to believe that the same guy who told simply phrased legends about Many Colored Crow would also use words like "proclivity" to describe a companion's habits? Or that all
...more
Melissa
The First North Americans is a series that is written by the husband and wife team of the Gears. I have to say that this sixth book is probably my favorite out of all the books that I've read so far. You don't really have to read them in order though, they take place in various places of history and bounce all around.

There are two different parties off on an adventure in this book. The first is a Trader, Otter, who is heartbroken and ready to be away from home, Black Skull, a great warrior who
...more
Jill Lucero
I read all the books in this series and loved them all. The book offers a peek into an entirely different life and times of people in North America. It offers extensive research and detail on Native American tribes without getting weighty. It is a perfect mix of education, romance, suspense, and the spiritual world. Definitely worth the read.
E Anders
I love this series, but I have to admit this one started very, very slow for me. I stuck with it since I like the authors so much, and I'm glad I did. This book had some parts where I was laughing out loud, and I really grew to love some of the characters in here.
Julie
This was the best of the Gear's books yet (to me), perhaps because I grew up in the Niagara Falls area. Of course, the falls was not the same 2000 - 1500 years ago as it is today. The falls was considerably closer to Lake Ontario then. The island that separated the two falls was considerably longer, but I had seen images of what it probably looked like then, so I knew the danger they were in as they approached the falls. I also knew the danger they were in as they headed out into the middle of L ...more
Iyrytish
I love it. A book about the tribes of the Mississippi River and their lives. I recommend to anyone wishing to get a better understanding of America past and the people who came before.
Theresa
People of the Lakes (North America's Forgotten Past, #6)
Gear, W. Michael
Gear, Kathleen O'neal

The Mask of Many Colored Crow has been causing problems, although used to balance the world in in history the mask has developed its own identity. It begins to disrupt the world. The focus of power it has become has made men go mad. Mica Bird the last owner has murdered tortured and killed him because of the influence of the mask. Star Shell his wife is afraid; she wants to protect her young daughter Si
...more
Mary Ruth
It takes forever for this story to actually start...like 325 pages of forever, before the two main groups of characters set out on their parallel"quests". While I did warm to some of the characters after many a chapter, I found the slogging pace of the story frustrating and the ending left me feeling like I'd just watched the last season of LOST again. Being as the authors (husband and wife) are both archaeologists specializing in Native American sites, they try (too hard) to bring authenticity ...more
Katie Rhodig
Once again the spiral has shifted and the balance of power has tilted. The influence of the mask of Many Colored Crow has caused the current owner, Mica Bird to destroy the life around him as well as take his own life. His stunningly beautiful wife, Star Shell is terrified of the mask’s power and for her daughter, and secretly leaves on a mission to destroy the mask in the waters of Niagara Falls. With the help of the High Head Elder, Tall Man, a dwarf, they embark on the trip to destroy the mas ...more
Lisa
I love the People series of books written by the Gears.....each book takes you back and.gives you a glimpse into how life was in that time period. I am always looking for new titles from them.
Dibbs0529
This was a really good book, full of values and different Indian life-style's. Really interesting, suggest for all people! It was like 800 pages long so have fun.
Susie Creamcheese
the longest and favorite of the people of the wolf series
didn't want it to end
Carol Storm
I really enjoyed this book because I always wanted to learn more about the Mound Builders and other ancient Native American civilizations. These authors have written a whole series about ancient America, going all the way from the Ice Age to 1200 A.D. or so.

Four characters go on a quest, but each one is a typical Native American of the time. There's Black Skull, the classic warrior, Otter, the sophisticated trader, Green Spider, the Medicine Man/Contrary and then there's . . . the girl. She's a
...more
Michèle
The story, colorful characters and settings were so good, so attuned to what I love in a novel that I was mourning this book after I finished it. Sniff!





The _only_ thing that doesn't work well with me is the cover. The illustration has nothing to do with the main characters (you don't see either Black Skull, the conflicted warrior who undergo striking changes over the story, nor the little girl, even if the woman could be Star Shell) The two men look alike enough to be Otter and his twin at the b
...more
Theresa
This is a long book so I put it off for awhile but I finally finished it and liked it there was some extraneous details but most of it was the convoluted story of two sets of people coming from different directions. Each set is of two groups one chasing the other. The first trying to get to the great water to destroy the mask while other seeks to catch the first and stop them. Finally the four groups meet at the end and we see all the pieces fall into place in a satisfying conclusion.
Jasmine Parisian
I first read this book in grade 7, I love it! However after reading two other of the authors similar books, and majoring in Indigenous Studies in University.

These books clearly become unrealistic, and the roles of the characters become similar in the series.

Also being Indigenous myself I realize how much of these books lack in real Indigenous humor, and our real lifestyles. It is more like a Disney Pocahontas style of writing about Indigenous people. Outside looking in.
Andrew
Fantastic adventure story. The crew, Otter, BlackSkull, etc., work as a great team. I also really enjoyed the 'trading' theme of the novel: Otter is a Native trader who trades various items with villages as he passes by them on the river. Shells, furs, teeth, black flint-like stone, etc, are traded. Informative as it is based on North American Native history, as well as an entertaining and thrilling adventure story.
Brandi
I am a fan of the Gears' books, but "People of the Lakes" has got to be my favorite. I love their writing style and their incorporation of historical elements into fictional works. There is a bit more humor in this book than many of their subsequent and previous works, and overall, I found the characters in this book to be more likable than some of the others. I could definitely re-read this one.
Jessica
I really enjoyed this book. The authors weave together a complex and enthralling narrative surrounding four+ different groups of individuals. Although the book is long, it goes by rather quickly. The only part I found disappointing was the end. I felt that after having followed these characters for 700 pages the end could have been a bit more exciting and conclusive. Still an excellent read though.
Jean
Good book. I enjoyed the history of the native tribes, their customs, traditions, beliefs, villages - all of it. Some of it gruesome but that's the way it was. Great story of several characters running all through the book and all going to the same destination in the end.
April
this is one of my favorite books by the Gears. its engaging and is hard to put down once you've started. I think I've re-read it so much that the book itself is falling apart. The Gears have an impeccable way of bringing to life the Native American cultures of North America, and this book painted a picture as vivid as if you were there in their shoes.I would recommend this to anyone.
Erin
Other than book 1 this is my favorite book in the series.
Doug
There are many books in this First North Americans series, or as I call it, the "People of" series. Most are good; entertaining and informative. This is probably the best of the lot, so far. You get a great story while being thrust back into the Great Lakes region of hundreds of years ago, well before Europeans arrived on the scene.
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W. Michael Gear was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on the twentieth of May, 1955. A fourth generation Colorado native, his family had been involved in hard-rock mining, cattle ranching, and journalism. After his father's death in 1959, Michael's mother received her Master's degree in journalism and began teaching. In 1962 she married Joseph J. Cook, who taught tool and die making, and the fam ...more
More about W. Michael Gear...

Other Books in the Series

North America's Forgotten Past (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • People of the Wolf (North America's Forgotten Past, #1)
  • People of the Fire (North America's Forgotten Past, #2)
  • People of the Earth (North America's Forgotten Past, #3)
  • People of the River (North America's Forgotten Past, #4)
  • People of the Sea (North America's Forgotten Past, #5)
  • People of the Lightning (North America's Forgotten Past, #7)
  • People of the Silence (North America's Forgotten Past, #8)
  • People of the Mist (North America's Forgotten Past, #9)
  • People of the Masks (North America's Forgotten Past, #10)
  • People of the Owl (North America's Forgotten Past, #11)
People of the Fire (North America's Forgotten Past, #2) People of the Wolf (North America's Forgotten Past, #1) People of the Earth (North America's Forgotten Past, #3) People of the River (North America's Forgotten Past, #4) People of the Sea (North America's Forgotten Past, #5)

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