I debated on how to rate this book. I didn’t find it as compelling as the other “People” books, as I call the Gear’s main series. (The series was call...moreI debated on how to rate this book. I didn’t find it as compelling as the other “People” books, as I call the Gear’s main series. (The series was called: First North Americans, around the 12th book the series was titled North America's Forgotten Past) Their books are always based in archaeology and history as much as possible at the time of their research and writing. The “People” series tends to follow a pattern in the writing style, often switching between many points-of-view, have a Spirit being as one of the voices, and often even having some mystery-type element. Due to the number of characters there isn’t any depth of development, but it’s a fun read with some history thrown in. Usually a quick read as they are entertaining. I mention this as a comparison….
Back to this current book, the new series; the expectation is more of the same, with some slight changes. And that’s mostly what I found. In the introduction the Gear’s state they have often been asked to write post-contact books but had been reluctant. I think that reticence is found in this first book. They changed the style slightly, now there were only two points-of-view, really one main one, but it was weak. There were some stumbling points along the way. The first person POV didn’t feel like their strong writing style. I found that I was not rushing through this book as quickly as the other novels. I didn’t enjoy it as much. And then there’s the violence, certainly that time period for the Native People’s encountering the Spanish was not pleasant, but the scenes were gruesome. I felt at times this book was slanted, with a determined point to make. The Spaniards never once have a redeeming quality. The converted Indios don’t act with any remorse or conflict. Some of these parts are hard to completely accept. You have stereotypes and one-sidedness that makes for a weaker novel.
So how to rate the book…well as you saw first off I did give this a three. I took off a star for the writing weakness, and almost another for the stereotypes, but then with my previous experience reading the Gears I knew what I was getting into (lacking character depth). So then I asked myself would I read the next book, and well, I have to say yes, so that moves it back up a point. This book certainly does set up for a series of the same character leading an opposition to the white man invasion to the land. We all know how the story ends, how it goes, and that is one reason why the Gear’s were reluctant to give this time period a treatment. I just hope with the next book they good more into the writing and gave it their best. (less)
Set in modern day, farm country, near Wyoming. Cody is the main character. His half-brother, Arthur, and half-sister, Kya, all had different mothers....moreSet in modern day, farm country, near Wyoming. Cody is the main character. His half-brother, Arthur, and half-sister, Kya, all had different mothers. Their father just died and left the farm in all three names, in order for them to get along.
Cody works hard, drinks a lot, and is quiet and moody. Arthur is a businessman, almost snobbish. They hate each other. Kya is wild, has sex with many men, most married. She is almost a mediator between them. Cody falls in love with an older woman, Latta. Of course it wasn't simple, they part, Latta thinking Cody stole her prized horse and walked out, which wasn’t true.
Native Americans play a prominent role in this story, Kya and Latta are half natives, as well as Cody's friend being full, and so racism towards natives is addressed.
The viewpoint shifted quite often, sometimes even in the same paragraph. Occasionally it was a smooth shift, other times jarring. The prose is sometimes quite beautiful, although in the beginning it was difficult to get involved in reading. The writing felt forced too often.
There are many layers in the book; Family, love, roles of men and women, religion. Overall it is a good book. Definitely worth reading about these strange people in the sand hills.