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

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  2,415 Ratings  ·  70 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
Mass Market Paperback, 816 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Tor Books (first published 1992)
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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
Jun 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Carol Storm
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.

This story is set around 800 A.D. which is about 400 years before the spectacular achievements of the Cahokia settlement in Missouri. There's "foreshadowing" of that because the girl in the story has a bag of corn seeds that she ultimately ca
Mar 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was my first read by the Gears. It is by far the BEST book of the series! I recommend this as the jumping off point for the PEOPLE OF series by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear. This is action packed, suspensful, and 100% rewarding. You'll want to read it again and again and again. :D
Adam Sprague
Aug 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-books
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
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is almost like a First Americans Lord of the Rings. And Black Skull has become one of my favorite literary characters.
Katie Rhodig
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Mary Ruth
Sep 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
It takes forever for this story to actually 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
Mar 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
J.M. Northup
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another Thought-provoking Novel by the Amazing Gears!
This book in the series is one that had a deeper impact on me. The haunting elements from the tale still provoke deep thought.
Tallman, the dwarf magician of the High head society, is such an intriguing character. Most of the time, I cannot tell if I like him or hate him. Either way, he fascinates me. The false dreamer in the book is an accurate depiction of the corruption of power and it evokes a lot of emotion. There is a lot of humanity in t
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jill Lucero
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Noella  Van Looy
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dit was weer een fantastisch boek van W. Michael Gear, ik hou van al zijn boeken. Het volk van de meren vertelt het verhaal van verschillende groepjes mensen, prehistorische Noord-Amerikanen. Groene Spin, een Dromer en een Tegengestelde, heeft een visioen gekregen over het Masker van Veelkleurige Kraai, dat veel Macht bezit. Hij moet het gaan zoeken aan het Bulderende Water (de Niagara waterval). Samen met Zwarte Schedel, een Krijger, en de oudsten van hun clan, gaan ze op zoek naar de Handelaar ...more
Herman Padilla
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: native-american
You can never go wrong reading one of the Gear books, I enjoyed this very much the humor of the interplay between the warrior and the contrary was one of those special times when two characters just come alive and I was just loving every moment of their back and forth. I also love the attention to detail (didn't know catus acid could eat a sea shell)now-a-days when social media shows a picture of a pay phone and asks do you know what this is? then to read something that places the reader into th ...more
Michael Laflamme
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
With each book in this series, the Gears manage to surprise. Readers will surely never think of our, "primitive," forebears the same way again. Life in full exposure to the elements is a challenge all by itself, but human nature adds complexity to an already dicey situation. 'Lakes' contains some of the best scenes of the series to date. Vibrant writing about the families of our collective past.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Exciting page turner. Great historical information about the prehistoric people of the North American continent. The characters are well developed, which helps the reader get involved in their story.
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review
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
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love all of W. Michael and Kathleen's books!
Stacy Genobles
Oct 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Tricia Riley
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really like these authors and I have read a number of books in this series. This book is a hefty 788 pages long but I couldn't put the book down. It has been a while since I have pulled an "all-nighter" reading and I found myself still reading when the sun came up.

The story is a good one. Two groups of people on separate paths to the same place. Along the way each discovers something about themselves - some good, some bad. Because the authors are archaeologists they take what they know about t
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jasmine Parisian
Feb 21, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
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My professional life began in the dark basement of the Museum of Cultural History in Los Angeles, where I was cataloguing three-hundred-year-old Guatemalan saint carvings. I quit this fascinating job and moved to Wyoming to work for the U.S. Department of the Interior as a historian and archaeologist. When I finally understood the error of my ways I moved to Wyoming and started writing books. Sinc ...more
More about Kathleen O'Neal Gear...

Other Books in the Series

North America's Forgotten Past (1 - 10 of 24 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)

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