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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  458 ratings  ·  72 reviews
“A stunning novel and a joy to read” Helen Hollick, Managing Editor - Historical Novel Society (Editor’s Choice)
“Smith writes fluidly, and the society he depicts is intriguingly complex.” - Kirkus Reviews
“Steeped in immediacy and vivid detail.” D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer - Midwest Book Review

The first recorded Europeans to cross the Mississippi River reached the
Paperback, Second Edition, 352 pages
Published April 15th 2013 by CreateSpace (first published March 4th 2012)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  458 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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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
Glen Stott
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, history
I imagined from the description that this would be focused more on history than it turned out. It is three stories or more aptly called journeys. One is the story of Tatianto, an Indian brave who is a teenager at the time Hernando DeSoto and his Spanish army traveled through the Ozarks looking for gold and silver. The major historical source comes from DeSoto’s reports of the mission. The second story is of an Indian girl just reaching puberty. Tatianto saved her from small pox as small child ...more
After reading a little of this I realized that it was familiar because I had visited Parkin Archaeological State Park in Arkansas last year where Casqui was supposed to have been. Interesting little story though very repetitive and I feel like I missed something in Manaha/Nanza's life story. Maybe there will be a sequel? Warning: deSoto keeps vicious dogs which he uses to attack and kill captors.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too Much Poetry

Beautiful writing, too much description of scenery and back and forth story tellers, made this a bit boring for me.
This is a novel about the Indians in the area of the Mississippi River area at the time Desoto invaded it for Spain. I would give it a 3.5. It jumped around in time which is OK but dragged in parts.
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very good. Sad story illustrating the near extinction of native tribes by the Spanish all in the name of the hunt for gold.
Bob Pearson
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a good book. It follows a historical narrative we would expect from a 16th century encounter in North America between a European military/religious expedition and native peoples. We believe we have a good picture now of the extent to which European diseases decimated the Indian peoples and culture, in some cases years before the actual Europeans appeared. We know the brutality of the actual European encounters with native peoples. This history is a tragedy of epic proportions and one ...more
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and Heartbreaking

I love historical fiction but seldom read stories of America, particularly those about the westward push of the "pioneers" who believed they had a right exploit everything the encountered. I too often find myself deploring their actions.

This beautifully told story brought to life stories of great pre-Europe civilizations in Eastern mountains and plains of what is now the United States. The Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto discovered and began the destruction of
Dean McIntyre
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
STORYKEEPER by Daniel A. Smith is my first 5-star rating of the year. In elementary school, I learned about Hernando De Soto as a Spanish explorer of the American southwest. Within a broader context of exploration, the author also shows him as conqueror, thief, despot, bringer of fatal disease, torturer, and brutal practitioner of genocide for the sake of claiming land and riches for the Spanish King. The fictional story is told in multiple timelines, all during the 16th century. But throughout ...more
Ann Ramsey
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Painful history

It took a few days of reading this to understand the leaping back and forth of the generations of storytellers, but once I understood the authors technique I was fascinated by this richly detailed story based on actual records from De Soto’s expedition. It is long but well worth reading if one is interested in the first people who lived in what we know as the southern United States and the terrible consequences of European exploration.
Beth McGee
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Conflicting emotions

This tale of days long ago is filled with wisdom and sacrifice. The storykeeper is written from the perspective of an ancient profession that allowed history to be shared with future generations and that continues today in the modern form of historians and other writers and orators. The story, while realistic, is full of conflicting emotions - sad but beautiful, lonely but fulfilling, and shameful but proud. Great story and well written.
Margaret Staggs
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Beautiful book! It is full of history and celebration of the Mississippian Culture of the Mound Builders. It helps to acquire more knowledge of that long ago time. I recommend it highly. Also Thank you for the beautiful bonus story!
Rolanda Parkin
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great reading!

I enjoyed this as a historical novel that enlightened me about the Spanish invaders. I am sadden when I realize that so many difficulties were caused to the native people. This is unfortunate in most historical renditions!
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very Good

The format as well as the story itself kept me reading and reading. It is of course fiction, but the nonfiction presented in the book was incredibly woven into the stories. I throughly enjoyed this book
Laura Litton
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Multigenerational Saga

Well-written adventure of pride, longing, fear, and revenge. The gentle weaving among three separate generations keeps each aspect of the story fresh and timely.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A riveting read

I could not put this book down. It made me cry and grieve. The details and the legends kept me wanting to learn more. Than you for this story .
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting and well researched. Telling the story of de Soto the genocidal bastard in a way I've never heard it before.
Jane Spears
A different story but good

Good story. Is it indian origin and when Spaniards came to United States. It revoles around several primary characters a good story.
Catherine Nightlinger

This book has a unique fictional take on native American history that is interesting and entertaining. Well worth reading for all ages.
Dan A. Foster

Nice tale that was written in a clean, easy style. I enjoyed the multiple stories that made up the overall story.
Aug 11, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
An Old Tale

While the storyline had lots of action, it became lost in the voice of the main character which was aged and thus slow.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read

Good read for teens. I just could not get into the story. The characters seemed to be interesting. Good read.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply wonderful story of stories within stories. Sad, uplifting and superbly written, Storykeeper brings to life, and death, our history that should be taught in school
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly moving story! I was engaged from the very beginning.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
While the premise that all cultures need to pass down their stories is very important, the book itself is slow and vague.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Quick read, couldn't put it down. Carquis Tribe 1541. Great descriptions people, fauna, mountains, rivers. Travails of living, family hierarchy of the time.
James N Fulton, Jr.
I tried to get into this book

This was fiction about early Indians and spirits and such. It is not a subject that I am interested in.
Kathy Davie
Aug 16, 2012 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
Cindy Cobleigh
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Told from several different perspectives, it relates the conquering of the Native people of what is now Arkansas by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and the affect of destruction across generations. I was not very knowledgeable about this time in history. Paramount throughout the novel is the importance of the storytellers in preserving the knowledge of the Native people.
Oct 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 -
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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
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