Stephen Gallup's Reviews > Calling Crow: Book One of the Southeast Series

Calling Crow by Paul Clayton
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it was amazing

Author Paul Clayton has written presumably autobiographical fiction about the war in Vietnam as well as his own brand of insightful urban fantasy about modern American life. But another favorite subject for him is the interface between Europeans and Native Americans along the southeast coast in the sixteenth century. My first exposure to his work was White Seed , which concerns the lost colony at Roanoke. Calling Crow is set in that era, just a few hundred miles to the south. These days, most of my consumption of books involves audio productions, and for this one I am indebted to the generosity of narrator Kevin Arthur Harper (who incidentally also produced the audio version of my own book).

Calling Crow is just entering manhood as a prominent member of a tribe living in an area that would later be known as South Carolina. He has disturbing dreams or visions of the coming arrival of a faceless "Destroyer," and he's also concerned by glimpses of mysterious "cloud boats" that occasionally appear at some distance out on the ocean. Could the two things be linked? He decides to find out.

He learns, to his chagrin, that the cloud boats are manned by mostly-evil people from the other side of the water--people who spread fatal diseases and who take Calling Crow and others like him as slaves to toil on an island in the Caribbean. But which of them is the dreaded Destroyer?

Having been abducted away from his tribe and from the young bride he had just selected, Calling Crow swallows his rage and stays alive by learning the language of his hated captors and forming relationships, notably with a saintly priest and with a woman who schools him in the art of compromise.

But then an opportunity arises to return to the mainland, and just possibly even to escape and resume the life he'd once known. Does that life still exist? What of this new woman, whom he has learned to love, and who appears to be comfortable among the Spaniards? Calling Crow begins to face far more choices than he had imagined possible. And again, where is the Destroyer lurking?

As when reading White Seed, I wondered about the accuracy of the portrayals. That's probably impossible to gauge, but the characters are plausible and that has to be enough. It's a memorable story, about a slice of time that has attracted relatively little attention in historical fiction. I look forward to reading or hearing the sequel!
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
December 30, 2015 – Finished Reading
December 31, 2015 – Shelved

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