From Publishers Weekly
Set in prehistoric northeastern Louisiana, this richly imagined 11th entry in the Gears' First North Americans series follows a juvenile warrior as he struggles to mature in time to save his Clan from annihilation. Free-spirited, vision-seeing 15-year-old Mud Puppy has no interest in power, but when his much-admired older brother, White Bird, is struck by lightning and killed (an event that Mud Puppy foresaw), he is next in line to be the Speaker for the Owl Clan. Christened Salamander at an immediate initiation-to-manhood ceremony, he sets out to defend and honor his family, always aware of the warring spirits Masked Owl (good) and Many Colored Crow (evil) who guide his path. Uncertainty, clumsiness and a reputation as an idiot in the village are hurdles in Salamander's quest for greatness and power, as are the three fierce women he marries. Pine Drop, Night Rain and finally Anhinga are persuaded to betray him by relatives who have axes to grind with the Owl Clan. Skirting deadly assassins at every turn and handling his wives preoccupies Salamander, but he's smarter than anyone anticipated and triumphs in the story's political, witch-hunting conclusion. Propelled by the Gears' spry storytelling, this sturdy epic skillfully navigates the ancient swamplands of Louisiana, with their lapping brown waters, hanging vines and brooding skies.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In the tradition of Jean Auel (Clan of the Cave Bear)
, the authors Gear offer another installment in their very popular First North Americans series, which takes readers on a richly detailed trip back to prehistoric times. The series began with People of the Wolf
(1990), and now, in the latest volume, the Gears reconstruct life as led by the aboriginal inhabitants of Poverty Point in what is now Louisiana--and which was, as a matter of interesting fact, North America's first true city, founded 12 centuries before the birth of Christ. This settlement served as the center of a vast trading empire in the Mississippi Valley. The main character here is the warrior and shaman called Salamander, whose life and exploits we follow through every twist and turn. (Any reader who imagines that violence was not an everyday part of existence back then will soon realize the folly of such an idea.) The major calling card of these sprawling prehistoric epics is not to cozy up to characters contemporary readers can identify with but to provide fascinating information on the customs of past times. The Gears' novels are, indeed, lessons in life past, and all the facts they marshal are well integrated into a smoothly flowing story line. Expect considerable demand. Brad HooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved