The Dawn Country: The Review

book1The Dawn Country; Michael & Kathleen O’Neal Gear, 2011; Tom Dougherty Associates LLC.

The Dawn Country (book number two out of four in the People of the Longhouse series) picks up where our not so fine feathered friends, War Chief Karocco, her defunct/ex-husband/Deputy Gonda and their recently acquired enemy-friends Akio, Sindakm, Cord and healer/killer Wakdanek are now on the last desperate leg of their attempt to rescue the rest of the missing children and avenge the death of those that the Trader Gannajero either sold to pedophiles or killed because they refused to perform (I warned you in my last review…Guaranteed to bunch up undies…so don’t wear a ‘thong’… just saying.).


Yet…our heroes of this second book are not who you think and by the time you turn the last page, I guarantee you that you’ll be standing in the middle of the room, shaking your fist at imaginary people yelling, “Your damn right”.

My only criticism about this second novel is that Gear and Gear didn’t develop Koracco and Gonda’s new friends as well in this second novel, as they did in the first. Which is a shame really, because in my not so humble opinion, several of their add-in were worth developing. Which in meant the second book, for me, was  a little light on character…which as you know, I think is the best part of any well told story.

Still in all, it was still a really good story and as I mentioned in my review on the People of the Longhouse, laid a good foundation for books three and four, which tell the rest of the story of how the Iroquoian nation was formed and  democracy was born.

On a reader’s scale of 1-5 stars, I’m giving The Dawn Country 3.5 for good story, and 3 for not developing the new characters better.

To read my other reviews on books written by these authors click on – Michael & Kathleen O’Neal Gear or go to my Goodreads.

People of the Longhouse: The Review

People of the Longhouse; W. Michael, Kathleen O’Neal Gear, 2010; Tom Dougherty Associates, LLC.people-longhouse

Once again husband wife team Gear & Gear take their reader’s back to pre-invasion America  1400-1500 AD, to bring light into dark places and revelation to the unacknowledged foundations of democracy and these here United States.  Beginning with ‘People of the Longhouse’ (book one of four), team Gear begin laying the historical ground work for why east coast NA (particularly the Iroquoian) began the sociological shift from small communities to larger villages called ‘palisades’ (defensible forts) which ultimately led to the formation of the Iroquoian Nation and the establishment of democracy (an idea our Anglo-American history books forgot to mention did not originate with the first colonists).

With this shift in society came things like food shortages, increased violence and war parties whose sole purpose was to steal food and people – namely to replace the woman and children lost when another tribe raided them to steal food and people – namely to replace…you get the picture. A giant snowball effect of I steal from you and kill to survive, you reciprocate by stealing from me and killing to survive, and so forth and so on.

For history buffs, this team of authors will rock your socks off.

For those who become incensed at injustice and the sheer brutality hidden within the human heart…well let me just say, you don’t want to wear a ‘thong’ while your reading this book. Why? Because it could be very bad for your health when they get bunched up and begin to wrap around… well, you’ve got the idea 🙂

This first novel starts out bloody, picks up steam and really gets cranking with all kinds of superstition, anger, resentment, hatred, prejudice, intrigue, deception – not to mention your ordinary, run of the mill human stupidity.  So by the time I got to page 294, not only was I totally disgusted, but I couldn’t wait for the next day to pick up book number two, ‘The Dawn Country’. Oh no! I had to start reading it right then and there.

Dang me if I was going to bed before somebody rescued those kids.

So much for getting any work done on my own novel. Therefore, in order to justify my own irresponsible behavior, I decided to call staying up all night to finish the second novel – ‘research’. (Doesn’t matter that my own novel takes place in a different time, on a different continent, involving a completely different culture….it’s still ‘research’.)

And as always with the team ‘Gear & Gear’, not only does the reader get a great lesson in history, but these authors do a bang up job of creating characters that you hate to love, and love to hate. From the unforgiving War Chief Koracco and her newly divorced husband/Deputy Gonda, to the wicked witch of the west Gannajero the Trader and the Child that haunts her every move…you will discover individuals rich in texture and depth.

On my readers scale of 1-5 stars, I’m giving The People of the Longhouse 4 stars for historical significance, 4 stars for telling a really great story and 2.5 for ‘CDW’ Contributing to the Delinquency of a Writer.

To read my other reviews on books written by these authors click on – Michael & Kathleen O’Neal Gear or go to my Goodreads.

A Searing Wind: The Review

12352360Battle for America: A Searing Wind; W. Michael Gear & Kathleen O’Neal Gear, 2010; Gallery Books

Book #1: The Coming Storm

Book #2: Fire the Sky

Book #3 in Contact: Battle for America brings the story of Pearl Hand and Black Shell to an unresolved ending. Why do I say that? Because no matter how well Michael and Kathleen Gear tell the story about the battle of Native Americans to save their land, and the failed attempt of Hernandez de Soto to conquer and subjugate its citizens, the sad fact remains that he was one man in a long line of  megalomaniacs who would continue to believe it was their appointed destiny to bring the ‘barbaric savages’ of the Americas under the rule and reign of whatever nation and god these demonized conquers claimed to represent.

And we who call ourselves ‘Americans’, are living proof of that fact.

Frequently in a series of books, there will invariably be one or two I like better than the rest. Take “The Lord of the Rings” series for instance; I like “The Fellowship of the Ring” and “The Return of the King”, but didn’t care too much for the “The Two Towers”. Not that the second novel wasn’t important to the over all story, only that J. J. Tolkien didn’t make me feel as emotionally invested in the second, as he did in the first and third.

But I can’t say that about “Contact: Battle for America”. In each book Gear and Gear captured my mind, will, and emotions, then compelled me to be as invested in the one as I was in the other. Truth to tell, it is the developing intimacy between the main characters that allowed me to hitch a ride on their journey and experience first hand the hopes, disappointments, outrage, fear, and sorrow of the books many heroes.

If I had any criticism about the overall story, it would have been that I might have enjoyed them even more (if that were possible) had the POV been divided between the two heroes, rather than predominately Black Shell. Several times I felt like a particular scene or battle could have been experienced better through the eyes of a woman versus those of a man. But as I said, doing so would have only heightened my enjoyment of an already well told story, not defined it.

On my readers review of one to five stars, I’m giving “A Searing Wind” 4 stars for overall story, and 3 stars for making me cry.

Fire the Sky: The Review

8872989Battle for America: Fire the Sky; W. Michael Gear & Kathleen O’Neal Gear, 2010; Gallery Books

Fire in the sky is the second novel in Gear & Gear’s “The Battle for America” series. Just as with the first book “Coming of the Storm”, the authors have done a remarkable job of drawing this reader into the social, political, spiritual and geo-agricultural life of the Native American Indian. And even though the book is a fictional archology of the history and  culture of Indigenous Americans during the time Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and his mercenaries landed in Central America, it is never the less a great historical read.

By creating characters like Black Shell and Pearl Hand who,  as nomadic traders,  would have had inside knowledge about numerous tribes, their politics, trade, geographical terrain and cultural differences, Gear and Gear  have woven a very credible story. My only complaint is that historically, it is depressing to realize that it was simply the Native American’s ignorance of Spanish iron and horses that became the crippling force behind de Soto’s unstoppable success: that and the fact that he just flat-out fought dirty.

Another aspect of Gear and Gear’s authorship that I appreciate is the way they centered the conflict around the spiritual beliefs that would have been indelibly embedded within both the Native American and Spanish culture. Not because I think every novel needs to have that factor within it, but in this case its important to realize how integral to the overall story it is that both cultures were, and to some extent still are, heavily influenced by their spiritual beliefs.  If we remember our history, one of the greatest religious persecutions in antiquity finds its roots in the Spanish Inquisition, and therefore important to the overall justification of conquer and conquered, that de Soto and his mercenaries would have felt while massacring thousands of people who did not worship or perceive the spirit realm in the same manner as themselves. In their minds, any race that wasn’t Catholic would have been considered devils, demon worshippers, and therefore deserving of subjugation and death.

On my reader scale of one to five stars, I’m giving “Fire the Sky” 3.5 stars for overall story, and 4 for historical integrity.

Coming of the Storm: The Review

image-70Battle for America: Coming of the Storm; W. Michael Gear & Kathleen O’Neal Gear, 2010; Gallery Books

“Coming of the Storm” is my  first taste of historical novelists Gear & Gear, and I hope not my last. As a displaced Irish/French/Native American,  growing up in rural America,  I was made to feel less than human – even by members of my own family; not to mention parrot mouthing young kids who were as blinded by their parents bigotry as many would later become by their own.

So observing the First Nations people through the eyes and words of fictional archaeologists  Michael and Kathleen Gear, I very much appreciate the care to detail and accuracy these two have taken; not only in writing a great story about how the early American invaders were eventually driven out of the land (if only for a few hundred years), but by telling it with as much authenticity and vulnerability as possible, as well.

Yet even if I were to separate the savagery and injustice of early European invasions from the story, we would still be left with a great 189975_203999756292676_5169728_nhistorical novel about culture, community, drama, and love; as the books main protagonists, Black Shell and Pear Hand guide the reader through the intricate lives of those without a home,  called to change the world, and looking for the courage to do both.

When I was pursing the internet for additional information about the book and its authors, I came across this embedded YouTube. Listening to them share about the decision to write Battle for America series,  I immediately got a sense of Gear & Gear’s passion for not only the First Nations People, but their need to correct the injustice of a people portrayed as less than who they really are.

On my reader’s scale of 1-5, I give The Coming Storm 4 stars.