People of the Fire (The First North Americans series, Book 2)

by Kathleen O''Neal Gear, W. Michael Gear | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0812521501 Global Overview for this book
Registered by bookguide of Wijchen, Gelderland Netherlands on 2/21/2009
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by bookguide from Wijchen, Gelderland Netherlands on Saturday, February 21, 2009
Back cover:
It is a time of fire. A small band of pioneers struggles valiantly to keep their ancestors' dreams alive in an unforgiving, drought-stricken land. Driven by the promise of an awesome vision, a heroic young dreamer and a fearles woman warrior unite to lead their people to a magnificent destiny. A towering epic filled with tragedy and triumph, courage and conflict, based in the time of America's first peoples.

Journal Entry 2 by bookguide at Wijchen, Gelderland Netherlands on Thursday, March 25, 2021
People of the Fire (North America's Forgotten Past, #2)People of the Fire by W. Michael Gear
****
Years ago I acquired the first two books in this series, thinking they might be as wonderful as Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series. That’s setting a tough bar. I read the first one, People of the Wolf and enjoyed it well enough, though nowhere near as much as Ms Auel’s books. People of the Fire has been waiting many years to be read, mostly because of the length, but also because it’s the sort of book I might once have read on a beach holiday, but now our children out older, we spend little time sitting around reading.

This is an old-fashioned sort of book, like one of James Michener’s epics, covering generations, with a large cast of characters. The main ones are listed in the front of this edition, though I didn’t consult the list because - most of the time - I could remember who was who. It was confusing at times, however, because the action kept changing from one clan to another. What’s more, some information about who was related to whom was deliberately obscured because the characters didn’t know the family relationships and this was an integral part of the storyline. There were also a few interesting twists such as the cultural misunderstandings between the tribes, the mountain-dwelling Red Hand hunter-gatherers and the plains-dwelling Short Buffalo people. All are faced by long term drying of the climate pushing the buffalo off the plains. There are men misusing power, using mental manipulation to appear to have spiritual Power that grants them authority. One leader uses trickery and an ability to manipulate his followers to convince them that women have polluted their tribe, causing all their problems. This allows a switch from a society where women are allowed equality in decision making and influence to one where they must become submissive. Another interesting aspect is how someone who was born as a man but is attracted to men and dresses as a woman is given an honorary position as a berdache in one tribe but is ridiculed and verbally and physically abused in the other. And all holds are barred in raids, so expect rape, murder and pillage.

If you like this sort of thing, it could score higher, but my rating is probably a little low because I found it overlong. I was also not drawn in by the pseudo spiritual Wolf Spirit and Wolf Bundle conversations. And the least said about the picture on the front cover, the better! Not a terrible book, but definitely not a great one either. How they could write - and sell - two dozen of these shelf-guzzlers I do not know!

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