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4.4 out of 5 stars
People of the Owl (The First North Americans Series)
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2003
If you are looking for a book on facts, then don't pick this up -- the Gears write hoping to understand what life may have been like for prehistoric Americans, based on what we do know about various cultures. This book isn't tedious fact after fact - it is a historical fiction book and a wonderful one at that. If you enjoyed the others in the series, then you are definitely going to enjoy this one as well.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2004
This isn't just the classic story of the unlikely hero, as mentioned by another reviewer. It is a story about finding oneself, a journey of politics, lessons and love. The writing is really amazing and captures not only the fictional story of Salamandar and the Sun People, but also integrates the way these people lived long ago. If you read this book, you won't be able to put it down. Don't purchase it as a reference for the way the Sun People lived at one time, it's not that type of novel. It is a fictional story that will teach you lessons and provoke your own thoughts on the way you live your own life. Times are not so different today as they were long, long ago...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2005
This book had an exciting plot and I stayed up late to finish it. Yet, there were parts of it that I really didn't enjoy. Like the all too vivid butchering of people. I also don't know what type of book I would catagorize this as. Other reviewers were dissapointed because of how little history that was in it. There was a lot of prophetic dreaming which made it feel like fantasy to me, but i guess it is a part of the Native American culture.
Whatever else I say about this book, it was a good story but felt a bit unrealistic at times.

I wouldn't exactly recommend it but if you want something to read then it is ok, if not brilliant.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2003
In their latest "People of the Owl" Micheal and Kathleen show us once again how narrow our view of our country is. This land is a great land doesn't even begin to explain the wonders of the acients that preceded us on this Continent. The Story is fantastic.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2004
I am the first to admit it took me a bit to get into. As soon as I thought I had a grasp on all the characters, they start to change on me. I had to stop reading it for awhile. However, once I started reading it again, I was quickly drawn into the intricate web of political struggle developing among the characters. I was mesmorized and couldn't put it down!

If you give it a chance and push yourself past the beginning, it is well worth it. The Gears' skill is phenominal. I found myself crying along with the characters in the end. I felt I knew them so well. This book was truly a masterpiece any fan of the Gears should read!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2005
I found People of the Owl to be a very absorbing story. It is historical fiction that deals with Native Americans living in America's first real city, located in present-day Louisiana. It is the 11th book in the Gears' series about early Native Americans and reads similar to the others.

I've read them all and have enjoyed them all. The Gears manage to create vivid characters time and time again that you grow quite attached to. They mix suspense and excellent story telling with history, since much of their setting is based on archaelogical evidence.

This particular volume, while very enjoyable and hard to put down, did have a bit of a weaker ending than some other books in the series. It dragged a bit while Salamander pondered his big choice at the end. And his decision seemed a bit anti-climactic.

But I still would recommend this book. Definitely to fans of the Gears other works. And also to fans of pre-contact Native American historical fiction.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2003
This story continues the people of north america series
and it does what all the Gear's books do :
provides a great story with insight that you can trust
to be based on hard research.
yet they are truly readable.
I have been captivated by the characters
and these writers
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Maybe it's just because I like owls, but I actually really enjoyed this book in The First North American series. While it did reference previous books, it gave enough background that it isn't necessary to read it in order, this book can be a stand alone.

Mud Puppy, later known as Salamander, has always been a strange child. He prefers to be at one with nature rather than achieve any sort of prestige. So when he is thrust into a leadership role after his brother and uncle die he knows he must tread carefully. He has enemies on all sides, and even his wives don't want to see him succeed. He is also caught between two power beings who want to use them for their own ends. Salamander's life is no longer his own.

Salamander has the quickest growth of any character that I've seen. He's smart, thoughtful, and tries to do what is best for the community rather than himself. Which makes him special, as most people think of their own personal gain. Unfortunately it also makes him a bit unbelievable. People are naturally selfish and to be so pure in his intentions, while possible, just doesn't seem that likely. His three wives are all a strange bunch too. They don't particularly like him but then again they all have their own agendas. I actually found them to be very believable as they all had something they wanted out of life and would do anything to achieve. Then there are the "bad" guys, they too are just people who want a little bit of power and to be in a leadership position.

While this book covered over a year it didn't really seem like it had that big of a span. It was telling the story of Salamander's life and it meandered through it. But not at so slow of pace that it wasn't interesting. You genuinely wanted to know what was going to happen and how he was going to get himself out of the fix he was in. Although, truthfully, I was a bit disappointed by the ending. There was a lot more about the people's actual culture in this book too, from how they wore their clothing to what they were eating. There usually is a little detail in the other books, but not to the extent that this one had. I appreciated learning a little more about how Salamander's people lived.

As I've said before, I think these books get better as they go along. I'm almost disappointed that I'm nearing the end of the series.

People of the Owl
Copyright 2003
598 pages

Review by M. Reynard 2014
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on January 12, 2012
This is the second Gear book I've read. This book has a very slow start. With over 550 pages, it took me 200 pages to have any real interest. The first 100 pages I could hardly follow all the different characters, as they were given a chapter here and then another one later one so I'd lose the thread.

Frankly, the book would have been much better if it were only 250 to 300 pages. Even after I got to know the characters, the story didn't move along at a compelling pace. The main character, Salamander, was the only one the reader cared about and was the most developed.

The best feature of this book is the historic scene the Gears paint. They make Poverty Point come alive by filling in the details with their imagination. The broad brush strokes are fact, but much of the details are deductions. Regardless, the Gears do help us to realize the wonderful heritage we have right here in North America with the many vibrant cultures that have come and gone.
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on March 22, 2008
I don't know how accurately this book captured what life might have been like at this site. However, I was amazed and excited about their recreation of what life might have been like in that area of the country at that time. The descriptions of the natural environment were what I found most exciting in the book. I also found the plot and politics interesting. I thought Mud Puppy's actions and thoughts throughout the book were slow moving, and yet I felt that what transpired in the book ought to have taken a longer period of time. The ending was a disappointment; it seemed too abrupt and incomplete.
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