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People of the Nightland (North America's Forgotten Past) Hardcover – March 20, 2007

76 customer reviews
Book 14 of 16 in the Iroquois Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The latest installment of the Gears' popular and long-running First North Americans series (after People of the Moon) is a timely saga of environmental catastrophe and misguided hubris. As the ice age is ending, 13,000 years ago, the Paleo-Indians of the Great Lakes region of North America face an apocalyptic crisis: even as the ice dams holding back the flood waters from melting glaciers near capacity, the local tribes are locked in a desperate war. The Nightland People, who live on the edge of the retreating glacier and worship the god Raven Hunter, seek to destroy their neighbors, the Sunpath and Lame Bull Peoples, who worship Wolf Dreamer. As the fighting rages, Raven Hunter sends a guide to lead the Nightland People to paradise through a hole in the ice. Meanwhile, Wolf Dreamer taps a young orphan, Silvertip, to save the Sunpath and Lame Bull Peoples by leading them away from the catastrophic flooding. With time running out, Silvertip and his allies race to escape both the Nightland warriors and the looming natural disaster. Drawing on their backgrounds in archeology, the Gears vividly recreate Paleolithic America in this enchanting and instructive novel. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

The Gears, archaeologists and best-selling authors, continue their stellar North America's Forgotten Past series with another fascinating installment that combines history, geology, and anthropology with a crackerjack story. As the Ice Age begins to wane, two clans--the People of the Nightland, cave dwellers, and the People of the Sun, lodge inhabitants--are united by an orphan's vision of the future. Although young Silvertip's warnings of imminent disaster initially go unheeded, he joins forces with a war chief and a young girl in an effort to convince the clans that the ice giants are plotting to destroy the world. Set against a backdrop of global warming foreshadowing the collapse of the mammoth glaciers and the flooding of the Great Lakes region, this adventure yarn not only reaches back in time to illustrate a largely forgotten prehistoric era and culture but also resonates with contemporary climatic themes and fears. An authentically detailed evocation of a world and a people on the verge of an epic transformation, and certain to attract the readership other titles in this series have enjoyed. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: North America's Forgotten Past (Book 14)
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books (March 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765314401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765314406
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,472,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on March 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I love this First North Americans series by the Gears, a husband-and-wife team of archeologists and writers. This fourteenth novel, People of the Nightland, is like all previous novels in that it is a stand-alone and readers need not have read any of the other works.

I'm fascinated how the Gears get these stories to work. Without using familiar Indian tribes (like the Sioux, the Ouachita, the Cherokee), the Gears create tribes and bands of Native Americans and give readers a realistic account of these characters as living humans. The details are authentic and leave nothing to stereotypical other Native American-based stories.

In this book, the Indians live in and on the ice glaciers. Two clans, People of the Nightland and People of the Sunpath, have split from their original belief that the glaciers were paradise. One band still clings to the old ways of Wolf Dreamer, who led his people to this untouched paradise over a thousand years ago through a hole in the ice. The land was rich with game. But now the mammoths and other game are in short supply, the glaciers are melting, and the people are becoming desperate. The other band is following Wolf Dreamer's evil twin, Raven, who has supposedly come to the tribal idiot with another vision of Paradise. But who is really controlling Ti-Bash, the Idiot? Is he the new Guide, the new Prophet, who will save his people when the glaciers melt? Who should the people believe?

People of the Nightland is an important story of global warming, trust, vision, and leadership. I had a hard time getting into this book and became confused by the characters. There's a Keresa, Karigi, and a Kakala.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dave E on February 26, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's getting harder to pick up a book that isn't part of some series, it seems. Luckily, I had no problems picking this one up without having seen any of the others yet. I definitely will read more though!

The story is a novel but woven with actual historical findings about the cultures and geological events of the era. Though set in 11,500 BC, the humanity of the characters is timeless and universal. Epic conflicts between good and evil, hope and reality, past and future all play out in this well told tale.

As mentioned in other reviews, it does take a little work to straighten out all the similar sounding names of people and tribes, but I view that as actually a good mental exercise anyway. There is also a nice map provided to visualize the geography.

The only things that keep this from a five star review for me are:
- there is some very graphic violence, including towards women and children. It supports the vile nature of the villians, but believe me, I would've already thought poorly enough of them without this stuff. Particularly one towards the end of the book.

- there is a intro chapter set in modern times about two archeologists finding the ancient site - and then never goes back to them. I don't know if they're common to the series or what, but there was already a foreward discussing the climate change, and then this bit of modern fiction, then the novel. I at least expected an epilogue or something that got back to those two, but it's a mystery to me.

Obviously the first objection is going to turn off more readers than the second. If you can read the novel without letting that bug you, it's a great read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Allan on December 29, 2007
Format: Kindle Edition
I love the People of the... series of books. Can't wait until another comes out. The formula for the books are all pretty similar, but the descriptions of different tribes, the historical evidence that is put in, and the anticipation of what is going to happen next is well worth the wait and the read. Every one has somethign slightly different which gives you more perception on a new region, or time period in the early North American History its fantastic!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
People of the Nightland (First North Americans)

I've read the entire series, and this one is as excellent as the rest. I love that I learn new things about the makeup of North America in each title. In this one, I had no idea that there was an inland sea stretching down and through what is now Lake Ontario. The majority of the book takes place around the area where I live (Erie, PA) so it held special interest.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on March 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The ice age ended when the glaciers began receding 20,000 years ago. All was normal for the next seven millennia, as the earth warmed and a Great Lake formed from the receding ice near where Wolf Dreamer brought his people to live.

A thousand years have passed since Wolf Dreamer led his followers to the Promised Land, but his clan has split into different sects. The People of the Nightland live on the edge of the ebbing glacier worshipping the god Raven Hunter; the Sunpath People live in pelt lodging to the south while worshiping Wolf Dreamer as their God. With the great animals dying out and the waters threatening to flood both people, hostilities break out between the clans. Raven Hunter dispatches a leader to take his followers through a hole in the ice; Wolf Dreamer transmits dream messages to a child, the orphan Silvertip to take his People east away from the flooding and encroaching Ice Giants while the Nightland fighters want to complete their ethic cleansing before entering their new paradise.

The latest First North American "People" saga is a superb Paleolithic America thriller that provides the audience a glimpse of two competing conflicting lifestyles during the Younger Dryas Interval. Using archeological facts and theories, the authors are in first gear throughout this exhilarating prehistoric saga with seemingly paranormal elements that some might deduce as beliefs driving the two rival clans. Educational yet excitingly entertaining, PEOPLE OF THE NORTHLAND like its Ice Age predecessors (see PEOPLE OF THE WOLF) is a superior chronicle.

Harriet Klausner
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