Best Indie Book Award 2013 - Winner - Mainstream Category
Smith has created a wealth of history and culture that will make you weep. Creating words and phrases with a poetic sense, building a feel for Native American culture that feels so genuine and, yet, is eminently readable. Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh my! - Kathy Davie
Mr. Smith has written a fantastic tale from the Native American point of view about the conquest of the New World by Hernando DeSoto. He has done impeccable research . . . made that period in our history come alive for me. I learned much more about the conquest of the New World and life around the Mississippi River that now makes me want to read even more. Kindle Book Review - Dawn Edwards
I love this story, and I applaud Daniel A. Smith on his diligent research. Smith writes some strong characters in this gripping story. Every human emotion is engaged, and at times I felt like I was right there with Manaha and the tribes who fought against DeSoto. Superbly done. I'm sure I will be reading this book again. The Jelly Bomb Review - SK
A brilliant piece of writing, backed by immaculate research and a real feel for the period. The sheer beauty of the prose will keep readers mesmerized - as I was. Sheila Mary Taylor, author Count to Ten and Pinpoint
From the Inside Flap
I was at peace, wandering a great valley with orchards, fields of corn and beans, and herds of elk and buffalo. Over the ridge, the sky grew dark. Uneasiness filled me as I climbed. I found lodges burned and crumbling, bodies of mothers and their children, men with their wives, and animals of all kinds. In every direction, fire smoldered and flesh rotted.
Calling for my grandfather, I ran through the village to the top of the temple mound. I could see the land on all sides. The orchard, the fields, the herds were all gone. Despair weakened my legs. Anguish weighted me to the ground. Feeling the pain of the land and its people, I closed my eyes, hid my face, and wept.
My cries echoed back with the sounds of danger. A brown bear charged toward me. In a moment, I regained my strength. Panic pushed me to my feet. Fear ran me to the edge of the mound.
I felt her breath. She bit at my heels as if it were a game. And when I slowed, she struck me with one blow that ripped away my arm. The giant beast held my arm above her head and said, "I, Brown Mother Bear, wish to know what you will give for this."
I had nothing, less than nothing. I stood without my arm, naked before the Great Brown Bear. "I am just a child and have nothing to give."
She roared, "Not true. You are an old woman, and you have much wisdom. Give your stories to the ones who have not heard. Become the storyteller your people need."
"What stories will I tell?" I asked.
She lifted her head and moaned out a crying song. Then she dropped to all fours and pressed her nose to my face. "Give to your people, or they will lose more than an arm."
Great Brown Mother Bear reared up once more, so tall, she blocked the sun, the moon, and the stars until all around me appeared black, black as eyes shut.