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People of the Longhouse (North America's Forgotten Past) Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 20, 2010
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
The Gears, both archeologists, tack on another mostly accomplished novel to their meticulously researched North America's Forgotten Past series (after People of the Thunder), this time focusing on the northern Iroquois of the early 15th century. This is a period of strife as tribes fight over resources and take child slaves to replenish dwindling tribal populations. The village of the People of the Standing Stone has been wiped out, and the captive children are sold to Gannajero, a vicious woman who buys and sells children as sex slaves. Among the captive children are the son and daughter of Koracoo, a female war chief, and Gonda, her husband and deputy. As the children are subjected to brutal treatment, Koracoo, Gonda, and two rival warriors pursue them, though their mission is filled with peril. Fascinating detail about ancient customs is mixed in with the bloodshed and torture, and though the plot barrels forward, it dead-ends in an abrupt and utterly disappointing conclusion.
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The multitalented Gears, husband-and-wife archaeologists and best-selling authors, score a literary bull’s-eye as they weave another vivid narrative thread into their stunning tapestry of Native Americana. The huge fan-base they have amassed with their America’s Forgotten Past series will not be disappointed in their latest fictional foray into North American prehistory. This time around, the Iroquois tribe circa 1500 is magnified under their probing cultural and archaeological microscope. During this particularly turbulent period, violence between neighboring longhouse villages competing for increasingly scarce resources has become increasingly and distressingly common. Specialized war parties whose sole purpose is to bring home young captives to replace deceased relatives and increase the spiritual strength of depleted clans are frequently dispatched. When siblings Odion and Tutelo are captured, they mistakenly believe they are caught up in this cycle of devastation and retribution; however, as their family tracks them, it becomes increasingly clear something much more sinister is actually unfolding. The Gears continue do a magnificent job of advancing a fascinating historical chronicle via action, adventure, and archaeology. --Margaret Flanagan
Top customer reviews
The Gear's are wonderful story tellers. Each character and his surroundings is developed with the patient detail necessary to complete the picture without being boring or repetitive.
There was one unique thing about the writing of this book. It was the introduction of humor. The two braves who were being sent to get their Chief's daughter often kept up a running dialog much like an old Abbott and Costello act. It consisted of very dry, funny back and forth that made them seem less harmful than they could have seemed. I don't think I have ever read another book of the Gear's that used humor and it was very effective.
I think I have read almost all of their books, mostly in print. None of them have disappointed. If you like to read pre-history spun in a great tale, read their books.
Happy Reading Yall!
5 Stars! * * * * *
Their mother is the famous and fierce War Chief Koracoo, and their father, Deputy Gonda start out to rescue them thinking they are tracking an ordinary war party herding captive children to an enemy village. Odion and Tutelo have fallen into the hands of Gannajero the Trader. People know her as the Crow; she is a nightmare, a supposed witch who captures children for her own evil purposes centering on wealth. Odion and the other captive children try hard to survive their horrible captivity. In People of the Longhouse, authors W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear continue their wonderful look into a part of America's past.
I think most of us know, it was very unusual for Native American tribes to join together as allies. Most of them didn't do this, or failed to do it for long enough, even to defeat the European conquerors. So the forming of 5 "tribes" (later a 6th joined) into the Iroquois Confederacy was a pretty unique event. Supposedly the people just realized they were destroying themselves and their available resources by continuing to make war on each other. The wars were becoming increasingly vicious. Several known great leaders who seemed to have Power on their side, appeared, and the people were convinced to try this (very democratic) confederacy.
It is interesting to speculate what the childhoods of those great leaders may have been like. The Gears come up with logical details that might have influenced such leaders - warrior parents (but the War Chief mother would prefer peace), a time spent captured and enslaved by a woman psychopath; it required co-operation between tribes to accomplish the end of her. This time enslaved also gave this child a chance to come to know enslaved children of other tribes, and the children - later released - formed lifelong friendships.
The Gears do a good job describing customs and beliefs of the Native people, and THAT I think is very difficult. We 21st century Americans can understand care for the environment, I think, but it is hard for us to appreciate the reverence for ancestors, and the customs and beliefs that surrounded death. I think one must try to understand, though, as these strong beliefs were motivations for the characters.
In spots, the book gets a little slow-paced by that doesn't last - one is generally anxious to see what will happen next.
Just in general - the Gears in all their books, may depict a few too many famous female warriors (I mean, more than actually existed) but these people do make good characters for modern readers.