January 12, 2014

People of the Earth by Katleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear

The First North Americans series is a prehistoric fiction series written by the husband/wife team of Michael & Kathleen Gear.  People of the Earth is the third book in that series, and actually the best one I've read out of the first three.

White Ash was kidnapped as a child from the Earth people by a man of the Sun people.  Which was actually ok with her.  Her adoptive parents were much nicer than her original family.  But hostile tribes are attacking the Sun people now and they are being forced to fight or move South.  White Ash also has to deal with the strange dreams she's been having and the unwanted attentions of a man who claims he's been to the camp of the dead.  And her only help is in an unlikely, mild mannered man with only one good arm.

Both White Ash and Bad Belly are great characters.  They aren't perfect, or even overly strong.  They are regular people who have been called out to do something special.  Bad Belly especially is inspiring.  I like how humble he is and that he has tranquility despite being made fun of.  White Ash isn't quite as humble, in fact she's a little neurotic, but she still is much more human than some of the other "almost perfect" characters in the previous books have been.

This whole book is about struggle.  Whether it's with inner demons, other tribes, disabilities, and everything else, someone is having a struggle.  And the goal is to overcome that.  There was a lot of mystical lore and activity going on in this book as well.  And I'm still not sure how I feel about that.  I know I'd probably prefer a book that's just about the lives of these people during the time period without the magic, but at least it is used to tell a good story.  Like the other books, this one does have violence, rape, and other harsh topics. 

Definitely the better book out of the first three.  They still aren't edge of your seat fantastic, but they're interesting reading.  On to book four!

People of the Earth
Copyright 1992
587 page

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