February 01, 2014

People of the Lakes by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear

The First North Americans is a series that is written by the husband and wife team of the Gears.  I have to say that this sixth book is probably my favorite out of all the books that I've read so far.  You don't really have to read them in order though, they take place in various places of history and bounce all around. 

There are two different parties off on an adventure in this book.  The first is a Trader, Otter, who is heartbroken and ready to be away from home, Black Skull, a great warrior who thinks of not much other than killing, Green Spider, a man who has been possessed by spirits, and Pearl, a woman who  has been sold into slavery by her tribe.  Next is the party of Tall Man, a dwarf who is also a magician and Star Shell and her daughter, who are on the run because of her husband's antics.  The one focus of both these groups is a special mask that causes people to do either very bad things or very good.  And everyone who is pursuing them wants it.

To be honest, I didn't really care about Star Shell and her group.  I just couldn't connect with any of them.  Tall Man, well his motivations were convoluted and not entirely genuine.  And it seems the authors changed what they wanted to do with him midway through the book.  Otter's party is much more interesting.  Black Skull grows through the book.  Pearl is a strong courageous woman who balances the men out.  And Otter, well he's a good guy and adventurous.  But he wants the best for everyone around him. 

Like I said, I didn't really care for Star Shell's part of the story.  Their adventure wasn't as engaging and I found myself wishing they'd get back to the other half of the story when it was going on.  By contrast I greatly enjoyed the other half of the story and looked forward to finding out what was going to happen to Otter and the crew next.  They had more vicious enemies too.  This book was massively detailed.  It's the biggest in the series thus far.  Despite that though, it read at a good pace.  There's a lot of violence, rape, and other hard topics though.

I'm eager to see what the next book brings.  Maybe from here on out they're going to keep getting better and better.

People of the Lakes
Copyright 1994
798 pages

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