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More filters. Sort order. Based on historical archaeological records, this fictional account traces the daily lives of one group of Native American Indian tribes. The plot follows a few characters, mainly shamans from several villages, as their paths intertwine. They live in a feudal style city-state at a time of major droughts. Villages struggle to feed themselves while also paying tribute to the king. Each character must deal with restoring a balance and sanity in their lives, either through magic, travel, o 4.

Each character must deal with restoring a balance and sanity in their lives, either through magic, travel, or battle. Also of interest were unique Native American Indian cultural traditions: elder women as clan leaders, matrilineal descent, divorcing someone by either leaving if you're male or placing their belongings outside the home if you are female , human sacrifice upon the death of a great leader, birth traditions, ideas of shamanism and dreaming, female warriors, berdache transgenderism, clan leadership through the male line, etc.

Do not read this book if you cannot either believe in magic, or put yourself in the mindset of a person who does. Other books in this series are not as heavy on ideas of prophetic dreaming and speaking to spirits as this one--read those instead. Trigger Warning: this book shows the way a people really lived, without sparing anything.

People of the Wolf

As a result, there are scenes of war, rape, torture, etc, though they do not make up the majority of the story. People of the River By W. A new dreamer comes to help change the world for the better. The starvation and war has made the world close to the brink of death, Mother Earth has closed the door to the rain. The first woman has closed the porta People of the River By W. The first woman has closed the portal to the world of dreams, dreamers are unable to reach the land of the dead and talk to their answers. Over a decade ago Nightshade was kidnapped by Beavertail on the advice of Old Mormont, who dreamed she would lead to a new way.

Old Mormont has only seen part of the dream. Nightshade has been band from Cahokia. Tharon is a man who is known as the Sun Chief of the sun people of Cahokia. The elite of the people of the mounds, has been up to something evil. His behavior has caused the drought, the last straw in the evil of men who do not keep the balance of the spiral. Theron is collecting all the power objects from the Cahokia Empire, sending Bagertail to raid and destroy all those who oppose him.

Bagertail reluctantly does as his Chief demands, and loses his brother on a deadly raid. Lost in his grief, Bagertail finds solace in his closest friend Locast. She is his female cousin and a strong warrior. Locust is married to the Berache Primrose, third in line of the leadership of his clan. Locust is a young girl of 10 who has the touch of a dreamer. Meadow Vole her mother is the keeper of the Stone Wolf, which used to be part of the wolf bundle and connected to power.

Meadow Vole is frightened and unable to dream.

People of the River by W. Michael Gear

He led her to her spirit helper, Bird- Man Raven hunter the dark hero twin. Can Nightshade find the path to the world of the dead? Can someone reach the first woman and talk to her and change her mind, and save humanity. People of the river are a dynamic story with many exciting adventures, battles, and power challenges. Character list People of the River mound-building Cahokia Dreamer: Nightshade: main dreamer, more powerful the others, kidnapped as a child, has connections to the turtle bundle.

Novels of North America's Forgotten Past

Badgertail: as a young warrior kidnapped nightshade, as an old man Lichen: is a young girl who goes to tutor under an Wanderer who is thought to be crazy. Wanderer: the teacher of Nightshade and Lichen and Meadow vole. Feels he is possessed by the spirits of animals. MeadowVole: keeper of the stone wolf, mother of Lichen, is afraid to dream. Birdman- Raven Hunter: the main person in their mythos that they believe gave them purpose and reason, and did not want people to come into this world because he felt it was too difficult. Represented as Red. Tharon: evil leader who has been abusing his young daughter Orenda.

Tharon is very crazy. Orenda: daughter of the chief leaves for Talon town for safety, after the abuse her father gave her was found out. Power object: river turtle bundle has to be tied to a dreamer cover has white spirals, red, yellow and blue encircled the edge. The hide has a Red hand in the center with a black eye. Tiny bits of bone a stone sharks tooth.

And a Turquoise pendant. This is another book that is hard for me to rank, so I didn't. I found the characters compelling, but uncomplicated. A couple of them underwent some change during the story one, a ten year-old girl, you would expect some growth from , but most were exactly the same people at the end, in spite of war and famine.


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The research and details--food, farming techniques, clothing production, house building, tools, etc. It's obvious that the authors have This is another book that is hard for me to rank, so I didn't. It's obvious that the authors have archaeology backgrounds. The story is fascinating: what brought down the flourishing Mississippi Mound civilization in AD C? Climate change? Environmental degradation from overpopulation?

Warring over dwindling resources? Religious strife? Given my assessment of the parts, why did the sum of the reading experience feel just "OK"? They lived in a world where spirits walked, talked, guarded, and guided them. They took hallucinogenic drugs and performed rituals in order to enhance those experiences. They "dreamed" and prophesied.


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  • The spirit guides lectured and hectored the dreamers on their duty to right the wrongs of all the ordinary people who upset the balance of nature. I write in the pre-modern age and use religious ritual, superstitious warding, dreaming, and prophecy in my own fiction.

    But I found--for my taste--the constant use of those elements, in this story, excessive. It tipped the book from historical fiction to historical fantasy. That doesn't take away from the wonderful historical detail, but "the gods willed it" or "It was fate" always dulls the story me. Others, with more tolerance for those elements, will find this a more enjoyable read. View all 3 comments. Jan 22, Melissa rated it really liked it Shelves: prehistoric-fiction.

    The Gear's are a husband-wife team who write books about the prehistoric first peoples of North America. There are several books in the series, but it isn't mandatory that you read them in order. Sure, there are a few details that may leave you confused if you haven't read the others, but the majority of the story is original and separate from the rest.

    People of the River is considered the fourth book in this series.

    About the author

    Nightshade is considered a powerful Dreamer. She has been ever since she was st The Gear's are a husband-wife team who write books about the prehistoric first peoples of North America. She has been ever since she was stolen from her peoples and made a part of the River People's community.

    But she and the main leader have never gotten along; there's something not quite right about him and he seeks to harness her power and dominate her. Add in a drought that is killing off the people, and someone has angered the spirits, and only Nightshade, and unknown woman are going to be able to put it right again. The theme of this book was crazy. There were quite a few people who just weren't right in this book and while some of them were good and harmless, there was a bad kind of crazy in this book, and it was sinister.

    I was eagerly waiting to see what would happen when the Leader would have one of his childish fits and demand everything go his way because you knew it would never mean anything good. And then there was Wanderer, who was crazy too but in such an endearing way that he was charming. I'd never really realized how complex the River people were. They almost seemed Aztec in traditions and living style. I was pleased to see that a bit of their culture was mentioned in this book and that it wasn't all mysticism, although there was a lot of that as well.

    It seems that Dreamers and special spiritual quests are always going to be a part of these books.

    Books in this Series

    This was an interesting book, although a little fast paced. I do think the bad guy is what made this one engaging. People of the River Copyright pages Review by M. Reynard More of my reviews can be found at www. Feb 21, J. Northup rated it it was amazing. Historical fiction that hits home! Having grown up on the shores of the Mississippi, I felt I could really relate to the Peoples of this story. Having a love of history and having a rich heritage of trappers and traders in my home town, the rivers are major highways and the cities that become transportation hubs for trade seemed normal.

    I was not surprised by the rich society that had been Cahokia. Having seen the actual archaeological site only made this story more real to me. I realize this a b Historical fiction that hits home! I realize this a beautiful rendition of historical fiction, but it is spot on for bringing the real understands of the past - what made it great and also what tore it apart - rich and lively. Again, I was moved by the characters in the story.

    I absolutely love NIghtshade - she is one of my favorite characters from this entire book series. Badgertail is also one of my favorites. I feel for their struggles and I resent the Sun Chief, not only for his selfishness and cruelty, but for making so many people do things they wouldn't normally do. Having been in the military, I understand the necessity of following orders, but it doesn't always make them right and sometimes it conflicts with your own beliefs. I love the lore of the Native American religion and mythology. I love the deeper understanding I find with each book in the amazing series.

    I think it is a must read for anyone who loves history, but also for every American. This is our past and the Gears make the lessons of the past just as valid for our modern society! Aug 11, Lani rated it it was ok Shelves: historicalfiction. Despite enjoying historical fiction, Native American history, and in particular, the region of Cahokia, this was a painfully uninteresting book.

    Not entirely sure why it couldn't hold my interest. I think I might have lost interest due to the perspective switching for such long periods of time. Also, much of the book didn't have much climax to it and the writing was fairly dry. Towards the end the action picked up, but the final drama seemed to come out of nowhere. There was a slight setup, but it Despite enjoying historical fiction, Native American history, and in particular, the region of Cahokia, this was a painfully uninteresting book.

    There was a slight setup, but it really just felt forced. The love story that exploded at the end was also unexpected and unexplained. The book tried to depict a society in turmoil due to both internal and external circumstances, but mostly just seemed to tell the story of a power-mad dictator. I was impressed by the handling of the male-to-female character. He was married to a female warrior and handled with dignity.

    Their marriage and relationship was touching, and was a nice touch in an otherwise fairly predictable book. Jul 27, Billy Dominguez rated it it was amazing.

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    Also known as mound builders, they build some fantastic structures. This novel is about a young girl by the name of Lichen who is destined to be a great dreamer and plays an important role in the war occurring between the Sun God of Cohokia and rival villages. This book started out different than most of the other People novels I have read, the first pages is just character and plot building then it quickly changes pace mid "People of the River" is based on the Cahokian peoples of Illinois. This book started out different than most of the other People novels I have read, the first pages is just character and plot building then it quickly changes pace mid way and eventually comes to a very climactic ending.

    The last pages or so is just incredible! It includes war tactics, brutality, spiritual journeys, and heavy action. I have not been able to put this series down since I first found it a few months ago. It is written by a husband and wife who are both Archaeologists. They have written a series of books called The First North Americans, as well as each writing their own individual books. Though the stories are mainly fictional, they are supplemented by real archaeological and historical findings and facts.

    Very intense at moments and really sad at others, overall, an excellent read. Mar 07, Chris Meads rated it it was amazing Shelves: nature , fiction , adventure , adult , science , historic. This story takes us away from the West to the Mississippi valley. Various groups, called the Mound Builders, have built their homes around Cahokia where the Sun Chief lives.

    But this is a troubled time--their main food, corn, is not growing since there is no rain. They blame it on the Sun Chief--he is thirsty for power and demands tributes from all the villages, not caring that they starve. And the gods, including First Woman, have turned their backs on the people as well. But the only hope there This story takes us away from the West to the Mississippi valley. But the only hope there is, is found in a young girl, Lichen, who will become a powerful dreamer, with the help of Wanderer and Nightshade. Will the three bring the gods back?

    Will there be rain? Or will there be a war to end all human life? This is a most interesting series and ties what archeologists have found in areas across North America. Jun 22, Theresa rated it it was amazing. Review People of the River is a wonderful tale of interest built from the remains found in an archeology dig Mississippians, who, between A.

    The starvation and war has made the world close to the brink of death, Mother earth has closed the door to the rain. THe first woman has closed the portal to the world of dreams, dreamers are unable to Review People of the River is a wonderful tale of interest built from the remains found in an archeology dig Mississippians, who, between A. THe first woman has closed the portal to the world of dreams, dreamers are unable to reach the land of the dead and talk to their ansters. Nightshade has been band from Chaokia. Tharon, the Sun Chief of the sun people of Cahokia.

    His behavior has caused the drought, the last straw in the evil of men who do not keep the ballance of the spiral. THaron is collecting all the power objects from the Cahokia empire, sending Bagertail to raid and distroy all those who oppose him. Bagertail reluctantly does as his Chief demands, and looses his brother on a deadly raid.

    His female cousin, and a strong warrior. Locaust is married to the Berache Primrose, third in line of the leadership of his clan. Meadow Vole her mother is the keeper of the Stone Wolf, which used to be part of the wolf bundel and connected to power. Wanderer Locast father, although she does not know it, desides its time to teacher her to dream. And to lead her to her spirit helper, Bird- Man Raven hunter the dark hero twin. Can Nightshade find the path to the world of the dead. A dynamic story with many exciting adventures, battles, and power challanges.

    I will be meeting John Kelly one of the researchers who are acknowledged in this book for the information the Gears used as resources for the anthropology of the book. I hope to gain more understanding of the familiar story. Badgertail: as a young warrior kidnapped nightshade, as anold man Lichen: is a young girl who goes to tutor under an Wandererwho is thought to be crazy. Wanderer: the teacher of Nightshade and Lichen and Meadowvole. MeadowVole: keeper of the stone wolf, mother of Lichen, isafraid to dream. Birdman- Raven Hunter: the main person in their mythos thatthey believe gave them purpose and reason, and did not want people to come intothis world because he felt it was too difficult.

    Tharon: evil leader who has been abusing his young daughterOrenda. Orenda: daughter of the chief leaves for Talon town forsafety, after the abuse her father gave her was found out. Power object: river turtle bundle has to be tied to adreamer cover has white spirals, red, yellow and blue encircled the edge. Thehide has a Red hand in the center with a black eye. Bibliography of People of the river Magazine Baerreis, D.

    Chomoko, Stephen a. Chapman Author , Eleanor F. Gero Editor , Margaret W. Sturtevant Editor , Bruce G. Appendix: Outstanding exhibit-sites, modern pueblos, local museums, by Erik K. State Museum. Sep 13, Sable rated it really liked it. Read for the Vernon Library Summer Reading challenge. This is my first acquaintance with these writers, who have written a whole series of historical novels about the First Nations.

    Michael Gear holds a master's degree in archaeology and has worked as a professional archaeologist since He is principal investigator for Wind River Archaeological Consultants. The Gears live in Thermopolis, WY. Kathleen O'Neal Gear , W. Michael Gear. Back Cover. Back Matter.