It is worth taking the time though as the books are well written and informative.
I dont even know what brought it to mind after all these years, but I was looking for something a little out of my ordinary reading choices and People of the Raven instantly came to mind. My forays into Historical Fiction have been limited and my knowledge of the first peoples of North America is almost nonexistent, and perhaps because of that I couldnt stop flipping through the pages to learn more about this time period and people who inhabited it. The book opens with a sort of prologue that focuses on the enigma that is Kennewick Man the remains of a prehistoric man found in Washington that, at the time, was determined to have more Caucasoid traits than Native American. After this introduction, People of the Raven launches readers into the past through a speculative journey of who Kennewick Man might have been, how he lived, and how he died. Over the years, however, this relationship has degraded and now the two groups teeter on the edge of war, and it looks like the North Wind People are prepared and willing to make the first decisive move. Rain Bear also finds himself in the possession of Tsauz, the blind son of the North Wind Peoples Starwatcher with the potential for being one of the greatest dreamers ever known. Since Ive been reading a lot of series of late, I questioned whether a full story complete with setup and an introduction to the time period could be told in one book, but I neednt have worried. Theres a lot packed into this novel with a little bit of everything thrown in: intrigue, mystery, action, strategy, friendship, sorrow, and romance. When I read historical fiction, the main thing Im looking for is immersion into the time period. The Gears have clearly done their research into the technology that would have been available to prehistoric Americas people and have used it to extrapolate further into how the characters would have thought, what their values would have been, how they would have spoken, and how they would have lived. Since we dont have written record of these peoples, theres a lot of guesswork in figuring out what their day to day lives would have consisted of and the authors did a fantastic job in giving an educated suggestion that portrays our distant ancestors in an authentic, genuine manner. Rather than try to twist the historical setting around an agenda or message (can you tell that Ive been disappointed by historical fiction in the past?), the authors let the characters and their very different way of life speak for themselves and it paints a picture of a time very unfamiliar to uswhich is what I live for when Im reading this genre. Since I often end up reading a lot of grimdark fantasy (which tends to err on the side of bluntly expressing the harsh realities of lifeand then some), I wasnt particularly bothered by this, but more sensitive readers might want to be aware that the Gears pull absolutely no punches in showing the merciless existence of the novels characters. Again, not really an issue for me and I never saw it as gratuitous, but if youd rather not read about people going through some awful things in your historical fiction, People of the Raven may not be for you. Both the People of the Raven and the North Wind People hold tight to their firm convictions in their various gods and beliefs especially as the fear in the mysteries of healing and magic pertains to Dzoo and Coyote and these convictions are treated very much as fact from the characters points of view. Whatever the case, the presentation of these beliefs as fact adds an element of authenticity to both the story and the characters (and Im a little surprised to read some people griping about it if you want a straight, factual account of Americas prehistoric past without fictional elements, historical fiction might not be your cup of tea) and I was pleased to see it be utilized so well. The single thing that I really wish would have been given more attention is the race issue that is reference many times throughout the novel. So after having finished People of the Raven, I think Id definitely read another novel by the Gears. The era isnt just fancy scenery for an otherwise modern story, its almost a character in and of itself and the people living out their lives in it are very different in their values, ideologies, and way of life than you or me.
the wind, the rain, the thunder all take on an extra dimension as they become the gods and spirits of their world. I would find it hard to accept this mixture of verisimilitude and fantasy as anything other than pure fiction...
I also remember the head lines when the Kennewick Man was discovered and the debates its discovery incited about the Caucasoids in our Nation's pre-history. Masterful storytelling, vivid images, intriguing characters, questionable creatures, and fascinating theories...
the "people of..." series has become my brainless book.
Two native peoples living in close proximity in the Pacific Northwest about 9,300 years ago, during the period when glacial melt was raising sea level and wiping out fishing sites and shellfish beds, creating famine caused a warlike clan suffering greatly from the threat of famine to take on a vicious stance overlordship of the nearby clans exacting 'tribute' primarily in the form of food, from the weaker clans around them. They create an ancient America that includes the growth of Native American culture and also points out the difficulties of living through periods of environmental change.
More than the actual story, I enjoyed the prehistoric world the authors created.
On his first dig as a professional archaeologist in 1976 he discovered that two thousand year old human trash isn't nearly as obnoxious as the new stuff. Michael graduated from Fort Collins High School in 1972 and pursued both his Bachelor's (1976) and Master's (1979) degrees at Colorado State University. Upon completion of his Master's - his specialty was in physical anthropology - he went to work for Western Wyoming College in Rock Springs as a field archaeologist. One cold January night he read a Western novel about a trail drive in which steers (castrated males) had calves. Pronghorn Anthropological Associates began doing cultural resource management studies in 1982, and, although Michael sold his interest in 1984, to this day the company remains in business in Casper, Wyoming. During the years, Michael has worked throughout the western United States doing archaeological surveys, testing, and mitigation for pipelines, oil wells, power lines, timber sales, and highway construction. Archaeologists from all over the state had arrived at the University of Wyoming for the annual meetings of the Wyoming Association of Professional Archaeologists.