Genre: Historical Fiction Publication.Date February 15th 2011 Pages: 448 Published By: Pocket Books (Simon & Schuster US) | Website W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear |
Fire The Sky - Goodreads My review copy: Finished copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Where to get:
New York Times bestselling novelists W. Michael and Kathleen O’Neal Gear have long been considered the foremost chroniclers of early Native American life. Now, in a critically acclaimed, sweeping new series, they recreate the conflict-filled years following one of the first European invasions. Seen through the eyes of a courageous pair of Native Americans, Fire the Sky follows Hernando de Soto’s brutal expedition north from the Florida peninsula as the explorer plunders the heart of a complex and fragile civilization.
An itinerant trader and outcast from his tribe, Black Shell was swept into the Spirit World and returned a transformed man. Now, carrying his white-feathered trader’s staff, he devotes his life to a sacred mission that only the tall, beautiful Pearl Hand—his lover, confidant and wife—truly understands. Black Shell has seen what the incomprehensibly violent, shining-armored invaders are capable of doing to his world and knows that if his people are to survive, he and his “Orphans,” a small band of fierce warriors, must kill as many Kristianos as they can. After being fought to a standstill by the courageous Apalachee Nation, de Soto has changed his tactics. He will employ promises of peace to accomplish what cannot be achieved by violence alone. Lured by a young man’s tale of gold and aided by an arrogant princess’s treachery, he makes his way through the beautiful southeastern landscape. One by one, the ancient Nations fall victim to his lies as rulers and commoners alike are tricked into enslavement. In spite of the price de Soto has placed on his head, Black Shell shadows the Kristiano advance and finds that his own legend precedes him. Some will heed Black Shell’s strategies of sacrifice and deception. Others will ignore him—and suffer unspeakable horrors as a result. In this moving, vivid portrait of a lost American civilization and a powerful love between a man and a woman, the Gears illuminate a little-understood time in our history, as this bloody conflict between two peoples hurtles toward an apocalyptic battle that may change the course of the war forever. . . (Goodreads)
Once, I'd had a soul-deep fondness for the dim openness under the great trees. To walk under the high canopy gave one a sense of ancient peace - a place where the White Power of tranquility pervaded. For the moment, however, the open forest floor set all of us on edge.
"We were born to this,Black Shell. If we ran, tried to forget, it would eat us alive."
Old-Woman-Who-Never-Dies told me flat out: This will be won or lost by men.
Fire The Sky picks up exactly where Coming Of The Storm left off. Gears do not waste any time re-introducing the reader to the world or the characters. There are no boring recaps and no unnecessary flashbacks. We jump right back into the heat of action. In fact, in terms of action, the sequel is even more intensive and exciting than the first part. The story moves swiftly from one adventures to another, keeping the reader glued to the pages all the way through. Reading this book is anything but relaxing. The tension is always there and it's heart-stopping! I found myself gasping and shifting nervously most of the time - it was insane!
As we go deeper into the story, we learn more and more about De Soto's exploration and conquest of the New World, his cruelty, slimness, deceptiveness and heartlessness. After all the difficulties he faced in the first book, De Soto has now changed tactics, becoming even more fierce and unstoppable, spreading false promises of peace, getting the Native nations to trust him just to turn around and back-stab them. Weakened by the disease, defenseless against the many powerful weapons and fighting tactics of the Spanish army, one by one, the Native nations fall victim to De Soto's lies. Meanwhile, Black Shell and Pearl Hand are doing everything in their power to fight back, trying to warn their People and prepare them for what's to come, struggling to save their world from destruction.
Black Shell and Pearl Hand continue to inspire me. Their devotion, readiness to sacrifice their own happiness for the cause, and fierceness with which they fight is absolutely amazing. The Gears did a fabulous job fleshing out their characters, not only bringing out both their physical characteristics and personality traits, but also brilliantly depicting all their cultural features, customs and religious beliefs. Reading about the clash of cultures was very interesting and thought-provoking, and it made me see these historical events in a totally different light.
Overall, Fire The Sky is an excellent, intelligent and highly entertaining read. It's so rich in historical detail, so full of breathtaking action, so captivating and emotionally engaging, it's simply mind-blowing. On top of everything else, it's a compulsively readable page turner and a valuable history lesson. Everyone should read this series!
Stop by tomorrow to read my review of A Searing Wind, the third and final book in the Contact series!
Stop by on Saturday to read my interview with the fabulous authors and enter to win the whole trilogy!
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About the AuthorEvie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and chatting with fellow book-worms.