Rachael's Book Review: A SEARING WIND


Nothing says "human beings do horrible things in the name of religion and money" like reading a book that has anything to do with the conquering of America. And yes, I say conquering not discovering because that's what happened. People were killed in brutal fashion, and the only place people are naive enough to believe it was a discovery is kindergarten.

My somewhat violent reaction to reading W. Michael Gear & Kathleen O'Neal Gear's new book, A Searing Wind, can be gleaned from above. They tell the story of an episode of American history that few Americans could actually relate to you on the spot, the brutal invasion of Florida by Hernando de Soto in the 1540s. Through the graceful and spiritual voices of the native indios of the region, the violence brought on the by Christian conquers is outlined in stark detail that will have your gut twisting on occasion.

I found myself drawn into their story and captivated by the slowly spiraling anticipation of a final battle. The authors' attention to detail is clear not only on the battlefield but also in the every day conversation and lives of their characters. Their familial love, battles with prejudice, cultural differences and racism, and respect for all forms of life give them a believability that beautifully counters their inability to understand the inhumanity of their invaders.

If you're a fan of lively action, mysticism and history, this book is the third in a series you should definitely pick up. But it's not for the squeamish. Their story does not skirt the bloody reality of a conquering army and the resistance they meet.

3.5 Stars

Recovering from their wounds, Black Shell and Pearl Hand race the invader Hernando de Soto westward. The fires of Mabila have destroyed most of de Soto’s supplies, and cost him dearly in horses and irreplaceable men. But just ahead lie the greatest warriors in Black Shell’s world, and the people who exiled him in disgrace—the Chicaza. Desperate to earn redemption, Black Shell is thrust face-to-face with the cunning de Soto and locked in a deadly game of wits that will determine the fate of their world. But who’s the bigger threat—de Soto or Black Shell’s poisonous and unforgiving kin? If Black Shell, Pearl Hand, and their loyal dogs can win the battle of Chicaza, the Spanish invader will be broken forever. As Horned Serpent and the terrible Piasa gambled so long ago, in the end, everything hinges on Black Shell—but at what staggering cost?

W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear are the authors of Fire the Sky and Coming of the Storm, the second and first book in the Contact series, as well as more than twenty international bestsellers that have been translated into twenty-three languages. Their novel People of the Raven won the Golden Spur Award in 2005. In addition to writing both fiction and nonfiction together and separately, the Gears operate an anthropological research company called Wind River Archeological Consultants and raise buffalo on their ranch in northern Wyoming. They welcome readers to their website at www.gear-gear.com