Title: The Dawn Country
Authors: Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear
Pages: 292, not including the Selected Bibliography section
Publication Date: March 15, 2011
Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Authors Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear display their collective expertise on the Iroquois natives in this second novel of their People of the Longhouse series. A husband and wife writing team, they each hold advanced degrees in archaeology and history, and are considered experts in their field of study. The narrative of this book shows their deep understanding and respect for the Iroquois nation.
The book begins with a Non-Fiction Introduction, which serves to give valuable background to the reader of the times in which this story is set. In just a few pages, the Gears’ give just enough informaiton to have a solid historical perspective without it being so much information as to lose its value. I found it to be a valuable way to start the book.
The narrative revolves around two parallel stories. The first one is of Young Wrass, a young man who is being held captive along with several children in the camp of an old woman named Gannajero. She is well known as someone who specializes in the capture and sale of children in the aftermath of wars among the tribes and is a cold, cruel witch of a woman. The second story is that of the children’s relatives, Koracoo and Gonda, who have not given up the search for the missing children. They have the help of a warchief and a healer from the “People of the Dawnland” in their search.
Young Wrass’ story is especially compelling, as he balances what his life experiences have taught him (that the rescue of the children is next to impossible) against his assurances to the children that their relatives are surely searching for them. He knows instinctively that he will have to organize them and take their escape into his own hands if they have any prayer of survival. With this understanding comes his realization that while the children may be able to escape, he will probably die to make that escape possible.
The chapters weave expertly between the parallel story lines, drawing on the historical record to give the narrative a weight of accuracy of the events that all the characters go through. Because this is the second book fo the series, it might be a little difficult to get drawn into the story at first. But with the beautifully detailed storytelling, it doesn’t take long for the reader to get deeply involved in the lives of these characters. It is a fascinating read, and one can easily feel the urgency of emotions and the cold terrain under the moccasins. It is a gripping novel and an excellent entry in the series.
Find it at local bookstores!
Barnes & Noble – Pruneyard
Barnes & Noble – Blossom Hill