Book Review | Coming of the Storm by Kathleen O’Neal Gear and Michael Gear
From New York Times bestselling novelists W. Michael and Kathleen O’Neal Gear comes a landmark new series portraying the devastating clash of cultures that followed the European invasion of early America. Dramatic, authentic, and deeply moving, this first book in the Contact series tells the story of the blood-drenched years that followed Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto’s landing in “La Florida” in 1539 — as seen entirely through the eyes of two courageous Native Americans.
Black Shell, an exiled Chickasaw trader, is fascinated by the pale, bearded newcomers who call themselves “Kristianos,” and not even the wise counsel of Pearl Hand, the extraordinary and beautiful woman who has consented to be his mate, can dissuade him. It will unfortunately take a first-hand lesson in the Kristianos’ unfathomable brutality for Black Shell to fully comprehend the dangers that these invaders pose to his people’s way of life.
While his first instinct is to run away with Pearl Hand, somewhere the Kristianos cannot find them, Black Shell has been called to a greater destiny by the Spirit Being known as Horned Serpent. With Pearl Hand by his side, Black Shell must find a way to unite the disparate tribes and settlements of his native land and overcome the merciless armies of de Soto, which will stop at nothing to attain wealth and power.
For years readers have urged the Gears to bring the clash of Native American and European cultures to life as only they can. Now, withComing of the Storm, the Gears unleash their expansive breadth of knowledge and stunning writing talents to dispel the myths and falsehoods surrounding Hernando de Soto, as they paint a vivid portrait of the heroic men and women who fought a terrifying, militarily superior power for their survival — and in so doing defined the character of a nation.
For the last year or so, I have been reading a lot of historical fiction, and this book really stood out. The authors are anthropologists, and their knowledge really enhanced the story. Readers learn a lot about the culture and social atmosphere of the characters, offering a rich backdrop to the plot. I also liked learning about Hernando de Soto from a different perspective. I think it is important to learn both sides of every history lesson, and this book gives a glimpse of how people might really have been effected by de Soto. Last but not least, Pearl Hand is a strong, independent woman and makes for an admirable heroine.
I look forward to reading more books in the Contact: Battle for America series.