I’ve been a fan of the Gears since I picked up their first book many years ago. This new series begins with People of the Morning Star, a saga of the Cahokian people. Cahokia was an enormous city that “at its height, covered more than six square miles around what is now St. Louis.” Ancient people often packed up and moved to the great city. The Gears have captured the awe-inspiring qualities of this early civilization with their usual skill. Well researched, the couple weave the spiritual resurrection of the Cahokian ‘Morning Star’ who is reborn in the body of Chunkey Boy.
The Morning Star’s Clan assumes coveted positions in Cahokia. But, with power comes envy. As with all ruling classes, there are those who would challenge the divine Morning Star and his family. While he is instrumental in this brilliant tale of the past, it is his sister, Night Shadow Star, who captured my attention. Widowed and devastated by the loss of her husband, who was killed during a raid on Red Wing Town, Night Shadow Star uses a type of hallucinogenic to descend to the Underworld. She becomes “possessed” by the spirit Piasa. Thus, begins a story of intrigue, murder, mystery, and secrets.
The authors guide the reader through the interwoven lives of the characters, developing every personality and the conflicts they face. Someone is killing Morning Star’s Four Winds Clan members in horrible and violent ways. The Morning Star himself is attacked! As the characters grow and the story progresses, it reads like a detective story from the ancient past. The Gears show an incredible ability to create a political mystery from distant times.
I fell in love with the characters Fire Cat of the Red Wing Clan, and Seven Skull Shield, a rascally thief. Both prove to be unlikely heroes, and along with Night Shadow Star grow into fascinating characters. Set in a colorful landscape of towering mounds and homes, rich spiritual journeys, and life-altering mysteries, this is a story to savor.
I enjoyed this excellent book so much I have already started reading the next book in the series. I highly recommend the book to anyone who enjoys mystery, history, early North American civilizations, and thrilling action.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
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