Winter of the Metal People
Despite the fact that so many public buildings, parks, and monuments throughout what is today America’s Southwest bear the name “Coronado,” Francisco Vásquez de Coronado’s 1540 expedition into that area was anything but successful. Searching for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold as far east as modern-day Kansas, Coronado’s expedition of Spanish conquistadores and their Aztec allies ran into the Puebloan tribes. Although the Spanish government had policies demanding the humane treatment of Indians throughout New Spain, Coronado’s foundering expedition treated the Puebloans ruthlessly in order to obtain food, clothing, and shelter. As a result, Coronado’s men became embroiled in a two-year-long war that eventually ended with the Spanish withdrawal back into Mexico; it would be almost fifty years before they returned.
Herrick fully enters the minds of his historical Spanish and Puebloan characters, showing the cultural and religious differences between the two cultures that would inevitably lead to the first Indian war. There is a saying that history belongs to the victors, so while much of the Spanish story is based upon historical written documents, the author had to imagine the Puebloans’ story. But his research is well founded, and what results is a balanced novel that expresses the worldviews of both sides and relates it in an exciting and interesting manner. This novel is highly recommended for those interested in the history of the American southwest and its native peoples.