Coming of the Storm

Written by Kathleen O'Neal Gear W. Michael Gear
Review by John Kachuba

In 1539, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto landed his forces in Florida and began a brutal three-year exploration of what is today the southeastern United States, passing through several states and venturing as far north as North Carolina and as far west as Texas. Most of the Native American nations that he encountered had never before seen Europeans, and those encounters often ended with Native Americans slaughtered or enslaved, their villages destroyed, and their religion and customs extinguished by Christianity.

Black Shell is a Chicaza trader who has been chosen by Horned Serpent of the Spirit Beings to do whatever it takes to stop the advancing Kristianos, the Spanish conquistadores. His wife Pearl Hand is half-Spanish and knows only too well the power, arrogance, and cruelty of the invaders. Together, the two must find a way to convince the scattered native nations of Florida to come together to resist the Europeans. Nothing less than the world as they know it is at stake. But how can they possible defeat the Spanish who have such powerful weapons as armor, “fire-sticks,” swords, and the terrifying cabayos?

The Gears, a husband and wife writing team with strong backgrounds in anthropology and archaeology, are the authors of several bestselling novels about Native Americans. Coming of the Storm, the first book in a new series about Native Americans at the time of European contact, is rich in the Gears’ customary adherence to historical and cultural accuracy while maintaining an exciting and fast-paced narrative. There are occasional lapses in dialogue in which the characters sound more contemporary than 16th-century, but those can be overlooked in this fascinating chapter of Native American history.