Fire the Sky

Written by Kathleen O'Neal Gear W. Michael Gear
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In 1540, Hernando De Soto led hundreds of Spanish soldiers into the interior of southern North America. Searching for gold and valuable treasure held by the Native American tribes living in what would later become Florida and Alabama, the Spanish invaders captured, raped, and killed to accomplish their goal. Black Shell and his wife, Pearl Hand, followed the invading army, on a mission to fight and kill the “Kristianos” and warn the tribes of the invasion of the evil soldiers led by the monster, De Soto. In October of 1540, a major battle was fought that would turn the tide of the war.

This novel is Book 2 of the authors’ new series entitled Contact: The Battle for America. The authors have written a number of books about the early Native Americans before the arrival of the white man. This new series tells of how the Native American tribes dealt with the invasion. I have read most of Gears’ books and enjoyed most of them. At times, they emphasized too much of their supernatural religion for my enjoyment, but this book and Book 1 in the series dealt more with the contact problem and less with the tribal religions, although the power struggle between Christianity and the Native American religions play a part in the story.

You don’t have to read Book 1 of the Contact series to enjoy this, but I would suggest you do so because of the character development. The Gears are very good writers, with well-researched descriptions of the food, fauna and flora. Because they do anthropological research, they know their subject. I would highly recommend this book to those who enjoy reading about the early Native American culture or want to learn more about how these tribes managed to survive the senseless killings and contracting the deadly white men’s diseases.