People of the Nightland

Written by Kathleen O'Neal Gear W. Michael Gear
Review by Patrika Salmon

This is the 14th in this series of novels about American prehistory. Written by a husband-and-wife team of archaeologists who specialize in the history of the first North Americans, and have written 33 novels covering this period, People of the Nightland demonstrates the extent of their specialization in detailing what life may have been like 13,000 years ago in the Great Lakes region.

Ti-Bish, known as the Idiot, kicked out by his own Nightland people, has a spirit dream. Raven comes to him and tells him he is to lead his people through the hole in the ice back to safety and the paradise of the Long Dark. But he is weak and naïve. Nashat, a power hungry Nightland warrior, uses him to reach the position of head of the Council and once there, the trouble begins.

It’s a violent story with lots of gruesome deaths and tortures as the Nightland people under Nashat try to kill off the Sunpath and the Lame Bull People, because they are not followers of Raven but of Wolf. The plot weaves between Sunpath warriors, Dreamers, rebellious or power-hungry Nightland warriors, and strong Lame Bull and Sunpath women all struggling to make sense of the violence and the order to leave their homes. In the end, their fight to survive becomes a fight against earthquakes and the great flood.

Fans of Jean Auel’s novels will enjoy this book.