Sun Born

Written by Kathleen O'Neal Gear W. Michael Gear
Review by Nicole Evelina

Sun Born takes readers on an historical and mythical journey back in time 1,000 years to the vast and booming metropolis of the Cahokia Indians. Here, tribes gather, trade, make war and love, and channel the gods in a way at is at one with daily life. Within this cultural mecca, two incarnate gods battle for the future of their people while dealing with the sudden appearance of a threatening enemy mounting a violent overthrow that may see the people of Cahokia wiped off the face of the earth.

This is the second book in a trilogy (after People of the Morning Star), but it can be read on its own. This masterpiece of historical fantasy should be read slowly, to best be able to savor the rich detail and live vicariously through the well-drawn characters, who take readers on an adventure into a civilization unlike any commonly known. The depth of research done by the authors is clear even from the early pages, and despite the imposing length, the epic plot is well-paced. While it takes a while to get used to the unusual names of the large cast of characters, they eventually resolve into realistic representations of a mysterious people. The immersive nature of the story is reminiscent of modern classics such as The Mists of Avalon and Kushiel’s Dart, albeit in a totally different culture.

Having grown up and lived for 37 years in the shadow of Cahokia, Illinois, and visited the famous mounds myself on many occasions, I can attest to the beauty and accuracy of this work. I also appreciated the incorporation of the legendary Piasa, whose image adorns the cliff walls in nearby Alton, Illinois. The next time I visit, I will have a whole new appreciation for this sacred site and its long-deceased people, thanks to Sun Born. Very highly recommended.