War Woman

War Woman

by Robert J. Conley, Robbert J. Conley
     
 

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War Woman, a brave, headstrong, clever Cherokee, is believed by many in her town to be a witch. Having heard stories about the Spanish, and believing there is great profit to be made by trading with them, she leads a small band of youths on the treacherous road to La Florida. This journey, blessed with success and marred by terrible tragedy, marks the beginning of

Overview

War Woman, a brave, headstrong, clever Cherokee, is believed by many in her town to be a witch. Having heard stories about the Spanish, and believing there is great profit to be made by trading with them, she leads a small band of youths on the treacherous road to La Florida. This journey, blessed with success and marred by terrible tragedy, marks the beginning of War Woman's own personal journey as she leads her people by example and by guidance through terrifying times.

Author Biography: Robert J. Conley is the author of ten novels in the Real People series. A three-time winner of the Spur Award and Oklahoma Writer of the Year in 1999, Conley was inducted into the Oklahoma Professional Writers Hall of Fame in 1996. He was named Writer of the Year by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers in 1999. He lives in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
YAThe early history of the encounter between the Real People, or Cherokee, and Western Europeans is vividly imagined in this latest saga by a prolific Cherokee writer. Using a few isolated but historically supported discoveriesthe use of guns by Cherokees during the early European-American invasion, the ruins of an old Spanish gold mine in Cherokee country, the building of a Cherokee town on the site of an abandoned village near Jamestown, VAthe author creates a fast-moving novel of how these things might have happened. It is told from the view point of War Woman, a name Whirlwind achieves through her extraordinary skills and abilities during each of the various events. This history parallels Whirlwind/War Woman's development from girlhood to maturity and eventually death. Cherokee beliefs, traditions, and way of life are interwoven throughout the story as the Real People come face to face with the beliefs, traditions, and customs of the invading peoples. This is an excellent novel that features strong female protagonists; there are also love interests and fierce battle scenes. It presents a Native American viewpoint of early American history and offers alternative explanations for some of the archaeological discoveries still not explained completely.Dottie Kraft, formerly at Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Conley (Mountain Windsong, 1992, etc.) continues to recreate and celebrate the history of the Cherokee people in fiction with this episodic, speculative story of War Woman and her adventures in the colonial period.

Young Whirlwind becomes a witch in order to compensate for the ridicule she receives because her father was a Spaniard. She demonstrates her supernatural prowess by taming rattlesnakes and tornadoes. On a self-motivated expedition to open trade between her village of New Town and the Spanish colonists in Florida, she establishes relations with a benevolent commandant; but then her people are attacked by a wicked Spanish captain and his henchmen. Whirlwind proves her war-like abilities and is soon renamed War Woman. Twenty quiet years pass, and then the Spanish, in search of gold, arrive in New Town. The peaceful Cherokee cooperate reluctantly in the quest. Their fear of prolonged contact with the Europeans seem borne out when some of their young men, including Little Spaniard, War Woman's twin brother, fall helplessly into alcoholism. In the meantime, however, War Woman marries one of the Spanish traders, and the two peoples maintain a wary peace. The plot jumps forward again, to the moment when War Woman, now very old, uses her powers and wisdom to help her people struggle against the encroachment of English colonists from Jamestown. Though their victories are satisfying, they are not permanent, and the fate of the Cherokees seems sealed.

Throughout the book, characterization lags behind a plodding plot, wooden dialogue, and little convincing historical detail. The Cherokee are universally brave, strong, handsome, noble, moral, and honest; the Europeans are avaricious, lecherous, crude, insensitive, cowardly, and criminal. There's much idealization here, but very little compelling description.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312193614
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
09/15/1998
Series:
Real People Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.18(w) x 9.18(h) x 0.95(d)

Meet the Author

Robert J. Conley is the author of ten novels in the Real People series, The Witch of Goingsnake and Other Stories, and Mountain Windsong, all available in paperback from the University of Oklahoma Press. A three-time winner of the Spur Award and Oklahoma Writer of the Year in 1999, Conley was inducted into the Oklahoma Professional Writers Hall of Fame in 1996. He was named Writer of the Year by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers in 2000 for Cherokee Dragon.

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