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People of the Longhouse: A Novel of North America's Forgotten Past
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People of the Longhouse: A Novel of North America's Forgotten Past

3.8 13
by W. Michael Gear, Kathleen O'Neal Gear

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Six hundred years ago in what would become the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada, five Iroquois tribes were locked in bitter warfare. From the ashes of violence, a great Peacemaker was born…

Young Odion and his little sister, Tutelo, live in fear that one day Yellowtail Village will be attacked. When that day comes and Odion and


Six hundred years ago in what would become the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada, five Iroquois tribes were locked in bitter warfare. From the ashes of violence, a great Peacemaker was born…

Young Odion and his little sister, Tutelo, live in fear that one day Yellowtail Village will be attacked. When that day comes and Odion and Tutelo are marched away as slaves, their only hope is that their parents will rescue them.

Their mother, War Chief Koracoo, and their father, Deputy Gonda, think they are tracking an ordinary war party herding captive children to an enemy village. Koracoo and Gonda do not know that Odion and Tutelo have fallen into the hands of a legendary evil: Gannajero the Trader. Known as the Crow, she is a figure out of nightmare, a witch who captures children for her own nefarious purposes. No one can stand against her powers—except perhaps the mysterious Forest Spirit whose tracks have crisscrossed their own throughout their journey.

Odion and the other children struggle to survive their brutal captivity. They, too, have seen the Forest Spirit. But like their parents, they can't be sure if the Spirit is a friend—or is in league with Gannajero….
In People of the Longhouse, New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear continue the gripping saga of North America's Forgotten Past.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Gears, both archeologists, tack on another mostly accomplished novel to their meticulously researched North America's Forgotten Past series (after People of the Thunder), this time focusing on the northern Iroquois of the early 15th century. This is a period of strife as tribes fight over resources and take child slaves to replenish dwindling tribal populations. The village of the People of the Standing Stone has been wiped out, and the captive children are sold to Gannajero, a vicious woman who buys and sells children as sex slaves. Among the captive children are the son and daughter of Koracoo, a female war chief, and Gonda, her husband and deputy. As the children are subjected to brutal treatment, Koracoo, Gonda, and two rival warriors pursue them, though their mission is filled with peril. Fascinating detail about ancient customs is mixed in with the bloodshed and torture, and though the plot barrels forward, it dead-ends in an abrupt and utterly disappointing conclusion. (July)
From the Publisher
"The critically acclaimed authors capture the essence of the struggles of the Iroquois and offer their fans another fascinating tale of early North America." ---Library Journal
New York Times bestselling author of Tyrannosaur C Douglas Preston
People of the Raven draws you into a magnificent, sweeping world—America, circa 7300 B.C.—that is so real you can almost breathe in the air of it. It tells a bighearted story of war and peace, love and violence, with a cast of richly drawn characters. This is a novel that will stay with you for years—I guarantee it.
Kirkus Reviews
The Gears (People of the Thunder, 2009, etc.) deliver the latest novel in their First North Americans series, which began with 1990's People of the Wolf. Most of the books introduce a new Native American culture, location and time period, so a reader can pick up the latest installment while having little familiarity with the previous books. As with all the installments, the married co-authors bring their archeological expertise to bear on the story, this time setting the stage with a nonfiction introduction to the history of the Northern Iriquoian people. The story, set around the year 1400, is rich in cultural detail. Odion and Tutelo, young siblings in Yellowtail Village, are captured by warriors from the Mountain People. They, along with several other children, are handed over to a group led by an evil and mysterious witch-woman named Gannajero. Meanwhile, Yellowtail Village's tough female war chief, Koracoo, carrying her legendary war club CorpseEye, and her deputy, Gonda-the mother and father of Odion and Tutelo-are on a dangerous quest, on the trail of the captured youngsters. Critics have often compared the Gears' Native American historical fiction to author Jean M. Auel's novels of prehistoric native European peoples, and those comparisons are not without merit; certainly, fans of Auel's books will find much to like here. The Gears effectively detail the subtleties of tracking and showcase the native people's spirituality and mysticism. Both longtime fans and newcomers will be satisfied. Another fine entry in an ambitious, long-running series.

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Tom Doherty Associates
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North America's Forgotten Past Series
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Read an Excerpt

People of the Longhouse

By W. Michael Gear, Kathleen O'Neal Gear

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2011 W. Michael Gear
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-1557-5

People of the Longhouse
OneThe call still echoed from the depths of the trees.It made Sky Messenger push onward, down the leaf-strewn trail and into the dark filigree of shadows where glinting eyes watched him from the branches. Night was falling. Soon the owls would lift into the air and vanish like smoke on a windy day, but for now their gazes fixed on the strange old man with the limp.He cocked his head, listening. The call was growing fainter. Sky Messenger propped his walking stick and continued on down the trail.He'd first heard the Voice when he'd seen eleven summers. Since that time, the great unrest came upon him every Moon of Falling Leaves. He would be sleeping warmly beneath his hides, his soul walking through springtime meadows with his Ancestors, when suddenly his eyes would jerk open, and he would sit up in bed. It always began as a low keening. When he heard it, he would jump to his feet and dash out into the cold darkness. On and on he would run, as fast as his bad legs would carry him, away from the village and down the forest trails where bears and wolves prowled.Four nights ago, he'd leaped from his hides, breathing as though slapped awake, and known the caller was close. The hair at the nape of his neck had stood on end. From far out in the trees, the Voicecame, clear and crisp, more real than ever before--Odion ... Odion. He'd thrown on his cape, for his old body needed it these days, and rushed outside into the icy woods. It was unlike any human voice he'd ever heard, composed of many notes, like an eerie song. And he knew it, knew the speaker, in the depths of his heart, as he had never known another human being.Sometimes he pursued the Voice all moon long, looking for it as though it were real. Speaking gently or shouting in desperation, he would limp along the trails like a madman. He used his crooked walking stick to probe beneath fallen logs, or stab into holes in the forest floor where supernatural creatures lived; or he would crouch in the underbrush for days, his eyes wide, sniffing the wind for that otherworldly scent he knew would someday be there. Listening. Always listening for that mysterious voice that called him by name, filling him with wild desires and a vague sweet gladness.His obsession frightened his children and grandchildren. His clan had begun to say that he was insane, that he was chasing his own afterlife soul that had wandered away into the forest and become lost. None of that mattered. He knew he had to find the caller and look him in the eyes.Sky Messenger stopped to take a breath and looked up into the overarching branches of a hickory tree. He especially enjoyed these rare autumn evenings when he could stand beneath the trees and hear them snapping and cracking as the night cooled.The Voice faded.Sky Messenger propped his walking stick and held his breath, listening. In the moonlight, the snow-coated trees had a bluish gleam that seemed to radiate outward into the air, turning it liquid and faintly silver. Deep autumn leaves rustled around his moccasins as he cupped a hand to his mouth and called, "Where are you?"He searched the forest until he spied movement among the shadows. Concentrating, he thought he saw a black silhouette, standing tall and straight, its arms open to the night sky. Heat flushed his face. Was it real? Was it a ... a man? Or did it have wings? Black wings that sleeked down its back? Or perhaps the hump was just a bulky Trader's pack?He slowly moved toward it. He was afraid of falling. His old bones had grown brittle, and he knew that a simple broken arm might kill him. As he sneaked closer, the Voice lowered its arms and turned toward him.Odion. Are you coming?For the first time since he'd seen eleven summers he was looking into the dark holes of its eyes. Terror made his hands tremble."Th-that was my childhood name. They call me Sky Messenger now."Hunched over, he limped toward the Forest Spirit, his ancient body aching. Every step was at once a threat and a gesture of love and need. The Voice seemed to sense it. Like all predators, they feared each other. It cocked its head, and its eyes caught the starlight and shimmered as though dusted with quartz crystals.A fleeting instant later, it dashed out into the trees with twigs cracking in its wake."No, wait! Come back!"Sky Messenger stumbled after it, thrashing wildly through the brush, trying to catch up. He chased it straight into a meadow where the starlight reflected so brilliantly from the snow that the Voice's dark silhouette seemed to be floating above the ground."What do you want? Why do you keep calling me? You've been calling me for sixty-five summers."The creature growled like a cornered wolf, its arms extended as though preparing to take flight.In a motion as old as predators themselves, Sky Messenger took a step backward, yielding the moment to his opponent, and slowly began to circle around the tree-lined edge of the meadow. He poked at rocks with his walking stick, and sniffed damp tree bark, precisely like the demented old man people claimed him to be. The Spirit kept cocking its head, watching curiously, and after a time it quieted and lowered its arms. But its quartz-dust eyes remained focused on Sky Messenger, charting his methodical progress around the meadow.It stunned him that the Spirit seemed suspicious and afraid. What could an old man do to harm a Spirit? Then again, maybe it wasn't harm the Spirit feared. Perhaps it was just the way of the chase. Run and feint. Let your prey catch up, then whirl around and snap at it, keep it at bay until the final moment. The final lunge for the throat.Sky Messenger saw his chance and dashed out into the meadow, heading directly for the Voice ... and the chase resumed.Time and again he cornered the creature and tried to force it to answer his questions before it darted away. He stumbled after it in some incomprehensible ancient dance. Was it just a man? Sometimes he thought so. But why would a strong young man let Sky Messengercatch him? The Voice ran until Sky Messenger was right on its heels; then it whirled around snarling. He would never have caught the Voice if it did not wish to be caught. Surely this was some Spirit game.He halted, breathing hard, and let his gaze drift over the brush and trees.I'm here, Odion.He saw it. The Voice stood just ahead, hidden behind a frost-covered dogwood. Its eyes gleamed through the dark weave of branches.Come ... . Follow me.It trotted away, repeatedly looking back over its shoulder, as if to make certain he was still behind; then it disappeared into the forest.Sky Messenger worked his way down a winding forest trail dappled with snow and frost-rimmed leaves, simultaneously fearing and eager for what he would next see."Where are you?" he called. "I've lost you."From the dark depths of the forest came the call--a long drawn-out wail, his name in the voice of a wolf, howled with chilling effect.Sky Messenger's bony fingers tightened around the knob of his walking stick. He was close now. Very close, and he dared not be afraid of what would come. He swallowed hard and limped forward.On the other side of a birch copse, the trail sloped upward to a high point overlooking a hilly country filled with great stretches of forests and shining creeks.Odion.There. On the trail below.The Voice let him get to within thirty paces, and started slowly walking away.Through endless towering trees, Sky Messenger followed, step after step, always twenty paces behind, until Elder Brother Sun rose red over the eastern horizon. As the air warmed, an exotic flowery fragrance wafted around him. His nostrils quivered. He took a deep breath, filling his lungs with the otherworldly sweetness, and his old heart began to slam against his ribs. That scent!In the distance, he saw flocks of birds gathered over a bridge, fluttering, waiting. All along the planks of the bridge, mice darted, their furred backs shining in the newborn light. There were other animals, too. A white-tailed doe, and a lean young wolf.At the sight of the wolf, tears traced warm lines down Sky Messenger's wrinkled cheeks. He had been running from this moment his entire life. He whispered, "Hello, old friend."The Voice stopped dead in the trail and let him advance to stand at its side. Sky Messenger shivered. He understood now.He was answering the last call, walking at the side of the only brother who truly mattered. The brother who had always been there, as unobtrusive as his own shadow, watching over him, fighting at his side on the darkest days."You can tell me now," he said, and took a breath to prepare himself. "What is your name?"The Voice hissed, the sound like a truce being broken by an arrow, and he thought he made out the word Sonon."Sonon?"Yes, do you remember me, Odion?Ancient memories flooded up from behind doors buried deep in his heart, doors Sky Messenger had kept barricaded for sixty-five summers. Behind them monsters still lived and breathed.He shook his head and stumbled backward. "No. No, I--I can't--!"Remember, Odion. You must remember now. It's time.All of the doors he had so carefully guarded vanished, and a sea of ghostly eyes started coming toward him.Shuddering, Sky Messenger sank down in the trail and squeezed his eyes closed. As the monsters surrounded him, terror swept him back in time to that long-ago day when this journey had truly started ... .Copyright © 2010 by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear

Excerpted from People of the Longhouse by W. Michael Gear, Kathleen O'Neal Gear. Copyright © 2011 W. Michael Gear. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Kathleen O'Neal Gear is a former state historian and archaeologist for Wyoming, Kansas, and Nebraska for the U.S. Department of the Interior. She has twice received the federal government's Special Achievement Award for ""outstanding management"" of our nation's cultural heritage.

W. Michael Gear holds a master's degree in archaeology and has worked as a professional archaeologist since 1978. He is principal investigator for Wind River Archaeological Consultants.

Together they have written the North America's Forgotten Past series (People of the Morning Star, People of the Songtrail, People of the Mist, People of the Wolf, among others); and the Anasazi Mysteries series. The Gears live in Thermopolis, WY.

W. Michael Gear, who holds a master's degree in archaeology, has worked as a professional archaeologist since 1978. He is currently principal investigator for Wind River Archaeological Consultants. With his wife, Kathleen O’Neal Gear, he has written the international and USA Today bestselling First North Americans Series and Anasazi Mystery Series.
Kathleen O'Neal Gear is a former state historian and archaeologist for Wyoming, Kansas, and Nebraska for the U.S. Department of the Interior. She has twice received the federal government's Special Achievement Award for "outstanding management" of our nation's cultural heritage. With her husband, W. Michael Gear, she is the co-author of many books, including the North America’s Forgotten Past series (People of the Longhouse, The Dawn Country, People of the Mist, People of the Wolf, among others); and the Anasazi Mysteries series. She and her husband live in Thermopolis, WY.

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People of the Longhouse 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought the book started off strong, but I was severely disappointed with the ending. So much of it was left unresolved. I thought for sure I had missed a chapter. The pacing was also pretty slow until the the very end and it seemed like the author was rushing to finish. It had a lot of potential but ended up being somewhat of a letdown.  
JustMeCJW More than 1 year ago
I had read all of the Gears' "People of" novels, and normally I love them, but this was one only OK. I was turned off by the child rape plot element, I found the story to be very disjointed, and I couldn't seem to warm up to any of the characters. I don't plan to buy or read any more of the "People of the Longhouse" novels. I've started reading the "Contact" novels instead.
harstan More than 1 year ago
During the Late Iroquoian Period around AD 1400, the northern tribes are at war with one another over resources including people to replenish shrinking populations. Most struggle to survive with the constant conflicts, some strive. The People of the Standing Stone are massacred with their village destroyed. The children are sold to Gannajero a brutal slave trader who sells children to other tribes. The People of the Standing Stone's female war chief Koracoo and her spouse Gonda are outraged by the atrocities and want their two kids and the other children rescued. They and two adversarial warriors begin a rescue mission that can only end with death; hopefully they pray their enemies. The latest North America's Forgotten Past tribal saga (see Mississippian period - People of the Thunder) is a great entry that emphasizes time and place just prior to the European contact. As denoted in the nonfiction introduction, the Iroquois are a prime source of American democracy (not just Locke and the Founding Fathers), which adds to the fascination fog an action-packed story line that remains if first gear for most of the historical thriller. Although the climax feels abrupt and rushed, readers will enjoy the insightful People of the Longhouse. Harriet Klausner
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I was very disappointed. This book was very disappointing...far below previous books
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101st More than 1 year ago
As good as all the others
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
Wow a powerful story with intrigue and terror and horror, about the beginning of the reasons why the Iroquois confederacy began and the role of evil in why people begin to ban together to fight it, it is their divisions that make it hard for the individual to remain safe and secure. Very Graphic and Horrific in context.