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Storykeeper
     

Storykeeper

4.1 22
by Daniel Smith
 

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"A stunning novel and a joy to read" Helen Hollick, Managing Editor
- Historical Novel Society (Editor's Choice)
"Smith writes fluidly, and the society he depicts is intriguingly complex."
- Kirkus Reviews
"Steeped in immediacy and vivid detail." D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
- Midwest Book Review

Overview

"A stunning novel and a joy to read" Helen Hollick, Managing Editor
- Historical Novel Society (Editor's Choice)
"Smith writes fluidly, and the society he depicts is intriguingly complex."
- Kirkus Reviews
"Steeped in immediacy and vivid detail." D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
- Midwest Book Review

The first recorded Europeans to cross the Mississippi River reached the western shore on June 18, 1541. Hernando De Soto and his army of three hundred and fifty conquistadors spent the next year and a half conquering the nations in the fertile flood plains of eastern Arkansas.

Three surviving sixteenth-century journals written during the expedition detailed a complex array of twelve different nations. Each had separate beliefs, languages, and interconnected villages with capital towns comparable in size to European cities of the time. Through these densely populated sites, the Spanish carried a host of deadly old-world diseases, a powerful new religion, and war.

No other Europeans ventured into this land until French explorers arrived one hundred and thirty years later. They found nothing of the people or the towns that the Spanish had so vividly described. For those lost nations, the only hope that their stories, their last remaining essence will ever be heard again lies with one unlikely Storykeeper.

~~~
Praise for Storykeeper, winner of Best Indie Book Award 2013

"In alternating chapters, three narratives unwind: the conquest Taninto witnesses, the flight Nanza endures, and the remembrances Manaha struggles to share. In the process, the history of a nearly forgotten people is imagined, or reimagined. . . . A glimpse into a culture until now kept solely in the prison of the past." - Kirkus Reviews

"It takes a master artist to create a picture of such perfect detail that it looks like a photograph. Smith paints this amazing picture with words, and indeed is himself a storykeeper. To translate a culture that is unfamiliar with such accuracy and poetry is a great achievement." Helen Hollick, Managing Editor - Historical Novel Society (Editor's Choice)

"A saga of revenge, bribery, political bargaining, death and disease, it's a novel that's surprisingly succinct for its subject, rich in its detail, and highly recommended for historical fiction readers who want so much more than a casual pursuit." D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer - Midwest Book Review

"The book's images, enhanced by objective historical writing are portals into the distant past, sometimes humorous, often heartbreaking, but always illuminating." Fred Petrucelli - Log Cabin

"Storykeeper, is a tender, poignant, powerful story of a people's strength, endurance and history. Smith not only turned his research of those days of Hernando De Soto in the 1500's into a story that honors the Indians that lived through it, but created a lesson on the importance of storytelling." Tammy Snyder - Arkansas Book Reviewer

Editorial Reviews

Staff Reviewer
"'A man without a story is one without a past,' Smith writes, 'and a man without a past is one without wisdom.' By the time readers have wandered freely through the strange realm of the Storykeeper, they may well find those words more prophetic, and more powerful."
D. Donovan
"Storykeeper is a complex read . . . With both perspective and time in flux, readers are carried along on a historical and cultural journey that, while compelling, requires attention to detail: not for those seeking light entertainment, it's a saga that demands - and deserves - careful reading and contemplation."
Helen Hollick
"I was not only entertained by this book, but educated about a period of history of which I knew nothing. I loved the chapter structure which has a rhythm of its own, all wrapped in an attractive and appropriate cover. I have no hesitation in recommending this book no matter where your historical interest may lie. I give it 5 stars!"
S K
"I love this story, and I applaud Daniel A. Smith on his diligent research. Smith writes some strong characters in this gripping story. Every human emotion is engaged, and at times I felt like I was right there with Manaha and the tribes who fought against DeSoto. Superbly done. I'm sure I will be reading this book again."
Kathy Davis
"Smith has created a wealth of history and culture that will make you weep. Creating words and phrases with a poetic sense, building a feel for Native American culture that feels so genuine and, yet, is eminently readable."

Product Details

BN ID:
2940149830831
Publisher:
Daniel A. Smith
Publication date:
07/17/2014
Series:
Nine-Rivers Valley , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
214,126
File size:
723 KB

Meet the Author

Daniel A. Smith is currently working on the second novel of his “Nine-Rivers Valley” series set in the 16th and 17th centuries a little-known but pivotal period of America’s earliest history. As a sound engineer Daniel has traveled across all 48 continental states and five provinces of Canada, working behind the scenes to entertain, inform, and observe all manner of audiences, but he prefers to live, roam, and write in Arkansas with his life-long friend and wife.

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Storykeeper 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
gman3806 More than 1 year ago
In 1514 Hernando De Soto lead a Spanish army on an expedition through Arkansas. This historically accurate account of the impact on the local native Americans is anything but dry. The story is told told through three separate timelines. Taninto is a young indian living in Casqui, an indian village along the Mississippi river. He lived through the arrival of Hernando's army and followed it through its exploration for several years. The second timeline commences when Taninto discovers a young girl of 14 named Nanza. left for dead in a shallow grave when she developed small pox (a deadly disease brought by the Spanish for which the Indians had no immunity). The third timeline is an old woman, Manaha, who is the story teller. Manaha is actually retelling stories told to her by Taninto. A really interesting read that brings history to life and leaves you with a true feeling for the impact these explorers had on the lives of the native Americans. Enjoy.
ArkansasBookReviewer More than 1 year ago
The Hachia people, one of the last surviving tribes of the ancient nations of the Nine-Rivers, do not speak of the history, the disgrace, that took away their strength, leaving them weak and hiding, now, at the foothills in the Mountains of the Ozarks of Arkansas. Despite this, Manaha, Mother of None, receiving a dream that renders her arm useless, and in which she is told to share her stories in order that her arm may be restored, goes before the council proclaiming her wish to do so at the village fire, but is forbidden. Only outside of the village is she allowed. Each evening after lighting her story-fire, when the listeners have arrived, remaining hidden in the shadows for fear of punishment, Manaha tells her story. Her tale is one once told to her, long ago, by Taninto, the man she knew as Grandfather. It was his tale told to her as they searched for her people, the Palisema. A people she never knew. He told of finding Manaha as an infant, his naming her Nanza, and raising her. He also spoke about his own life, from the time he was a young man until an old one when he found Nanza. The story he tells of his youth speaks to the ruin of many a nation when the Spanish came and desolated them. It was the time of Hernando De Soto, known by them as the Son-of-the-Sun. A man once highly regarded by Taninto’s tribe, De Soto soon brought death and destruction and changed the world in that area forever. When tragedy once again finds the Hachia people and they have no choice but to move on, Manaha, first declining, decides to follow instead. There is one who needs her storytelling to continue. The once forbidden story, the disgrace of their people, must be told – never forgotten. And now a new generation will know through the Storykeeper. Daniel A. Smith’s, Storykeeper, is a tender, poignant, powerful story of a people’s strength, endurance and history. Smith not only turned his research of those days of Hernando De Soto in the 1500′s into a story that honors the Indians that lived through it, but created a lesson on the importance of storytelling. This remarkable novel has won the 2013 Best Indie Book Award, and deservedly so. Every year, five Indie authors in the US are chosen for this award and this year, Daniel A. Smith was a recipient. Congratulations Daniel! You deserve it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This well researched novel weaves the history of the early Arkansas natives confronting the invasion of Hernando de Soto, as well as the importance of passing the stories of your life and your people from one generation to another. As a native Arkansan living in the Ozarks, I enjoyed Mahana's travels through creeks, mountains and rivers that I have traveled myself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book! Much research was done by the writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
More than I expected. Best I have read in a very long time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book held my interest all the way through. I could hardly put it down and was late for two appointments because of it! I rarely read a book a second time, but this one I am saving and looking forward to a re-read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fairly different book and very enjoyable. I couldn't wait for each story to begin.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by J. Aislynn d'Merricksson for Readers' Favorite Storykeeper by Daniel Smith is a beautifully woven tale of stories nested inside stories. It is a tale of times long past and peoples long gone. Long before writing, stories were kept by shamans, Druids, lorekeepers, bards. They encoded history, myth, legend, and kept a people in touch with their ancestors. Storykeeper threads through the lives of several such lorekeepers, binding them together, even as the stories they tend bind family and tribe and the whole of a people together. There is Tantino, the elderly hermit, Nanza, called Manaha, whom he cares for after her family is killed, and Ichisi, who listens to Nanza tell stories. These stories encapsulate a history of several generations, from the time of Hernando de Soto’s arrival through to the next century. I found this story to be so sad. My training, and one of my big interests, in archaeology is North and South America, and it never ceases to amaze and sadden me the utter devastation contact with Europeans had on the native populations of the Americas. Change is inevitable. It is the only constant and assured thing in life. Everything passes into something other. That's why it is so good to have storykeepers. So we never forget what once was. I enjoyed the amount of research Smith seems to have put into this novel. It is a glimpse into the Americas of a bygone era, into lost names, lost places, and lost cultures. This story reminded me a bit of W. Michael and Kathleen O’Neal Gear’s First North Americans archaeological fiction. If you enjoy historical fiction, especially of early America, be sure to check out Daniel Smith’s Storykeeper.
Jane_V_Blanchard More than 1 year ago
In Storykeeper, Daniel A. Smith creates a historic tale about Native Americans and the arrival of Hernando de Soto. From the opening dream, Mr. Smith drew me into the story of Manaha, "Mother-of-None." In that dream, she is charged to "Give your stories to the ones who have not heard. Become the storyteller your people need." The narrative is about the recollections of an old Native American woman and the stories she heard from Taninto whom she called "grandfather," the man who raised her. Her voice is so well-developed, that I forgot it was written by a man. Mr. Smith's research helped him spin a realistic tale that was as educational as entertaining. Not only did I learn history and something about Native Americans, I came away with an understanding of why it is important to remember the stories of our ancestors. I highly recommend this award-winning book. Though it was not written as a YA book, I believe young adults would enjoy reading this beautifully written book while learning about a part of our history that should not be forgotten. Though Storykeeper is subtitled (Nine-Rivers Valley Book 1), there are no other books in the series. What a shame. I would have enjoyed reading more. Kudos to the writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started and read the first five chaoters but wasnt what i thought it would be.
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Found it interesting and enjoyed it very much. Made me want to visit the area.
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