Fire the Sky

Fire the Sky

Book - 2011
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Baker & Taylor
Black Shell and Pearl Hand's continuing pursuit of Hernando de Soto's invading Spanish army is shaped by their assistance in an Apache guerilla war, a desperate race to warn the high rulers, and the vain ambition of a young princess.

& Taylor

Black Shell and Pearl Hand’s continuing pursuit of Hernando de Soto’s invading Spanish army is shaped by their assistance in an Apache guerilla war, a desperate race to warn the high rulers and the vain ambition of a young princess. 50,000 first printing.

Simon and Schuster
New York Times bestselling novelists W. Michael and Kathleen O’Neal Gear have long been considered the foremost chroniclers of early Native American life. Now, in a critically acclaimed, sweeping new series, they recreate the conflict-filled years following one of the first European invasions. Seen through the eyes of a courageous pair of Native Americans, Fire the Sky follows Hernando de Soto’s brutal expedition north from the Florida peninsula as the explorer plunders the heart of a complex and fragile civilization.

An itinerant trader and outcast from his tribe, Black Shell was swept into the Spirit World and returned a transformed man. Now, carrying his white-feathered trader’s staff, he devotes his life to a sacred mission that only the tall, beautiful Pearl Hand—his lover, confidant and wife—truly understands. Black Shell has seen what the incomprehensibly violent, shining-armored invaders are capable of doing to his world and knows that if his people are to survive, he and his “Orphans,” a small band of fierce warriors, must kill as many Kristianos as they can.

After being fought to a standstill by the courageous Apalachee Nation, de Soto has changed his tactics. He will employ promises of peace to accomplish what cannot be achieved by violence alone. Lured by a young man’s tale of gold and aided by an arrogant princess’s treachery, he makes his way through the beautiful southeastern landscape. One by one, the ancient Nations fall victim to his lies as rulers and commoners alike are tricked into enslavement. In spite of the price de Soto has placed on his head, Black Shell shadows the Kristiano advance and finds that his own legend precedes him. Some will heed Black Shell’s strategies of sacrifice and deception. Others will ignore him—and suffer unspeakable horrors as a result.

In this moving, vivid portrait of a lost American civilization and a powerful love between a man and a woman, the Gears illuminate a little-understood time in our history, as this bloody conflict between two peoples hurtles toward an apocalyptic battle that may change the course of the war forever. . . .

Publisher: New York : Gallery Books, 2011
Edition: 1st Gallery Books hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781439153895
Branch Call Number: GEA
Characteristics: 431 p. ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Gear, Kathleen O'Neal


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This book is the second in the Contact series, and it captured me for several days – it was my top priority, after obligations like work. It brought to life Native American history, specifically the history of the Apalachee Nation. It portrays the equal if not different roles for men and women. An interesting and different paradigm where matriarchy is the backbone of society. You should read book 1 first to understand the roles of a married native couple who are prepared to sacrifice their lives to not lose their culture and their beliefs. Viewed by the newcomers as savages and slaves, they struggle to understand that maybe understanding is their only way to survive. Thoroughly captivating. (submitted by JW)

ChristchurchLib Sep 17, 2014

In this standalone sequel to Coming of the Storm, set in the 1540s, Chicaza trader Black Shell and his wife, Pearl Hand, witness the invasion of the Kristianos - led by Hernando de Soto - and their escalating hostility towards the indigenous peoples of "La Florida." Long exiled from their respective tribes, the couple attempts to unite other "orphans" to take a stand against de Soto and protect their homeland. This fast-paced, gripping series continues with A Searing Wind. Historical Fiction September 2014 Newsletter.

Jena08 Jun 26, 2014

This series really opens up the reality of what happened when the first conquerors came over to America. It is filled with love, deceit, violence, politics, religion, sex. Everything! Once you get used to the names of the clans and people it is worth the investment. It will be like no other book series you have read because it is based on historic events.

Jul 23, 2011

the second of the de soto series (about 1500dc). also the first, "coming of the storm" is wonderful

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