Friday, December 7, 2012

{Review} Coming of the Storm, Book One of Contact: The Battle for America by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear

ISBN #: 978-1439153918
Page Count: 532
Copyright: August 31, 2010
Publisher: Pocket Books; Reprint Edition

Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

Black Shell, an exiled Chickasaw trader, is fascinated by the pale, bearded newcomers who call themselves "Kristianos," and not even the counsel of Pearl Hand, the beautiful, extraordinary woman who has consented to be his mate, can dissuade him. Only after a firsthand lesson in Kristiano brutality does Black Shell fully comprehend the dangers these invaders pose to his people's way of life. And while his first instinct is to run far from the Kristianos, Black Shell has been called to a greater destiny - by the Spirit Being known as Horned Serpent. With Pearl Hand by his side, Black Shell must find a way to unite the disparate tribes and settlements of his native land and overcome the merciless armies of de Soto ...

Mandy's Review:

Hernando de Soto is an American icon. He has been regaled as a great figure in American history. Many things are named after him in the South due to his idolization. If truth be told, de Soto was a monster. He wasn't the first man to land in Florida, but he was one of the worst. He didn't kill to survive, he killed because he enjoyed it. Many Native Americans died at his, or his army's, hands unnecessarily.

Coming of the Storm is the other side of the story. It it told from the perspective of the Native Americans. The reader is able to see through their eyes. How frightening it must have been to be living life as usual only to find out there is a new race of people in your world who are destroying everything you hold dear. I have always sided with the Native Americans. It literally makes me beyond angry to know we, white people, came to a new world and automatically claimed it as ours without regard for the tribes already living on this land. How selfish we are! They say they came in the name of God. God is love. There was no love in the way this country was taken over. It was forceful and brutal. Don't believe me? Where are the Native Americans living still today? On land for Reservations that our government so magnanimously "gave them." (If you didn't hear the sarcasm in that statement, you need to re-read it.)

I'm starting to get off on my rant so let me get back to the book ...

Black Shell and Pearl Hand are both outcasts in their respective tribes. Black Shell was ejected from his and forced to become a trader all because he heard the voice of Horned Serpent, one of their great Spirit Beings. Pearl Hand is an outcast in that she has been passed from tribe to tribe and man to man. She has resigned herself to this continued fate until she meets Black Shell. Together they form a partnership and, ultimately, become man and wife. Together, with the help of other orphaned tribe members, they begin to attack de Soto's men with the goal of killing de Soto himself.

Throughout this journey, Black Shell has had Spirit Dreams. Native Americans believed that Spirit Dreams were only given to the highest priest or shaman in their tribe. It was an honor bestowed upon the most worthy of their clan. Black Shell doesn't feel worthy of this honor. He's shunned from his people. He has no people, so how can he be worthy enough to receive these dreams? Horned Serpent tells him it's because he has no people that he has been chosen. As a trader, Black Shell has been able to integrate and learn the ways of all the Indian people, not just his own. He has learned to respect all tribes and their ways of living. He has learned what it would take to unite them and bring them together against de Soto.

Coming of the Storm is an enthralling beginning to what will be a fabulous series. The telling of Black Shell's and Pearl Hand's story is so vivid with detail. I cannot wait to continue their story with the second book in this series. If you're a fan of historical fiction, then you really need to get this first book. You will not be disappointed.

*A paperback copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Thanks for the review! This series fascinates me, though I haven't yet been able to find a copy, because there's so little literature (both fiction and nonfiction) on the non-Anglo colonization of North America.

    1. You're welcome! I'm reading the second book now. As soon as I've finished reviewing all three books, I'd be more than happy to send them to you for your library. Just email me your address. =)


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