Saturday, January 19, 2013

{Review} A Searing Wind by W. Michael Gear & Kathleen O'Neal Gear

ISBN #: 978-1439153901
Page Count: 478
Copyright: March 6, 2012
Publisher: Gallery Books

Book Summary:
(Taken from dustjacket flaps)

Black Shell is an exile, banished by his people for his cowardice in battle. To his fearsome patron spirit, Horned Serpent, however, he is imbued with the courage and keenness to stop the Kristiano onslaught. He and his beautiful wife, Pearl Hand, have fought them from the Florida Peninsula through the very heart of native America. A trader by profession, Black Shell now dedicates his soul to destroying the invaders, with their impenetrable armor, their swift, enormous cabayos, and their flashing, razor-sharp swords.

Black Shell and Pearl Hand have seen the shackled, naked, starving slaves, heard the broken promises - and learned de Soto's plans. While the battle of Mabila cost many Kristianos life and limb, the marauder does not retreat. Now he heads for Chicaza and the people from which Black Shell was once exiled.

Wounded and pursued by memories and visions, Black Shell is obsessed with setting the perfect trap. To do so, he must use the Chicaza and their stockpiles of food and supplies. And he must gamble everything on his people's pride, traditions, and failings. As winter sets in, new dangers abound for the pair - that of a family's shame, a woman's anger, and a betrayal that may force Black Shell to forfeit his last chance to save their world from utter destruction. But, worst of all, he and Pearl Hand must walk boldly into de Soto's camp and engage the cunning monster in a desperate game of wits that will decide the fate of a continent.

Mandy's Review:

If you were chosen to go on a mission that you knew would end in death would you do it? Would you be brave enough to continue on as you see those you love die around you? Would you have the courage to go back to a home that you were banished from and face the humiliation and anger of those who once loved you?

This is what Black Shell faced. Although he was banished from his community and labeled a coward, he was a man of great courage and bravery. There were plenty of times he was scared, but he pressed on because what he was doing was for the good of all his people, not just himself.

Pearl Hand was a well-suited match for Black Shell. Although she had a hard life growing up, being married to Black Shell has allowed her to be the person she was meant to become: a warrior ... which was highly unusual for a Native American woman. Because of the number of Kristianos she murdered, all of the Native Americans considered her as high ranking as a priest or government official. What she said carried weight with the decisions that had to be made among the elders.

In A Searing Wind, Black Shell and Pearl Hand are in the home-stretch of their fights against the Kristianos. Their final mission is to get the Chicaza's help. Black Shell, of course, had to prove himself to his former clan so they knew he wasn't lying to or deceiving them. After he gains their trust, the Chicaza and several surrounding clans join together to defeat the Kristianos.

Do they succeed? What cost will the Native Americans have to pay? Will the Kristianos be knocked down and retreat? What price will Black Shell and Pearl Hand have to pay? Will they both survive this final showdown?

I don't want to end this review because it will mean the end of this series for me. =(  Alas, I know I cannot talk about this series forever. A Searing Wind is the culmination of exceptionally-written period novels that will have you feeling every emotion available. I even cried at the end. I cannot portray the proper amount of importance in my words when I tell you that you must read this series.

*A hardcopy of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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