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History, Entertaining

By Staff | May 20, 2008

Did you ever hold an arrowhead in your hand?

If you did, you understand the awe that an ancient artifact brings when it’s touched today, centuries later.

Many years ago, someone sat in the dirt and chipped that rock until it was sharp.  He notched a straight twig and fastened the rock to make a weapon. And he did it without power tools, a fancy workshop or a trip to the hardware store. It kind of makes you humble, doesn’t it?

In the new book “The People of the Weeping Eye,” by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear, you’ll read a grand story about arrows and art, war, politics and lower Mississippi culture long gone.

Old White, also called Seeker, didn’t know why he was looking for the woman. He wasn’t even sure where he was going to find her or what she looked like, but when he saw Two Petals, he knew she was the one. Tightly-bound and bound for death, Two Petals was speaking nonsense when Old White used a fake hocus-pocus to rescue her, and they headed via canoe for Split Sky City.

But traveling with Two Petals wasn’t easy. She was a Contrary, so everything she did was the opposite of what she was told to do and she said the opposite of what she meant. Somehow, though, Seeker knew it was she that he needed.

Years before, Trader had fled his home after an unspeakable action. Known as a man with no family and no home, Trader traveled the waters north and south to barter with village chiefs. But now that he had a fortune in copper in his canoe, it was of vital necessity that he quickly move south. When he met up with Old White and Two Petals, Trader tried to keep his secret, but it was as if the old man and the maiden saw into Trader’s souls.

But none of them knew what awaited them at Split Sky City: a vicious war had broken out and the warrior Smoke Shield sought retaliation. Captives had been taken and tortured on both sides and Smoke Shield’s power was growing. While Old White wrestled with a best-forgotten past, Trader confronted his head-on.

“People of the Weeping Eye” is an epic of grand scale, complete with ceremony and warfare, Clan lineage and Clan clashes, torture and love. Author-archaeologists W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear make 13th-century lower Mississippi life come alive in a story rich with detail and intrigue. At the end of this book, they admit that they’re planning a sequel, since this book is not really The End. I can see fans grinning from here.

Be aware that if you’re new to the Gears’ style of writing, it’s going to take a little getting used to. You’ll spend a good amount of your reading time paging back to remind yourself about plot lines, but it’s worth doing. If you’re already a fan of these authors, though, “People of the Weeping Eye” will make you weep with joy.

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