PEOPLE OF THE MORNING STAR by W. Michael and Kathleen O’Neal Gear was another absorbing historical story based on the Cahokia Mounds in Illinois. As I read this epic tale about the city of Cahokia and the people who populate it, I’m constantly amazed by the Gears’ ability spin a tale about an ancient society with its myths, rituals, customs, and religion.
This is more than just a historical story based on archeological evidence about the Cahokia Mounds, it’s also a thriller about the abuse of power and spiritual beliefs, family discord, greed, gods, ambition, and vengeance. The characters the Gears created, and the names they gave them, to bring this civilization to life were wonderful:
Lady Night Shadow Star was an intriguing protagonist, an emotionally wounded woman who is possessed by the Panther god Piasa.
Fire Cat the high chief of Red Wing Town, who opposes the leader of Cahokia, loses all and must swear fealty to Night Shadow Star, who despises him because he killed her husband.
Blue Heron, Clan Keeper of the Four Winds Clan, is the woman who’s duty is to keep order among the rival clans, to me she was the master spy of her time, and charged with finding out and stopping the murders of the royal family.
Seven Skulls Shield the thief, vagabond, tough warrior who lives by his own code was the comic relief in the story, and one of my favorite characters.
Morning Star, the living god who’s soul was resurrected in the body of Chunkey Boy. Is he really a living god or a charlatan?
Then we have the enemy who’s lust for vengeance and power is only matched by the depths of his depravity as he unleashes horror upon Cahokia.
One of the many things I enjoyed about this books was the hate/attraction between Night Shadow Star and Fire Cat, the ambiguous relationship between Blue Heron and Seven Skulls Shield and the mystical rituals and beliefs the Gears showed.
THE PEOPLE OF THE MORNING STAR was a fascinating story that took me back through time to experience another civilization that held my fascination and showed me a world not so unlike our own today. I can’t wait to see what the Gears have in store for the people of Cahokia in the next book.