The Gears revitalize their First North American series (People of the Raven, 2004, etc.) with a lively tale of warring clans.
This 13th installment explores the history of the Chaco Anasazi, a 12th-century tribe who lived in northwestern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado, and were known for their great prowess as builders (they left behind five-story buildings and intricate roads). The tribe’s members were divided into castes: the First People, who have always been human, and the Made People, who were said to have once been animals that turned into humans. This division ignites conflict when Ripple, a young hunter of the First Moon People (a Made People clan) receives a vision and is sent on a quest, along with some youths from his village, to destroy his people's arrogant and oppressive rulers—the First People. Opposing them are the Red Shirts, an infamous war band, led by Deputy War Chief Leather Hand, who, in an effort to keep the lower caste clans under control, makes an example of one by performing a heinous act designed to make the others “fear losing something more than just their lives.” The protagonists, a group of young hunters of the First Moon People, are the heart of the novel. Less engaging are the portions told from the point of view of one-dimensional antagonist Leather Hand.
Ends with an epic battle that should leave readers hungry for more entries in the series.