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An itinerant trader and outcast from his tribe, Black Shell was swept into the Spirit World and returned a transformed man. Now, carrying his white-feathered trader¿s staff, he devotes his life to a sacred mission that only the tall, beautiful Pearl Hand - his lover, confidant and wife - truly understands. Black Shell has seen what the incomprehensibly violent, shining-armored invaders are capable of doing to his world and knows that if his people are to survive, he and his "Orphans," a small band of fierce warriors, must kill as many Kristianos as they can. After being fought to a standstill by the courageous Apalachee Nation, de Soto has changed his tactics. He will employ promises of peace to accomplish what cannot be achieved by violence alone. Lured by a young man¿s tale of gold and aided by an arrogant princess¿s treachery, he makes his way through the beautiful southeastern landscape. One by one, the ancient Nations fall victim to his lies as rulers and commoners alike are tricked into enslavement. In spite of the price de Soto has placed on his head, Black Shell shadows the Kristiano advance and finds that his own legend precedes him. Some will heed Black Shell¿s strategies of sacrifice and deception. Others will ignore him - and suffer unspeakable horrors as a result. In this moving, vivid portrait of a lost American civilization and a powerful love between a man and a woman, the Gears illuminate a little-understood time in our history, as this bloody conflict between two peoples hurtles toward an apocalyptic battle that may change the course of the war forever. . . .
W. Michael and Kathleen O’Neal Gear have written twenty-three international bestsellers which have been translated into twenty-one languages. Their novel People of the Raven won the Golden Spur Award in 2005. Separately and together they have written more than forty books. In addition to writing both fiction and nonfiction, the Gears operate an anthropological research company called Wind River Archaeological Consultants and raise buffalo on their ranch in northern Wyoming.