Kathleen O'Neal Gear & W Michael Gear

Welcome to the online home of best selling authors Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W Michael Gear.

W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear are best selling authors & award winning archaeologists who have written over 60 books.

Dear Readers:

We know that most of you are aware that Coming of the Storm will be published in February of 2010.  The good folks at Pocket Books asked us for a short marketing piece.  Since we have been receiving numerous questions about the new series, we thought you might be interested in a preview.  So, here it is, just like we sent to New York.

CONTACT: THE BATTLE FOR AMERICA—THE COMING OF THE STORM.

Coming of the Storm important because one out of five Americans claims Indian ancestry--from the mythical to full-blood. If you are one of that 20% this novel is about your heritage. But then without the first white guys, the rest of us wouldn’t be here either, so the novel has relevance for all of us.

Here’s how Coming of the Storm shatters the mythic de Soto: No other single European killed as many native people as de Soto.  His name deserves to be included with the great war criminals and genocidal maniacs of history. The guy was 16 when he burned his first man alive!  At Napetuca he killed hundreds. At Mabila he killed thousands.  And that doesn’t include the thousands he worked to death in chains, or had savaged by his dogs. Why then do we have counties, parks, elementary schools, and highways named after him?

What did de Soto destroy?  He cut a swath through a series of Native American nations that spanned the Southeastern US. We call these peoples Mississippian moundbuilders.  Moundbuilding cultures had existed for almost 6,000 years when de Soto arrived. Unfortunately for them, de Soto showed up during a “dark ages” following a climatically induced collapse in the 1400s. He records small states, what anthropologists call polities--or collections of small cities that control large territories. Many of these were ruled by kings and queens; and all had elaborate art work, agriculture, sophisticated religion, and thriving international trade. Despite de Soto, the “Five Civilized Tribes” of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole would survive.

Pocket Books has contracted for three novels in the CONTACT: BATTLE FOR AMERICA series dealing with de Soto.  The fact is that our native peoples defeated the most sophisticated military invader this country had ever seen.  They destroyed de Soto’s army, supplies, and mobility, a feat that not even the Inca could match. The big myth is that Europeans always won. Actually, our native Indians won most of the early rounds.  It’s something that every American should be proud of, and in Coming of the Storm, we tell that story.

The major characters are Black Shell, an outcast Chickasaw trader.  These traders carried goods throughout the Southeast, packing ritual plumage, drugs, medicines, jewelry, and luxury goods such as copper.  Much of the freight was carried by pack dogs, or by canoe. The woman he falls for is Pearl Hand, what we would call a courtesan. She’s beautiful, smart, and has been everywhere.  While her mother was a North Carolina Chicora, her father was one of Ayllon’s Spaniards, so she speaks some of the Kristiano language.  We chose two such widely traveled characters for the breadth of interpretation they’d give the reader about the diverse cultures inhabiting the Southeast.

We want to make the following points:  Coming of the Storm is an entertaining and exciting read. It will change the way you think about our nation and its indigenous peoples. You’ll discover America’s fascinating and sophisticated Indian nations. The whitewash of Hernando de Soto is ripped away. And finally, if you like great, heartwarming, dogs, this is your book!

We hope you enjoy the story.  It was really fun to write.

Regards,
Michael and Kathleen