Friday, 5 December 2008

The Spanish Bit Saga #14

by Don Coldsmith
Bantam, October 1990.

The People of the pueblo want only to be left in peace but they are trapped between a band of militant young warriors and the Spanish Hairfaces, who have already shed first blood…

These are evil times for the people of the pueblo. The Spanish padres are trying to force them to abandon their spirit ways. And a powerful leader named Pope is stirring up the young warriors to resist. For Red Feather and the Elk-dog People, who are on their way to Santa Fe with sixteen pack horses loaded down with prime furs to trade, the trail will end in unexpected violence. Red Feather and his son White Fox will be seized and thrown into a Spanish prison. And soon, the safety and the very survival of his clan and the people of the pueblo will hang on Red Feather’s ability to escape.

Don Coldsmith, for the first time in the series, tackles the topic of Christianity being forced on others as the Spanish padres insist the natives abandon their spirit ways and accept a new God. I particularly enjoyed Blue Corn’s struggle to understand why the Spanish could not accept all the different tribes’ stories of the creation of man, why they believed in only their story and wanted everyone to follow this belief or be put to death.

It’s into this dangerous situation that Coldsmith brings Red Feather and his band of the Elk-Dog People. Arriving at the time the powerful native leader Pope leads a large force of warriors in an all-out attack on Santa Fe to drive out, or kill, all the Spanish.

Coldsmith’s tale is a gripping read of mistrusts and fear. The different elements of the story all combine to make for a powerful read.

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