People of the Nightland: A Novel of North America's Forgotten Past

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9780765352958: People of the Nightland: A Novel of North America's Forgotten Past
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear continue the story of North America's Forgotten Past in People of the Nightland, a sweeping saga of a visionary boy who led his people out of the path of one of the worst catastrophes in the history of the world, and the brave little girl who loved him enough to believe in his dream.

It has been a thousand years since Wolf Dreamer lead his people up through the dark hole in the ice to a rich, untouched continent bursting with game. But the world has changed. Most of the magnificent animals are gone, and the last of the great glaciers is melting, forming a huge freshwater lake in the middle of the world. Over the centuries the People of the Wolf have split into two clans. The People of the Nightland live in the honeycomb of ice caves that skirt the glacier. The People of the Sunpath live in hide lodges to the south, hunting the few remaining mammoths, bison, giant sloth, and short-faced bear.

When a young orphaned boy named Silvertip receives a vision from Wolf Dreamer that their world is about to end, no one believes him--no one except a jaded war chief and a little girl. Led by Silvertip's dream, the three of them must convince both people to leave the land of their ancestors and flee eastward as fast as they can before the Ice Giants destroy the world.

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About the Author:

Kathleen O'Neal Gear is a former state historian and archaeologist for Wyoming, Kansas, and Nebraska for the U.S. Department of the Interior. She has twice received the federal government's Special Achievement Award for ""outstanding management"" of our nation's cultural heritage.

W. Michael Gear holds a master's degree in archaeology and has worked as a professional archaeologist since 1978. He is principal investigator for Wind River Archaeological Consultants.

Together they have written the North America's Forgotten Past series (People of the Morning Star, People of the Songtrail, People of the Mist, People of the Wolf, among others); and the Anasazi Mysteries series. The Gears live in Thermopolis, WY.

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Chapter OneThe Winter of Icebacked Mammoths... His name was Ti-Bish. Most people called him “the Idiot.” He huddled in the lee of the snowdrift and stared out at the pine and spruce trees that rose like dark spears to threaten the star-glazed night sky. Wind Woman howled over the peaks of the Ice Giants and thrashed the dark forests, whipping branches back and forth. A camp of the Nine Pipes band of Sunpath People—down the hill in front of him—lay quiet and still. The people slept warmly in their conical lodges made from pole frames and covered with hides. Ti-Bish could hear the snoring. Somewhere on the far side of the village, a baby whimpered. He didn’t see any dogs. It was cold, very cold. The people must have brought the dogs into their lodges for the night.“They’re asleep,” he murmured to himself. “All asleep. No one will see me.”A tall gawky man with a boyish face and two long black braids, he had seen ten and nine summers. He pulled his bearskin cape more tightly around his skinny body, and hunched against the cold. Doing so pulled the straps tight on the floppy hide pack that hung down his back.On the wind, he heard the rasping sound of feathers shredding air.A bird? At this time of night? He craned his neck to look up. No great bird darkened the stars, but the constellation known as Horn Spoon Village had climbed high into the sky. At this time of year, it indicated that morning would be several hands of time behind the eastern horizon.Surely no one would be awake at this time. No one would come outside, even if they heard a slight noise.He rose and picked his way down the hill, carefully placing his snowshoes. They were made from willow hoops laced with rawhide and bound to his moccasins. If he slipped on the ice beneath the dusting of snow, he would tumble down the hill like a thrown rock. At that commotion, however, the entire village would wake and come looking for the intruder.He eased into a spruce grove. Amid the dark branches, needles rattled and he could smell human waste. Snow had piled around the trunks. The shadowed hollows of the drifts gleamed dark blue, while the cornices shone purple.He listened for ten heartbeats, then carefully picked his way down the slope toward the shell midden.The people of Nine Pipes Village collected freshwater mussels from the nearby lakes and rivers. He lifted his nose and could smell the new shells they’d thrown on the midden.“No one will care,” he whispered. “They’ve already eaten their fill.”He crept closer and heard something pecking. Talons scratched on shell.Ti-Bish cocked his head. He had a sudden affinity for the scavenging night bird. “We are all the same when it comes to hunger,” he whispered softly, feeling the rightness of it.He removed his mitten, pulled his pack around, and felt inside. His cold fingers located one of the stones, and he pulled out his bolo, a contraption of three rocks that dangled from thongs. The light of the Blessed Star People reflected from the snow with a faint pale glow. He might be able to see well enough to ensnare an owl. The thought of warm meat made his empty belly moan.Wings flapped again.He crept downwind of the shell midden, praying Wind Woman would keep his scent from the owl. When he reached the edge of the midden, the shells glittered faintly in the starlight. He got down and crawled forward with the silence of a dire wolf on a hunt.A caw erupted, then several more.Ti-Bish frowned. A raven? Scavenging in the middle of the night? He’d never seen or heard of such a thing. Perhaps the bird, too, was starving?He fought the urge to rise, to rush around the midden and cast his bolo in one desperate gamble for food. No, way too risky. Ravens were very smart.Sliding forward on his belly, Ti-Bish could see the bird feasting on the fresh shells at the base of the midden. The raven was big, black as night, with eyes that glowed silver in the star gleam.Raven stood on a mussel shell, grasping it with his feet, and used his beak to tug out a stubborn bit of meat. Tossing his head back, he gobbled the morsel down, and went back for more.Ti-Bish took a deep breath, rose on his knees, and judged the distance. He lifted his bolo by the center knot, letting the stones hang.Raven stopped eating.Ti-Bish froze.Raven cocked his head and searched the midden for predators.Ti-Bish waited, hoping his belly would not moan again and give away his position.For long moments, he remained still, not even breathing, while Wind Woman battered the forest. Cold began to sting his exposed fingers. Raven’s fears eased, and his black beak lowered to flip empty shells this way and that. The clawed feet skittered on the uncertain footing.With the noise as cover, Ti-Bish drew back and flung his bolo. He put all his strength into the cast, hearing the thongs swish wickedly through the silent air. Raven let out a sharp cry, leaping up as the bolo caught him at midbody, pinning his wings to his sides. He flopped over, and cawed in terror. His frozen puff of breath hung in the air before it was swept away by the wind. Ti-Bish raced forward as Raven clawed to his feet and tried to run.“Please, my brother, I’m starving!”He chased Raven over the icy shells, his snowshoe-clad feet slipping and sliding. He made a mad leap, arms out, his body thumping in the snow. He caught a foot, pulled, and got a grip on a partially extended wing.Raven squawked and pecked at Ti-Bish’s fingers when they went tight around his black body.“Forgive me, Brother,” he said as he grasped Raven’s neck and twisted, surprised at how strong the creature was. The feathers were warm against his chilled fingers, and for a moment, Ti-Bish marveled at the life pulsing under his grip. Then, with a final wrench, the vertebrae snapped.Raven’s body twitched and jerked, the wings desperate for the air. The feet kicked, and the long black beak clacked woodenly.Ti-Bish sighed, sinking back on the snow. For a moment, all he could do was stroke the sleek black feathers. Glancing at the village, he half expected to see people ducking out of the lodges, hear dogs barking, and calls on the night.The world had turned suddenly silent; even Wind Woman held her breath.Raven is a Spirit Bird!That memory sent a shiver up his spine. What would come of killing a Spirit animal? He could imagine the look of consternation on the faces of the Elders, see the horror reflected in their eyes.But they dismissed me long ago. He stared down sadly at the raven, carefully stroking the feathers, marveling at the warmth beneath. He had never liked killing. The destruction of beauty had always upset him.“Isn’t there a better way, Raven? Do we have to kill to live?”He unwound his bolo, stood, and carried his prize back to the forest. Behind the screen of trees, he nestled in the lee of the snowdrift, partially sheltered from Wind Woman as she resumed her relentless blow.“I’m sorry I had to kill you, Raven,” he whispered as he continued to pet the feathers. “But I’m starving, too. Thank you for your meat.”Drawing a stone knife from his belt pouch, he slit open the bird’s belly and cut out the internal organs first. The heart, liver, and kidneys he ate in single gulps.Ti-Bish drank the blood that had pooled in the stomach cavity and then peeled back the skin—feathers and all—and gently laid it to the side. Using his teeth, he tore the meat from the bones as fast as he could and swallowed it.When he’d finished, he tucked Raven’s bones into the empty skin and carried it to a nearby tree. When he found the right branch, he placed Raven in the crook where the bird’s soul could see the sun rise. His people—the People of the Nightland—never left the bones of animals they’d hunted on the ground. To do so was disrespectful. If animals were killed with reverence, the creator, Old Man Above, would send a new body for them, and their Spirits would enter it and fly away again.“Thank you, Brother,” he said softly.He leaned his forehead against the trunk of the tree and took a deep tired breath. He’d been scavenging this shell midden for several days, but had found little to chase away his hunger.Yesterday, one of the Sunpath women had brought him food. She’d been kind and beautiful. He’d been hoping she would bring him more today, but she hadn’t. He would linger in the area for perhaps another day, then move on.Lethargic from the feast, he felt too tired to return to the lean-to he’d constructed far back in the forest. A raven had a lot of meat, and his belly was filled to bursting for the first time in several moons. The taste of it lay cloying and musky on the back of his tongue. He placed a hand to his belly as the first pangs lanced through him.“Shouldn’t have eaten so fast.”He walked back into the pines, found a big drift, and began scooping it out to create a snow cave. When he’d finished, he crawled through the narrow doorway and curled on his side. Beyond the entry, snow whirled and gusted across the ground.He pulled his pack close, wondering what he’d do in case Grandmother Lion or Brother Short-faced Bear also came to scavenge the shell midden. With the strength of Raven’s blood warming his belly, he fell into an exhausted sleep.The Dreaming crept up from the cold ground and twined icy fingers around his body....In the Dreaming, he and Raven flew side by side over jagged ice peaks that seemed to go on forever. Deep crevasses rent the ice in places, and long cracks zigzagged away from them like dark lightning bolts. Here, in the Dreaming, he was no longer a weak man. He flew behind Raven with his own black glittering wings.“Look!” Raven said, and tucked his wings, plummeting downward toward a gaping hole in the ice. “Do you see it?”Ti-Bish dropped toward the cavern and floated beside Raven on the cool currents that blew up from the darkness. The air smelled of moss and algae. Water gushed from the mou...

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Book Description St Martin s Press, United States, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. It has been a thousand years since Wolf Dreamer led his people up through the dark hole in the ice to a rich, untouched continent bursting with game. But the world has changed. Most of the magnificent animals are gone, and the last of the great glaciers is melting, forming a huge freshwater lake in the middle of the world. Over the centuries the People of the Wolf have split into two clans. The People of the Nightland live in the honeycomb of Ice caves that skirt the glacier. The People of the Sunpath live Inside lodges to the south, hunting the few remaining mammoths, bison, giant sloths, and short-faced bear. When a young orphaned boy named Silvertip receives a vision from Wolf Dreamer that their world is about to end, no one believes him - no one except a jaded war chief and a little girl. Led by Silvertip s dream, the three of them must convince both clans to leave the land of their ancestors and flee eastward as fast as they can before the Ice Giants destroy the world. This is the sweeping saga of a visionary boy who led his people out of the path of one of the worst catastrophes in the history of the world, and the brave little girl who loved him enough to believe in his dream. Seller Inventory # AAS9780765352958

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