I had not read any of the Gears' books in a long while and I was glad, although unsurprised, to find the same richness of setting, characters, and plain, old-fashioned storytelling that I enjoyed before.
For me, the continuation of the People of the Longhouse story is a beautifully savage and savagely beautiful one with all of that that may entail. It is a story of trying to bring peace to warring nations who are seemingly deadlocked in a domino effect of violence where one act breeds retaliation that breeds another act of retaliation.
The descriptiveness of the surrounding scenery, longhouse living, clan interactions/councils, and scene descriptions add to the overall effect, even though some may come across as a touch too brutal for younger readers.
It is also a story of a young girl who is betrothed to the man who is trying to bring about peace among the warring nations as he has ties to all sides. Her story is a minor one but an important one that shows how she comes into a mature view of not only what she has known, but of what could be as she gains a better understanding of her betrothed, his ties, his friends and his vision.
Some readers may find parts of the book a bit dry to read, but when taken into the whole of the story the reading makes sense. The Broken Land is third in the People of the Longhouse quartet (which I think would be better read together as a whole in order to understand some of the past events and how the main characters are tied together, although it can be read as a stand-alone in a pinch) and the 19th book in North America's Forgotten Past Series.
A novel of North America’s Forgotten Past
Twelve summers after the events of The People of the Longhouse and The Dawn Country, the Iroquois nations remain locked in bitter warfare. Atotarho, the cannibal-sorcerer who leads the People of the Hills, schemes to set into motion a cataclysmic battle that threatens to destroy the Iroquoian world. His warriors spread fear and death wherever they go, taking captives and burning villages to the ground.
Only five people are brave enough to challenge Atotarho. Odion, Wrass, Tutelo, Baji, and Zateri, kidnapped as children and sold into slavery, are now grown, and they have forged a desperate alliance that just might be strong enough to stop the madman.
Odion, now a disgraced warrior known as Dekanawida or Sky Messenger, must convince his people that his visions of a great darkness will mean total destruction for all. His friend Wrass, who has become War Chief Hiyawento, and a powerful clan matron, Jigonsaseh, are his only hope. They must find a way to bring five warring nations together.
Bestselling authors and archaeologists Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear continue their retelling of the story of the Peacemaker, one of North America’s most beautiful epics. Dekanawida’s message of compassion and spiritual unity is as powerful today as it was six hundred years ago—perhaps even more so.