The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby: The Search for Sunlei
Can you hear the sounds of nature? Do you hear the voices of the animals, the whispers of the trees and know when the rains are about the come? Can you foretell the future and events before they happen? What happens when a six-year-old child named Tyoga experiences things many will never learn in a lifetime. The year 1688 the place is the New World. The family the Weathersby’s and the union between them and the Indians cemented for life. When his grandfather rescued Powhatan Chief Opencanecanough in 1622, the Weathersby’s became part of their tribe for life. When his father realized that he had awakened to the sounds of nature he realized it was time to explain how one day he would fulfill what was you might say prophesized for him to do. How will he handle this great power you might say and what will his fate be? The author then describes the Appalachians in such a picturesque manner it is as if you are there with Tyoga going along on the journey with him and his Indian family. When his blood brother Tes Qua Ta Wa (the One Who Opens the Door) is seriously injured and his snared in a trap he manages to stop the profuse bleeding, save his life and protect them both from a group of dangerous marauding wolves. Here lies the beginning of the legend of this amazing young man. The place Colonial Virginia the time period somewhat volatile and the end result will definitely endear you to more than just Tyoga. From the author of The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby comes the Search for Sunlei.
The story opens with Tyoga remembering these events and knowing that he will have to leave his village to find Sunlei and bring her back along with his son. Tes Qua is finally well and with his help he hopes to journey to not only find Sunlei but to stop the massacre set in motion to kill off the British. The Iroquois are on the warpath and they intend to fight for control of the land. Although Tyoga is with Trinity Jane his feelings for Sunlei are so strong that he cannot leave her with the tribe that has her and follows his spirit guide and his heart although the journey will cost many lives, endanger himself and those close to him, Tyoga will use his allegiance, loyalty and friendships stretching them farther than the eye can see to bring back what belongs to him.
As he as Tes Qua and their male servant Brister start their journey they encounter several Indians that were killed by the Shawnee and told of the impending massacre that has is in motion to take down the British. The Indians had their way of creating their own friction, making deals with other tribes and often wind up fighting their own kind or facing the French against the British or with the British against the Spanish. Differences from the past come to light in the present as the two friends begin their journey but learn from those that have been fatally injured that they must separate. As Tes Qua heads for the military camp to alert them of the impending attack, Tyoga goes in search of Sunlei. Reminding readers of the rift between them and Chief Yellow Robe and the hope that Silver Cloud might settle their differences we learn of his death, the injuries to Seven Arrows and the true meaning of the word retribution.
Many tribes house Tyoga but before he can move ahead he visit his mother and the harsh words between them cause him to leave. The truth be told and what she feels about his spirit and what has happened to him she relates and rather than hear anymore he goes off into the night leaving her standing alone. Added in the author reminds us of how Tyoga feels for Sunlei and the chief’s daughter Prairie Day. Doubting his power and the spirit of the wolf that guides him thinking it false would cause more deaths. The spirit of Wahaya-wacon lives within him and Chief Silver Cloud states that he would never take a life and he did not kill the sons of Yellow Robe. To make peace Sunlei is sacrificed and made to join Seven Arrows as a peace offering for the children lost. With no choice she leaves the tribe and Tyoga cannot bear to live without her. Cruelties become belief and spousal abuse come back in focus within this second novel. As Tyoga journeys with Whispering Eagle and another Indian friend they wind up in front of Rainbow Otter whose tribe is made up of a mixture of many groups of Indians proving even back then people with differences can work and live together.
Author H.L. Grandin brings Tyoga back to life as we follow his journey to find Sunlei, forms many alliances, leave his life with Trinity Jane and their two children and hopefully return.
This is one interesting novel that brings to light all of the issues I have highlighted and much more. Characters that are vividly described and events graphically depicted. This is one book that brings to light just how far one man will go to find his true destiny. Can you hear the sound of the wind? What are the animals telling you Tyoga? Where will life take you next?
The search for Sunlei leads to unexpected events that will surprise readers. The Promise- gift that keeps his energy going and encourages him to leap many bounds, attack many enemies and face numerous foes as he tries to rescue Sunlei from Quisquis. Learning the truth about his son Wahaya- Wacon he becomes more determined to find her. Talking Tears is his guide to understanding that sometimes he needs to wait as he hears these words: when that which you seek is within your grasp, do not approach foolishly, be patient, wait. Lessons are learned throughout this novel and allegiances are fostered in unlikely places. But, when the final discovery is made and the reality of finding her comes to pass the ending will send tears down your face, chills down your spine and a special warm glow in your heart as one man faces many demons, fights for those he loves and learns that some lessons are not always that easy to learn. Pushing himself to the limit, separated from all that is dear to him when finding Sunlei and reuniting with Prairie Day one request would change it all but not before action is taken to deal with those that hindered his path.
All he wanted to do was protect his people, save the land of his Mattaponi brothers by redirecting the king’s attention to the land of the Iroquois. Hoping that the King would secure a more direct route from the “New World to the Thames, as well as rid the Ohio Valley of the French.” A war whose ending will surprise readers. One man’s determination that will remain alive forever and remind everyone “When you open your eyes, it will be as if you are experiencing the world for the first time. Don’t be afraid.” As his father spoke those words to him Tyoga remembers them as he forges ahead to find his way back to his family and hopefully his life.
From the moment Standing Bird relates what happened and he learns that the French and Iroquois know about the British army coming to attack them Tyoga is determined to stop what has already been put in place. From As Tes Qua heads to Albany to warn the British the welcome is not what you might expect. While Tyoga goes to Kanaitaro hoping to find Sunlei. An ending that will draw to close many chapters in many lives but how? A young girl whose destiny was decided by fate and whose life would never be the same as one request would make all the difference in the world and some decisions are taken out of many hands.
What is the final fate of Sunlei? Where does Tyoga wind up? What about his son? Will life be the same for him? What about Trinity Jane? The Legend lives on but how and who holds the key to continuing what he started? Author H.L. Grandin adds realistic situations, teaches us many different Indian words, many customs but most of all takes us back in time to a time period when Indians and white men needed to find a way to co-exist in this world. Think about Rainbow Otter and her tribe: Wouldn’t it be great if every world leader could do the same?
Fran Lewis: Reviewer