Listening to the news it seems to be centered around shootings of large magnitudes within many countries and here in the United States. California is the latest to be struck with a mass shooting killing many young people in a College Bar. Take a trip back in time when the Indians rules the roads and the forests when the Iroquois and the Wendat matched wits with tomahawks and bows but realized that firepower and guns would bring quicker results when dealing with the enemy. Learn how the Iroquois terrorized and killed anyone in their way and about a man named Brule who tried to temper the situation, speak out and hopefully stop more of the carnage he saw before returning home to his Wendat village. This is part fiction and part reality as we learn about the introduction of guns, the Wendt and Iroquois wars and conquests and we learn just how powerful and destructive guns can be. Meet the people and the lawmakers and Indians of A Land Apart by Ian Roberts.
Brule realized when he saw the 11 bodies killed and the result of the brutality of the Iroquois that he had to speak out to the chief when returning home to find a way to end the wars before they begin. But, listening to their conversation you realize that the chief felt he had nothing to offer but FEAR leaving Brule to decide if he should venture out in dangerous territory, but will he survive?
There are three major storylines within this novel based on fiction and fact as we get to hear Brule talk with the war chief of the Wendat tribe, the shaman who realizes that disease had entered the area and the people need to be removed in order to protect the rest and the talk about whether a peace talk or guns will solve the issues with the Iroquois and their tribe. But there is much more as we get to know more about Champlain, debarred who runs the French camp, the Marquis de Clement and their goal to take as much land to colonize it for France. New France will be Catholic, and no Protestants will be allowed entry beginning to show readers about religious prosecution and the power of the Catholic Church.
Brule feels that if he talks with the Iroquois chief, he might be able to strike a peace bargain and avoid using guns. Is this being naïve, hopeful or will more blood be shed before the final battles are spoken or fought?
Brule and his son Astan decide to take a chance a trek to the Iroquois village to be met with tomahawks, endangered, captured and in Astan’s case tortured until someone comes out and stops what has been set in place. As the wife of the tribal chief stops and deals with the person who is torturing Astan and bound his father, Brule, things take on a different turn, words are spoke and Astan learns just who this woman is and why he never knew his true parentage related to the Iroquois and told he should remain with them.
While this is happening Champlain and the religious group that he has been bound to stay with are deciding just how many territories they want to take in the name of France, what they will do to make sure they are not stopped and the map he has created showing them just how far their lands reach. But, do they understand the importance of his work?
A third plot is a group of clergies that come into the Wendat village under the guise of wanting to say prayers for those that are sick and need help. But, the result of what they appear to be doing as good will allows readers to know what the Wendat tribal leader feels about their false actions. Added in we learn more about what the debarred and his group have planned in order to Baptize more of the people in their new settlements and these critically ill people in the Wendat village. Guns are spoken about between Brule and the Iroquois chief and we realize that sometimes weapons the author brings out clearly and soundly, speaks louder than words.
Brule brought the fur trade to the Wendat and the Iroquois and had the monopoly in the business. He did quite well, and the tribes provided the pelts and made some money. But the Iroquois claimed as did the others that he did not come back to Quebec and some wanted him eliminated. When the leader of the Wendat decided to take out the clergyman who was in appearance only blessing those that were very ill and taking them to the land of the dead, the tribal leader reacted, and they demanded punishment.
The story becomes enveloped in all three plots as Brule realizes that in order to save the Wendat, he, Savignon, Astan and Tonda the war chief will have to venture to find Champlain and make the deal for the guns. Things get strange as the priests Le Charon gets captured by the Iroquois, deBarre will not leave without him, Totiri the Iroquois is relentless, and the final battle scene will allow readers to wonder the fate of many. DeClement demands justice for the priest that was killed, and De Valery wanted the chief of the Wendat punished as tempers flare and lies are in danger. Atsan and Savignon fight along with Brule and Tonda realizing the lives of their people are in danger if they do not meet up with Champlain, make the deal for the guns to help protect them. But, when LeChavon is taken his brother insists that Brule find and free him and things get tangled up in the translation as the author allows readers to see just how devoted Brule and Savignon are to the Wendat, the sacrifices they would both make to protect Astan, LeChevan and Tonda in order to gain control of the guns and not lose everything they fought for. Will the disaster overtake the French camp? What will happen to New France? What about the English will they take it all from them and will Quebec fall?
The ending leaves you wondering who wins the final battle and what the fate of Brule and the Wendat people will be. The Iroquois stopped going after the Wendat village, veered to where Champlain was, and the final battle scenes will keep you breathless, filled with fear and understanding the full impact of what the Iroquois’s wanted to do and the devotion of one man named Brule had for his adopted people. But, what about his family? What about his wife? The author reminds us of how the many tribes fought to keep their land, how the English betrayed them and want to take over what they owned and the French wanting to colonize as much territory as possible and the issues, control, power, greed, overtaking the land, protection, deceit, betrayal and loyalties take center stage in this story part fact, part fiction yet all too close to home today.
Told through the eyes of many we learn the cultures of the many tribes, the fearless battles they want to win, the importance of getting guns and the lengths each side will go to be armed, protected and dangerous against the others. When voices and mediation does not work all that is left if FIRE POWER! Is this the answer? As you hear the voices from the past, see the bodies that have been tortured or hanged in the balance, we come to the present is it that different from the past? When guns win everyone loses! A father who has to choose between the love and safety of a son that has changed from a young teen to a grown man in his actions and thinking, Savignon who just wants to be accepted by the Wendat and part of their tribe, Tonda the war chief that has to prove to himself and to his believe that he is worthy and can defend when needed and one man named Brule that would sacrifice himself, his safety, stand up and stand down when necessary and proved that White Hawk his tribal name is truly a Wendat. Must read for everyone
The story ends leaving us wondering if there is much more the author is going to write and what is the next that we still need to learn about A Land Apart.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ network/MJ magazine