"The characters are well drawn, and interesting, as is the entire novel, while the author does not shy away from tackling various ‘political’ issues with a fair-minded balanced approach."
“A Native American (Lenape) boy joins Henry Hudson’s expedition up the river that now bears his name, the fearless and visionary—and misunderstood—Dancing Fish doesn’t realize his entire world and way of life are in peril. Enthralled at first by these strangers, he begins to discover their dark and dangerous side, touching off a decades-long struggle against determined explorers, aggressive traders, land-hungry settlers, and ruthless officials. If his own people are to survive, the boy-turned-man must use his wits, build alliances, and draw on unique skills to block the rising tide of the Dutch and English “salt people.” Ambition and fear, love and loathing, mutual respect and open contempt bring Europeans and “savages” together in an untold story of the founding of New York City and the fabled island at its heart: Manhattan.”
This is a big book, not far short of 600 pages, divided into four sections covering the timeline of New York’s settlement by European white men (and women, of course): 1609, 1612-13, 1625-26 and 1640-44. The result is an epic – and fascinating – story of how what is, possibly, the most famous city in the modern world.
The story follows a young Manahate Indian as the colonists from across the salt sea begin to spread and increase their domination. It follows his trust and bewilderment, his hopes and disillusionment, superbly portraying the struggle that the Native peoples endured to survive the presence of the white men, with all the greed for land, dominance and wealth that they brought with them. With a blend of historical fact and imagined fiction, we are immersed in this epic saga of tragedy and triumph.
The characters are well drawn, and interesting, as is the entire novel, while the author does not shy away from tackling various ‘political’ issues with a fair-minded balanced approach.
Despite its length, this was an absorbing read, although, be warned, the barbaric treatment of the Native peoples by the white settlers is utterly heartbreaking.
The author’s notes about what parts of his novel were fact was also well worth reading.