PEOPLE of the MIST From "The First North Americans Series" "The First North Americans Series" provides in a series of books fictional accounts of the lives of several groups of per-European North Americans. The time period of the books in this series covers a period from approximately 13,000 years BC to approximately 1,300 years AD. The PEOPLE of the MIST is from the latter period of the time range and tells a story family groups of the Algonquin Indians of the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia, around 1,300 AD.
The authors did a great deal of archeological research for this book. It contains an excellent bibliography for anyone interested in further study on the subject of the Native Americans portrayed in the book.
PEOPLE of the MIST is a book about the Algonquin Indian tribes of the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia, set in the fourteenth century. It is a story primarily about a specific clan, the Greenstone clan and their village, Flat Pearl Village.
The Algonquins were a materlinial society with all property and children belonging to the women. Flat Pearl Village and the Greenstone clan is ruled by an old woman named Hunting Hawk, Her grand daughter, Red Knot, is murdered is murdered in the early morning of the day of her arranged marriage to Copper Thunder. He is a powerful chief of a different tribe. Red Knot loves a young warrior named High Fox, from a neighboring village, Three Myrtle. High Fox is the son of the Weroance of Three Myrtle Village, Black Spike.
Red Knot and High Fox hatch a plot to escape Flat Pearl Village and the arranged marriage to Copper Thunder. They plan to meet early in the morning of the day of her wedding and run away before anyone is able to miss them. Because several of Red Knot's friends know that she plans to run away and meet High Fox, and because High Fox is observed fleeing the scene of the murder, he becomes the most logical suspect. High Fox escapes to Three Myrtle Village where he enlists the aid of a girl, Sun Conch, who also loves him. Sun Conch is not yet a woman but her love for him brings her into the story.
Sun Conch decides the best way to clear High Fox of the charges brought against him is to have an outsider investigate the murder. She travels to meet an old man, a hermit who lives alone on a secluded island. The old man is called Panther and he is believed to be a witch or sorcerer. Panther finally agrees to investigate the murder but only if High Fox agrees to tell him the complete truth about his involvement and if Sun Conch agrees to become his servant.
The story progresses through Panther's investigation and takes turns up many blind alleys and dead ends. In the beginning, each of the major characters of the book is thought to have a motive for the murder. The list of suspects includes Hunting Hawk, grandmother of Red Knot, Shell Comb, mother of Red Knot, Copper Thunder, the husband to be, Flat Willow, another young brave who also loved Red Knot, and of course High Fox, whose running away makes him look most guilty.
Layers of the mystery are peeled away, as the Panther says in the book, like removing the layers of an onion. The cast of suspects gets smaller and smaller as the case nears its conclusion. In the end, it is revealed that Red Knot is murdered to prevent her marriage to High Fox. Several times in the story it is mentioned that incest was the greatest of taboos among the Native Americans portrayed in this book. It is only in the last chapters that it is revealed that Red Knot and High Fox were, unknown to themselves, actually sister and brother. Her murder prevented the incestuous relationship that their marriage would have created.
Shell Comb, mother of Red Knot murdered her. Through previous extramarital affairs both Red Knot and High Fox were born to Shell Comb and Black Spike, Shell Comb also murdered both her previous husband, Monster Bone (Black Spikes brother) and Black Spikes previous wife to hide actual parentage of the children. Black Spike confessed to the murder and committed suicide to hide Shell Comb's guilt in the Red Knot Case.
This was a really good murder mystery. It was fairly easy to read once you got all the characters and their relationships straight. I might try to read PEOPLE of SILENCE in the future. It is about the Anasazi of the Southwest.