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Precious Metal

William Sarabande

The Sacred Stones: A Novel Of The First Americans

William Sarabande The Sacred Stones A Novel Of The First Americans
 
 




Series:

The First Americans

Biographical note:

Joan Hamilton Cline is the real name of William Sarabande, author of the internationally bestselling First Americans series. She was born in Hollywood, California, and started writing when she was seventeen. First published in 1979, Joan has been writing as William Sarabande for eleven years. She lives with her husband in Fawnskin, California.

Country of final manufacture:

US

Excerpt from book:

Prologue

Thunder in the Sky

"Great Spirit...Grandfather of the People...White Giant of Many Names...hear me. I call to you, I raise my arms, I turn. I set my face toward the four corners of the world, where the spirits of the wind are born and where you, Thunder in the Sky, walk in the flesh of clouds and in the shadowing power of eagles. Behold me: I am Ysuna, Daughter of the Sun, wisewoman of the People of the Watching Star. On this dawn I bring you a gift of life. On this dawn I bring you a bride. May the blood of this people and of Thunder in the Sky be one!"

A shiver of delight ran beneath Ah-nee's skin as she listened to the wisewoman's words. Ah-nee was twelve years old and far from home. But she had been a woman for eighteen moons, and when the sun rose above the curve of the western hills and the daybreak star faded from the sky, she would become a bride.

Naked and glistening from head to toe with oil that had been rendered from mammoth fat and colored with powdered red hematite and ground willow buds, she stood trembling with excitement outside the ceremonial sweat lodge from which she had just emerged. Nai, the young woman who had been her attendant during the past four days and nights of ritual purification, emerged from the sweat lodge to stand close at her back.

"Remember, do not turn around!"

Ah-nee heard Nai's warning clearly even though drums were sounding so loudly that they shook the world.

Nai's command continued in an imperative whisper. "Do not speak! No matter what you see or hear from this moment on, obey in all things. And above all else, you must not be afraid!"

Afraid? Ah-nee found the advice preposterous. Her head went high. This was the predawn of her wedding morning. Why should she be afraid?

The drumbeat was growing even louder. She stood as tall as her meager height would allow, thinking of Nai's words and remembering that the old women of the Red World had warned her that Spirit Rat, Eater of Courage, Father of Fear, would come to her this day. But they had been wrong, completely and absolutely wrong! The sweet sadness that was homesickness touched her. If only the old women of the Red World were with her now! She had not expected to miss them so much or to long for their loving counsel.

She sighed. There was no use mourning for that which could not be. The old women of the Red World were far away to the southwest, asleep in the reed-covered lakeside lodges of her people. For love of a wandering stranger she had spurned their advice, disdained the misgivings of old Ish-iwi, shaman of her band, and resolutely turned her back upon them and their ways. It would be many moons before she would see any of them again.

She took a deep, deliberate breath and succeeded in driving away her recollections of home and loved ones. In time they would realize that she had made the right decision. In time they would nod and smile and admit that she had not been wrong to leave them. In time . . . but now the moment was as sweet as a freshly dug camas root. She savored it as she stared straight ahead, across the Village of the People of the Watching Star. The vast, circular sprawl of tall, cone-shaped, garishly painted hide-covered lodges still looked strange to her. She reminded herself that she had chosen to be there, that she was about to become the woman of the man oCourageous, passionate men and women battle for survival of their clans--in the shadow of the great mammoth who speaks with thunder....



As the massive glaciers fade and the wide seas rise, the warm grasslands of the Americas bring prosperity to the gentle People of the Red World, followers of the Great Ghost Spirit, the White Mammoth.  But farther north, where the harsh dry winds howl, another nation, the People of the Watching Star, are enmeshed with legends of an evil shaman and the man-eating monster called the wanawut.  Relentlessly they have hunted the mammoth to near extinction.  Now, as raiders and ravagers they are coming south to invade the villages of the People of the Red World.  The only ones who can prevent the murder of innocents and the final slaughter  of the mammoth are a young boy shaman to whom the animals speak, a man whose strength equals his conviction, and a woman who hopes that, beyond violence and cruelty, humankind will recognize a stronger power--the force of love.


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