Shadow of an Indian Star – Molly’s Reviews

Qualification: Shadow of an Indian star

The revision

When sixteen-year-old Smith Paul walked away from his North Carolina home in the dark of a September night in 1824, he had little awareness of how his rash behavior would shape not only his immediate life but that of generations to come. The lonely young man who found life unbearable living in a home with a newly married and widowed father, a cruel stepmother and a lonely sadness for his mother lost by a prolonged death; He soon learned that life on his own was also full of pain. Several of the people Smith met for the first time were not only cruel and unreliable; they were also often common thieves and sometimes thoughtless murderers. Smith was fortunate to meet Hezekiah Burkitt, a knowledgeable black man, who taught him the secrets of the fur trapper trade. The death of Burkitt and his donkey, Scrap Iron, at the hands of conspiratorial traffickers, led Smith into a desperate race for his own life.

A chance encounter with an Indian trapped in the jaws of a huge bear was the catalyst to propel Smith Paul into a life that he had not sought, that he had not wanted, and that shaped not only his destiny but that of those around him. Book one of the three-part narrative continues Smith Paul progressing from that chance encounter with Ja-Paw-Nee to the expulsion of the Chickasaw from their ancestral lands and into Indian Territory. Smith, named Ikhimilo for his brave face when attacking the bear hell-bent on attacking Ja-Paw-Nee, lived with the Chickasaws in Mississippi until 1838, when the people of Yaneka Village began their walk along the Trail of Tears. It is during the journey that Smith meets an old nemesis, this time however, Smith Paul is no longer a young man of sixteen and the meeting has a very different outcome. Book One continues the narrative in Indian Territory, the death of Reverend McClure, the white man who came to preach the gospel to the Chickasaws and stayed behind to become the area carpenter, Smith’s marriage to the woman he adores and his young family beginning their life in Indian Territory.

Book Two opens in 1858 when the Smith Paul family becomes known, prosperous, and influential in the valley that is still called Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. Smith’s eldest son Sam is disappointed when he returns from a campaign as a scout for G. A Custer. Sam buries his brother and begins a rise to power, political and personal over the years. Sam borders the edge of legality and brutality, marrying more than once, fathering children in and out of wedlock and not proving to be a great husband or father most of the time. Nonetheless, he is a nice character. Sam’s ability to see beyond the present and the cruelty of the federal government and the greed of those in power propels him politically forward despite all obstacles.

Book Three begins in Santa Barbara, California in 1890. Smith is now eighty-two years old, remarried after the death of his beloved wife, and handed over his business to his heirs. He leaves the territory to start a new life in California with a new wife. When his grandson Joe shows up in California after a fight with his father, Smith decides it’s time to go home. He persuades Joe to join him, but doesn’t tell anyone that they are coming. If Major Paul had. the story could have been different for the family. The gap between Sam and Joe Paul cannot be fixed even as Paul’s story continues with more upheavals, marriages, births, deaths, and life.

The Paul writers have produced an entertaining and compelling read based on both research and family tradition. The Smith Paul story is easy to read, well written, and very enjoyable. The writers state ‘This is a work of fiction. The names of the main characters, places and events are not the product of the authors’ imagination. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, commercial establishments, events or places is purely intentional. This is the story that Bill Paul’s grandfather told him.

As a lifelong reader of historical facts, social customs, and just plain good books, I found Shadow of an Indian stardifficult reading at times. Reading the massacre of Scrap Iron and Burkitt saddened me enormously. Whether this incident was based on imagination or fact, the reality is that similar cases occurred in those days and that is what makes the sketch compelling. I enjoyed the narrative as a whole, I found the inclusion of several news clips taken from the newspapers that were added to the story, and I wish I had seen a photo or two of the main characters added to the work.

Shadow of an Indian starIt will be a great addition to home pleasure library, high school and college library, homeschool, high school reading list and for those who like a well crafted book full of characters Lustful and realistic, lots of action and direct language. Realistically portrayed brutal death, human emotion and depravity are portrayed with a delicate hand.

As a bonus, the writers manage to portray a vigorous and friendly group of people in forceful language without resorting to graphic sex or profanity. I don’t keep many of the books submitted for review, this is one that I will keep.

I enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.

Reviewed by: molly martin 20+ year classroom teacher

Genre: Biographical / Historical Fiction

Author: Bill Paul, Cindy Paul Bill Paul PO Box 250 Stratford, OK 74872

Publisher: Austin, TX Synergy Books, 2005 2100 Dramer Lane, STE 300 Austin, TX 78758

ISBN: 097559222X

Compelling read … Highly recommended … 5 stars

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