The Long Way Home

Robert J. Conley, Author Doubleday Books $17.5 (182p) ISBN 978-0-385-42621-3
Conley continues the saga of his own Cherokee people (The Way South, etc.) in this stirring tale of invasion and evil that centers around the memories of an aged 16th-century Cherokee priest. Captured by Indians far to the west of Cherokee country, the priest, Deadwood Lighter, is made a slave and eventually sold to a Spaniard who takes him to Havana. There, his new master joins Hernando de Soto's famous expedition through Florida and what is now the southeastern U.S. The Cherokee finds much to be astonished and appalled at in the habits of these strange men from across the water. How can they be so casually cruel to the indigenous peoples they encounter, for instance, and at the same time profess to be highly religious? As de Soto's forces near Cherokee territory, Deadwood Lighter escapes and makes his way home-only to find a society profoundly changed since his departure many years before. Conley, a two-time Spur winner, tells his story, the fifth in his Real People series, forcefully and makes intelligent use of Cherokee history and myth. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1994
Release date: 08/01/1994
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