Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.
This week I’m revisiting one of Zoe Saadia’s books ~ Two Rivers, the first of the Great Peacemaker series.
Having survived the failed raid on the enemy lands, Tekeni had no illusions. He was nothing but an enemy cub, adopted into one of the clans, but not accepted, never for real. To fit in was difficult, to run away – impossible. To get into trouble, more often than not, was the only available option. They did not expect anything else from him, anyway.
However, when a meaningless row during a ballgame grew out of proportion, resulting in a fight, Tekeni has found himself in a truly grave trouble. Neither he nor anyone else could have foreseen the chain of events the consequences of this fight would release, when the highly esteemed but controversial Two Rivers decided to help Tekeni out.
Set in twelfth century upstate New York and South Eastern Canada, the story centres around three main protagonists. Tekeni, who was taken captive and adopted into the Wolf Clan after his father was killed, but has always been considered an outsider. He finds an ally in Two Rivers, an enigma among his people and also on the fringes of his society. I love the way Two Rivers is portrayed and the way his feelings and thoughts which he’s not afraid to express, along with the doubts and resistance against the prophecy, are described.
Two Rivers knows the time for change is fast approaching, and questioning his people’s need to war with each other he advocates a more peaceful existence. The clans are stuck in an endless cycle of fighting with nothing to show for it. Even so, the majority of the clans dislike and distrust what they perceive as Two Rivers’ extremist ideas and principles.
For the first time through the afternoon, Two Rivers’ eyes sparkled dangerously. “You will not tell me what to talk about and where. My ideas may be strange to you, but they make perfect sense, if only you and your likes would deign to actually listen instead of closing your mind to simple good sense.” He shrugged. “And, anyway, I talked no politics. All I did was simply point out that this boy should be treated fairly, as one of us. He has been adopted formally, at the request of the Wolf Clan’s Council. According to our ancient laws and customs, which you are so fond of bringing up every time I suggest a slightest change, it makes him one of us, his origins notwithstanding…
Tekeni’s real troubles begin when a fight with a cowardly bully results in serious injury and Tekeni is compelled to atone with a task unheard of for any lone person never mind someone so young. Two Rivers’ choice to assist Tekeni further alienates him from most other members of the clans.
Tekeni is very taken with the beautiful Seketa, a young girl of the Turtle Clan who proves to be both brave and resourceful, but the path of true love does not run smoothly and Two Rivers, Tekeni and Seketa fight almost overpowering odds as they each begin to realise the inevitability of their futures.
I really enjoyed this first of the Peacemaker series, the man who was destined to form the constitution of The Great League of the Iroquois is an intriguing character and I look forward to following his story. The life and distinct culture of the Native American clans is brought to life vividly and realistically by Zoe Saadia, their politics, everyday life and struggles. Along with the dramas, jealousies and rivalries that can escalate into dangerous situations, showcasing others’ loyalty and courage. There’s some great action and a lovely budding romance.
The basis of the story is obviously very well researched and it combines the facts with an entertaining and enjoyable narrative and the three main characters are strong, very likeable and well defined, drawn with insight and warmth. The fascinating beginning of the Peacemaker’s journey is a really great read.