In Comanche Dawn Mike Blakely does for the Comanche nation what Ruth Bebe Hills did for the Sioux in Hanta Yo. This landmark novel is the first time the story has been told from the point of view of the Comanches themselves. We witness the rise of one of the most powerful mounted nations in history through the eyes of a young warrior named Horseback.
Born on the very day that the first horse comes to his people, Horseback matures into a leader of unquestionable courage and vision. He assumes powerful medicine granted to him by spirits encountered on a grueling vision quest, and he takes Teal, the most beautiful young woman of his tribe, as his wife and lifelong love. Guided by forces more powerful and dangerous then even he can control or explain, Horseback will face death time and time again with only his medicine and Teal to stand beside him.
Failure will mean destruction not only for himself, but for his people. Success will mean unimaginable wealth for his new nation. Ancient enemies will seek to destroy him. Strange newcomers with pale skin and treacherous ways will attempt to enslave him. Even his own inner spirit powers threaten always to consume him, should he fail to respect them. Only the bravest of True Humans dare to follow Horseback on his great adventure down a trail that can lead only to glory or annihilation.
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Blakely (Too Long at the Dance) turns, in this vastly researched new western, to a pivotal time in Native American history, when the advent of the horse completely transformed the life of the Comanche people in the space of one generation. When Born-on-the-Day-of-the-Shadow-Dog (named for the appearance of the strange creature that wandered through his village) entered the world in 1687, the Comanche were still part of the Shoshone people. Shadow is imbued with the spirit of the mysteriously beautiful animal that came with the "Metal Men" (the Europeans); he becomes the best rider among his people, earning a new name, Horseback. Masters of the horse, the Comanche separate from the Shoshone, migrating South from Wyoming in pursuit of the buffalo, and a new tribe is born (the "dawn" of the title). Blakely tells the story from the point of view of his Native American protagonists, depicting fierce intra- and intertribal conflict as the natives struggle to accommodate the presence of Spanish and French foreigners and missionaries in a land that was once theirs. The book reads briskly despite its length and is leavened with much Comanche lore; a glossary of Comanche/Shoshone words is included.