First North Americans

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First North Americans are a series of historical fiction novels published by Tor and written by husband and wife co-authors W. Michael Gear & Kathleen O'Neal Gear. The series, which began with 1990's People of the Wolf, explores various civilizations and cultures in prehistoric North America. It is comparable to Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children series, set in prehistoric Europe, but each of its books focuses on a different time period, location, and set of characters. The first four novels form a coherent, more or less linear narrative, from the initial migration of Siberian peoples into what is now Canada and Alaska (People of the Wolf) through the florescence of the Mississippian semi-urban mound-building culture, considered the "high-water mark" of North American pre-Columbian civilization, around 1000 AD. The remaining novels cover a wide variety of times and settings, in no particular order, ranging from tropical Florida in the 6th millennium BC to the Chaco Empire of the Southwest in the 13th century AD. The novels take into account new developments in North American archaeology such as the discovery of Kennewick Man and the development of the coastal-route model as a possible alternative or supplement to overland migration across Beringia.

The novels generally have a prologue set in modern times, in which archaeologists or others discover ancient artifacts and other remnants of prehistoric North American civilization. The main body of the novel then details the individual lives of those who left the artifacts behind. Although generally well regarded for their accuracy and attention to detail (both of the writers are professional archaeologists) the novels usually contain mystic elements, focusing on shamanistic visions. Protagonists of early novels sometimes appear as dream guides or figures of legend in subsequent volumes.

According to the author's website, future titles in the series will include novels dealing with the Pacific Northwest in British Columbia; the high cultures of the Southeast, including Moundville, Alabama, and Etowa, Georgia; the Hohokam in southern Arizona; the Mimbres in New Mexico; and the Salado in the Salt River basin.

List of Novels[edit]

  • People of the Wolf (1990)--the initial migration of Siberian hunters across Beringia and into Alaska (13000 BC)
  • People of the Fire (1990)--the transition of Native American culture from Paleo-Indian to Archaic, as a result of sudden climactic warming, in the High Plains and Western Rockies region (8000 BC)
  • People of the Earth (1992)--Plains and Basins region (5000 BC)
  • People of the River (1992)--the mound-building Cahokia empire on the Mississippi River (1200 AD)
  • People of the Sea (1993)--the initial development of California Native American culture, as a result of climactic warming (8000 BC)
  • People of the Lakes (1994)--the journey of a band of Hopewell Indians across the Great Lakes (100 AD)
  • People of the Lightning (1995)--the travails of an albino youth in Early Archaic Florida (7000 BC)
  • People of the Silence (1996)--the decline of the Chaco Empire (1130 AD)
  • People of the Mist (1997)--a murder mystery set among the Algonquian people of the Chesapeake Bay region (1200 AD)
  • People of the Masks (1998)--Iroquois culture of the Woodland period (1000 AD)
  • People of the Owl (2003)--the Poverty Point semi-urban culture (1500 BC)
  • People of the Raven (2004)--a speculative fictional account of Kennewick Man, an apparent Caucasoid male who lived in the Pacific Northwest (9000 BC)
  • People of the Moon (2005)--the collapse of the Chaco Empire frontier of the Southwest (1150 AD), from the perspective of a subject people in what is now southern Colorado
  • People of the Nightland (2007)--the melting of the glaciers in southern Ontario (13,000BC)
  • People of the Weeping Eye (2008)--the mound-building culture around Moundville, Alabama (1200 AD)
  • People of the Thunder (2009)--concludes the story begun in People of the Weeping Eye
  • People of the Longhouse (2010)--conflict within the Iroquois nation (1400 AD)
  • People of the Black Sun (2012)--concludes the story begun in People of the Longhouse


  • People of the Wolf (13,000 BC)
  • People of the Nightland (13,000 BC)
  • People of the Raven (9,000 BC)
  • People of the Sea (8,000 BC)
  • People of the Fire (8,000 BC)
  • People of the Lightning (7,000 BC)
  • People of the Earth (5,000 BC)
  • People of the Owl (1500 BC)
  • People of the Lakes (100 AD)
  • People of the Masks (1000 AD)
  • People of the Silence (1130 AD)
  • People of the Moon (1150 AD Concludes Silence)
  • People of the River (1200 AD)
  • People of the Mist (1200 AD)
  • People of the Weeping Eye (1200 AD)
  • People of the Thunder (1200 AD Concludes Weeping Eye)
  • People of the Longhouse (1400 AD)
  • People of the Black Sun (1400 AD Concludes Longhouse)

Recurring terms[edit]

  • Dreamer: When capitalized ("Dreamer" instead of "dreamer"), refers to a shaman, or one who possesses the talent for shamanic visions.
  • Dream: Also called a Power Dream, refers to a shamanic vision (differentiated from ordinary REM sleep by means of capitalization).
  • Power: When capitalized, refers to things in and of the spirit world, magic, Dreaming, etc.
  • dart: A spear launched by means of an atlatl, in common use prior to the invention of the bow and arrow in North America. "War darts" are darts intended specifically for killing humans in war-time, as opposed to buffalo or mammoths or other prey animals of ancient North America.
  • Wolf Dreamer/First Man: The main protagonist of the first book, who becomes a figure of legend in subsequent books. The further "ahead" the books go, the more the alteration effect of oral history becomes apparent.
  • First Woman: Though her name is never mentioned, it is assumed that her true name is Heron, who helped Wolf Dreamer in the first novel. She appears in subsequent novels as a loner spirit who lives in a cave, fickle.
  • the One: Refers to the belief that all life is one life, but viewed from many perspectives. To touch the One is a state of Zen-like self-transcendence where a Dreamer is at his or her most Powerful.

External links[edit]