We just received a sweet gift from our old friends Mike and Kathy Gear: a signed galley copy of their novel A Searing Wind. It is the third and final novel in a series set during Hernando De Soto’s invasion of what is now the Southeast US from 1539-1542,

I was able to get together with the Gears for an enjoyable dinner one evening during the SAAs in Memphis last month.  I don’t think I’m giving any secrets away by saying they are hard at work on a new novel set in the prehistoric Mississippian metropolis of Cahokia that is informed by the recent pathbreaking work on that subject by Tim Pauketat.  


  1. Thanks for the earlier recommendation of the Gear's novels. I'm reading "People of the Moon" now, to prep for an upcoming trip to Pagosa.

    I didn't have much interest in the Anasazi before (as a bunch of boring farmers) but they enliven the scene by adding an imaginative context of human conflict and behavior, and by adding layers of visualization and description to the skeletal remains that are left. Who knew archeologists could write so well?

  2. Who knew archeologists could write so well?


    Very few of us CAN write well. Mike and Kathy are always trying to make the case that more of us need to write popular treatments like theirs so the public realizes that (for example) the Ansazi weren't boring farmers, but had large political organizations (Chaco Canyon), traded for chocolate and macaws with Mesoamerica, built road systems that went straight as an arrow for over a hundred miles and built "motels" along them, had a sophisticated knowledge of astronomy and laid out buildings at their sites on celestial alignments, fought wars and used cannibalism in terror campaigns. The Anasazi so terrorized themselves with the political warfare and strife of the 13th century that they abandoned the Four Corners area forever and invented a new religion (the Katchina Cult) and simplified political organization to deal with it.

    When presented properly and viewed in its proper perspective, the history of the Anasazi is quite a dramatic story. Even their migration (exodus?) from the Mesa Verde area was led by a charismatic Moses-like figure named P'oseyemu.

    Nothing boring about them – we've just been telling the story in a scientific boring way.

    I sent Mike & Kathy that picture of Chimney Rock that I posted a few weeks ago. They liked it and replied: "We can just see Ironwood and his warriors climbing up through the trees! PEOPLE OF THE MOON centered around Chimney Rock. We weren't even planning to write the book until on a special tour by Glen Raby, he pointed over the side and said, "That's where Jeancon found the burned bodies." I mean, well, what can you do with a hook like that set in your jaws?"

  3. Thanks for the earlier recommendation of the Gear's novels

    My personal favorite of theirs is a 3 book set called "The Anasazi Mysteries": "The Visitant", "The Summoning God", and "Bone Walker"

    Of course, this set about De Soto is pretty good, too

  4. Cool. Thanks. I pursued a turkey once at Devil Creek SWA and looked up at Chimney Rock the same way Ripple and his cohorts would have. But it didn't mean anything to me. Now it does. Cheers.

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