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Shadow of an Indian Star

Bill Paul and Cindy Paul

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Synergy Books

Published : 2005

Copyright : Bill Paul and Cindy Paul 2005

ISBN-10 : PB 0-9755922-2-X
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-9755922-2-9

Publisher's Write-Up

Shadow of an Indian Star is an epic novel which chronicles three generations of a brawling pioneer family, their friends and enemies, and the women who helped battle tragedy, corruption, and their own inner demons to save themselves and the Chickasaw Nation from annihilation.

In 1824, 16-year-old Smith Paul runs away from a broken North Carolina home, is adopted into the Chickasaw tribe, and travels the infamous Trail of Tears to Indian Territory with his adopted family, Rev. McClure and his captivating Chickasaw bride, Ala-Teecha.

There, Smith rediscovers the rich, pristine valley between two rivers he had encountered years before as a scout. Out of raw wilderness, he forges Smith Paul’s Valley where he vows that whites, Indians, and blacks will be treated equally. Torn between love and honour, Ala-Teecha remains a pillar of strength as she and Smith fight their forbidden love for each other.

Charismatic Sam Paul, Smith’s half-breed son, rides with his own renegade posse, including former Billy the Kid sidekick, Fred Waite. Sam is brought before "hanging judge" Parker for murder three times before he’s finally convicted of manslaughter. His stint in jail opens his eyes to the greed of white men and he returns home determined to rescue Indian Territory from impending white encroachment.

Sam’s insatiable lust earns him a libertine reputation until he meets the one woman who can sequester his fiery passion, the spirited Jennie Tolbert - the only woman Sam Paul every truly loved. Sam makes deadly enemies as he rises to political power, but no one bears him as much hatred as his neglected, bitter son, Joe Paul, who possesses all the "Pauls’ passionate fire and none of his father’s charisma nor his grandfather’s visionary fair-mindedness. Jealously drives Joe to seduce Jennie, igniting a bitter feud between father and son.

One woman believes she can tame the desperate Joe Paul, brawny Maulsey Stewart, but Joe is already on a one-way path to self-destruction. Today, the reborn Chickasaw Nation is thriving, and the Paul family rests in peace in Pauls Valley’s old cemetery around which so much turmoil swirled for decades.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Molly Martin (310106) Rating (9/10)

Review by Molly Martin
Rating 9/10
When sixteen-year-old Smith Paul strode away from his North Carolina home in the darkness of a September night in 1824 he had little awareness how his precipitous behaviour would shape not only his immediate life but that of generations to come. The lonely young man who found life living in a home with a recently widowed, recently married father, unkind step-mother and lonely sadness for his mother lost to lingering death unbearable; soon learned that life on his own was also fraught with sorrow. Various of the people Smith first met were not only cruel and untrustworthy; they often were also common thieves and at times thoughtless killers. Smith was fortunate to meet Hezekiah Burkitt, a knowledgeable black man, who taught him secrets of the fur trapper trade. The deaths of Burkitt and his donkey, Scrap Iron, at the hands of conniving traders sent Smith into a desperate run for his own life.

A chance meeting with an Indian caught in the jaws of a huge bear was the catalyst to propel Smith Paul into a life he had not sought, came to love, and shaped not only his fate but that of those around him. Book one of the three part narrative continues Smith Paul forward from that chance meeting with Ja-Paw-Nee to the Chickasaw removal from their ancestral lands and into Indian Territory. Smith, called Ikhimilo following his courageous face on attack upon the bear bent upon savaging Ja-Paw-Nee, lives with the Chickasaw in Mississippi until 1838 when the people of Yaneka Village begin their trek along the Trail of Tears. It is while on the journey that Smith runs into an old nemesis, this time however, Smith Paul is no longer a sixteen-year-old stripling and the meeting has a far different outcome. Book one continues the narrative into Indian Territory, death of Reverend McClure, the white man who came to preach gospel to the Chickasaw and stayed to become wainwright for the area, marriage of Smith to the woman he adores, and his young family beginning life in Indian Territory.

Book Two opens in 1858 as the Smith Paul family becomes well known, prosperous and influential in the valley still called Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. Smith’s oldest son Sam is disillusioned when he returns from a campaign as a scout for G. A. Custer. Sam buries his brother and begins a rise to power, political and personal over the years. Sam skirts along the edge of legal and brutality, marries more than once, fathers children within marriage and without and proves not much of a husband or father a good bit of the time. He is a likeable character none the less. Sam’s ability to see beyond today and into the ruthlessness of the federal government and greed of those in power drives him politically forward despite all odds.

Book Three begins in Santa Barbara, California 1890. Smith is now eighty-two, has remarried following the death of his beloved wife and has turned over his business to his heirs. He leaves the territory to begin a new life in California with a new wife. When his grandson Joe appears in California following a row with his father Smith decides it is time to go home. He persuades Joe to accompany him, but does not tell anyone that they are coming. If the elder Paul had done so. history might have read differently for the family. The rift between Sam and Joe Paul cannot be mended even as the Paul story continues with more upsets, marriages, births, deaths and life.

The writers Paul have crafted an entertaining, compelling read based both on research and family lore. The story of Smith Paul is easily read, written well and most enjoyable. The writers state ‘This is a work of fiction. The names of the main characters, places and events are not figments of the authors’ imaginations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is purely intentional. This is the story Bill Paul’s grandfather told him.’

As a lifelong reader of historical fact, social mores and just plain good books I found Shadow of an Indian Star difficult reading at times. Reading of the slaughter of Scrap Iron and Burkitt saddened me enormously. Whether this incident was imagination or based in fact, the reality is, similar instances did take place in those days and that is what makes the sketch compelling. I enjoyed the narrative as a whole, found inclusion of the various news clips taken from newspapers added to the tale and would like to have seen a picture or two of the main characters added to the work.

Shadow of an Indian Star will make an excellent addition to the home pleasure library, high school and college library, home school, high school reading list and for those who just like a well crafted book filled with lusty, realistic characters, lots of action and straight forward language. Brutal death, realistically portrayed, human emotion and depravity are all portrayed with a delicate hand.
As a plus the writers manage to portray a vigorous, hearty group of people in robust language without resorting to graphic sex or profanity. I do not keep many of the books sent for review; this is one I will be keeping.

Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.
Molly Martin (31st January 2006)

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