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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Warrior Woman: The Exceptional Life Story of Nonhelema, Shawnee Indian Woman Chief by James Alexander Thom and Dark Rain Thom

Not up the high standards that have been set by other books by James Alexander Thom

To start, let me establish my bonafides as a fan of Mr. Thom's work. Five of his novels proudly sit on my bookshelf . I have the featured review of his novel The Red Heart on Amazon.com. When I teach world history I have my kids read a piece of historical fiction as part of a semester project. I have proudly placed copies of Follow the River and Panther in the Sky in my classroom library as examples of historical fiction at its finest. I met Thom at a conference this past spring and told him that his books were the reason I created this type of project. When at his best, Thom's books make you feel as though you have stepped into that world of the past.

Warrior Woman, while accurate is just not entertaining reading. The plot meanders around and never seems to pick up steam. We never really understand Nonhelema's motives in the book - why is she so desperate to negotiate a peace when it is so obvious that those treaties will be broken? Perhaps if her early life had been explored in more detail. The reader is offered snippits of earlier times - past battles, a trip to New Orleans some twenty years earlier but we don't know how these things formed her Revolutionary War-era self.

George Rogers Clark 
Warrior Woman seems to be the capstone on the series he has written about the Ohio and Missouri River Valleys. He mentions the legendary "Welsh Indians" he writes about in The Children of First Man. George Rogers Clark, the star of Long Knife appears several times, as does Tecumseh who is the focus of Panther in the Sky. William Clark, who is featured in his two books about the Lewis and Clark expedition makes a cameo appearance. Kidnapped whites raised by Indians are featured prominently in The Red Heart and Follow the River. They are important in this book as well since Nonhelema's daughter is one of those kidnapped children who chooses to stay with the Shawnee. Even a young George Drouillard is mentioned twice in passing. He is featured in yet another book entitled. Sign-Talker: The Adventure of George Drouillard on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. To me, it seemed that Thom was closing the circle on his interpretation of this period of history.

Before you read this book, read any of the other ones I mentioned above.

I rate this book 2 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Warrior Woman.

Reviewed on November 21, 2008.

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