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Daniel A. Smith

Genre: Historical fiction

Hernando de Soto and 350 Conquistadors arrived in 1541. A century later, Manaha, empowered by a dream and against the taboos of her small tribe of survivors, fights to keep alive through her nightly story-fires, the memories of their once great but now decimated and abandoned homeland. Winner of the 2022 Book Excellence Award & 2022 Maincrest Media Award.

Generations have passed since the arrival of Hernando De Soto and 350 conquistadors in 1541. Manaha, empowered by a dream and against the taboos of her small tribe of survivors, demands that the children be allowed to hear her stories. Passed-down stories about their once grand homeland of twelve different nations, interconnected villages and capital towns comparable in size to European cities of the time. Now, an empty land decimated and cursed by wars, plagues and famines.

Before Manaha can finish her first story, the fire is doused, and her young listeners are frightened into the shadows. Friends shun her and tribal elders threaten banishment, but Manaha refuses to stop. The only hope that the unique history and stories, the last remaining essence of a forgotten people, will survive lies with one unlikely Storykeeper.

“A stunning novel and a joy to read” (Historical Novel Society, Editor’s Choice)

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