I am willing to admit it: I love prehistoric fiction. There is something about this genre of books that leads many people to read them sans-jacket (which, granted, often consist of bare-chested men and wolves), and many others refuse to read them outside of their homes at all. Last week, I chose to defy this trend. I got on the subway with my copy of Coming of the Storm clutched boldly outside of a bag, jacket on, page saved and read it for my entire commute, both ways. I would like to say that this confidence was a result of my independent-minded attitude. However, a few stats that were mentioned in the press release for this novel may have had a slight impact as well.
It turns out that Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear have 17 million copies of their books in print world-wide, not to mention the twenty-three internationally bestselling novels between them. These stats are enough to give me hope that somewhere on that train, at least a few other Gear fans were waiting to get home to their own copies – that I wasn’t alone in my growing angst at Black Shell’s struggle to unite the Native American tribes against the bloody wake of Hernando de Soto.
So what is it about these books that makes their readers so secretive? My best guess is the perception that these books are, more than anything, fantasy-ridden fiction in which animals talk and humans interact in an instinct (read: sex) based society. Though I can’t deny that there are some titles that meet this description, most of them are meticulously researched. These authors spend years developing their understanding of the societies that they write about, and Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear are no exception. This husband and wife writing team base their novels around the research they do through their own anthropological research company. Who better to write a series about The Battle for America, than a couple who has dedicated their entire lives to discovering the stories of these people, one bone at a time?
So, know that you’re not alone, Gear fans – read with pride and please, keep your jackets on.