Monday, October 13, 2008

Daughter of the Sun

Daughter of the Sun, by Barbara Wood Chaco Canyon, in remote northern New Mexico, is a historical site full of mystery. Archaeologists know that the area was first settled around 200 AD by farmers who lived in small pit houses. Then, for no known reason, around 850 AD the people began building large stone buildings four and five stories high containing hundreds of rooms, kivas and even water containment systems. Three hundred years later, the site was abruptly abandoned. Again, no one knows why.

In Daughter of the Sun, Barbara Woods tells the story of the last days of Chaco habitation. At the center of her story is Hoshi'tiwa, a young teen kidnapped from her small farming community and taken south to the fabled "Center Place" ruled by a powerful and violent Dark Lord, Jakál. Hoshi'tiwa is put to work making pottery—and is expected to produce a rain jar so exquisite that the gods will send rain to break the drought of many years.

Center Place, as Woods describes it, is an outpost of the Toltec empire from Mexico. Its leader, Jakál, is a priest of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of Life. The army is devout to the Blue Hummingbird, god of war and death, to whom live sacrifices are offered. Along with the rising conflict between two factions in Toltec culture there's also the desperation of Hoshi'tiwa's people—worshipers of nature and believers in peace and balance.

In the span of only three years time, Hoshi'tiwa grows from a shy captive girl to an outspoken spiritual leader and eventually the Moses who leads her people home from Chaco Canyon.

1 comment:

  1. I'll have to be on the lookout for this one. Chaco Canyon was one of the places we visited on our honeymoon because I had studied it in college during my anthropology degree work. It was quite something. One of those things I really never believed I'd get to go see. I hope to get my Mom back there one of these days. It was an awesome experience!