Naapiikoan Winter by Alethea Williams
Naapiikoan Winter is a historical fiction novel by Alethea Williams
At the turn of a new century, changes unimagined are about to unfold.
THE WOMAN: Kidnapped by the Apaches, a Mexican woman learns the healing arts. Stolen by the Utes, she is sold and traded until she ends up with the Piikáni. All she has left are her skills–and her honor. What price will she pay to ensure a lasting place among the People?
THE MAN: Raised in a London charitable school, a young man at the end of the third of a seven year term of indenture to the Hudson’s Bay Company is sent to the Rocky Mountains to live among the Piikáni for the winter to learn their language and to foster trade. He dreams of his advancement in the company, but he doesn’t reckon the price for becoming entangled in the passions of the Piikáni.
THE LAND: After centuries of conflict, Náápiikoan traders approach the Piikáni, powerful members of the Blackfoot Confederation. The Piikáni already have horses and weapons, but they are promised they will become rich if they agree to trap beaver for Náápiikoan. Will the People trade their beliefs for the White Man’s bargains?
Alethea Williams is the author of Willow Vale, the story of a Tyrolean immigrant’s journey to America after WWI. Willow Vale won a 2012 Wyoming State Historical Society Publications Award. In her second novel, Walls for the Wind, a group of New York City immigrant orphans arrive in Hell on Wheels, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Walls for the Wind is a WILLA Literary Award finalist, a gold Will Rogers Medallion winner, and placed first at the Laramie Awards in the Prairie Fiction category.
Partially based on the works of Canadian trader, explorer, and mapmaker David Thompson, Náápiikoan Winter spans a continent, examining the cultures in flux at the passing of one era and the painful birth of another.
A Word from the Author
As the boundaries of new countries expand on the North American continent at the close of the eighteenth century, the Native people who remain after a sweeping smallpox epidemic must choose whether to cooperate or whether to fight the incursion of Europeans. Into this maelstrom of old versus new are dropped a Ute captive traded up the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains who has learned to survive by honing her herbal skills, and a young Hudson’s Bay Company clerk residing for the winter in a Piikáni tipi in order to learn the language to facilitate trade. As winter descends on the camp, tensions rise to a dangerous level as a young Piikáni girl pursues the white trader on whom she has settled her heart’s desire; a young Piikáni man yearns hopelessly for the wife of another; and a Shoshone youth and his grandmother, captured to help increase the numbers of the Piikáni, instead cause all manner of complications. The effects of people’s choices are severe in this unforgiving landscape, and those who choose to act must live with the consequences. Kirkus reviews calls Náápiikoan Winter “richly detailed,” and the book is rated Recommended in a review from the Historical Novel Society.
(Alethea Williams, August 2016)
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