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John Anthony Pappas
1801-02 on the wild Pacific Northwest Coast: At the village of Ozette, the spirits have determined that Aidan and Neveah must be exiled for six months. They are sent south to winter with the rich Chinooks near the mouth of the Colombia River and look forward to a comfortable few months together in the big lodge of Chief Comcomly. They could not have imagined the horrors awaiting them as they paddle their big canoe into the most feared curse of the times. People are dying and Aidan is seized by fear for his pregnant wife. There is only one escape–upriver. Aidan manages to put a disparate group together, including Josiah, a Virginia slave who looks too much like his famous father and who Comcomly planned to burn to rid his people of the curse. The group of 10 embark on a 200 mile odyssey up Big River to the Land of She Who Watches, into an unforgiving landscape of violence, suspicion and even friendship. They begin to feel safe, until Neveah is taken by raiders led by the most feared criminal of the region. Aidan is told the vicious Lesheen may not ransom Neveah because he likes pregnant women. To save her Aidan must face his own inner demons and immerse himself ever deeper into a spirit realm he fears. But even that doesn’t prepare him for the final shock and only path of escape. The last challenge is inevitable–he must confront the real curse maker.read sample chapter | buy book
Once again John Anthony Pappas, lifts the veil of time on the coastal Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest. A time when there were not yet any trading posts, no towns or cities, just villages and highways carved by time and nature out of the land and sea. Recounting the historical devastation of the First Nation’s People from a small pox epidemic brought by unscrupulous American traders of the Pacific Coast and Columbia River, John’s “Lives of the Spirits” weaves another great adventure for Aidan Martin, his “When Wolf Comes” hero.His meticulous research turns back the hands of time, giving us a glimpse of the 1800 conditions of the Northwest’s native peoples, the landscape, the now tamed Columbia River and interlaced with one of our nation’s famous founding families as they live again in a way known only to us from a few pictures and letters. “When Wolf Comes” tells the “Shogun” like tale of a New Englander’s, Aidan Martin’s, survival in a foreign land and a foreign culture. “Lives of the Spirits” tells a nail biting Lewis and Clark or “Last of the Mohicans” like adventure of love, cunning, revenge, retribution, heroism and ultimately survival in a time not that long ago.Learn about our country’s early Northwest history through a mesmerizing story of a proud, resourceful and fearless native peoples, obscured by time, simply living their everyday way of life on the Pacific Ocean and along the Columbia River in the early 1800’s. This is historical fiction at its finest, but it is also an historical adventure.I think his latest works would translate well to the big screen and I would love to see them made into a motion picture series. Well Done John
I became so attached to the hero Aidan and his love interest Neveah the predecessor to this book, When Wolf Comes, I was delighted to find the story continues. Being interested in native people I found the research that went into both books to be extensive and enlightening. For instance slavery existed among these people stemming from battle wins or in Aidan’s case an errant ship run afoul.It was interesting to me how the captives and captors interacted and that positive relationships often occurred. That they learned from one another and gained one anothers trust over time is the positive of a bad situation – slavery.The adventure itself moved along at a good clip and my smug assumptions of what would come next most often didn’t. That made it a great read and is a tribute to the author.I hope there is again a sequel. Aidan and Neveah’s story is not yet over. I hope to be able to continue their journey with them.
A deeply satisfying story of the early Pacific North West, by an author that knows what he is talking about. When you start to anticipate a plot twist or that something is about to happen, it will – just NOT be what you thought was coming. The destruction of an entire culture right before your eyes by a killer you cannot see and from whom there is no protection? Makes me very glad I live now instead of in that time, but you just can’t put the book down because you KNOW something is going to happen. (It does)
Great book! Why isn’t this series being at least considered for film?Thank You Mr. Pappas!
Reviewed on 06/22/2016 by Cheryl Rodriguez for Readers’ Favorites
5 stars out of 5
Reviewed 7/20/16 by Jennie Delaney, Lacy, WA
The Lives of the Spirits is an amazing book. This book is a sequel to, When the Wolf Comes. Loved the first book, but I couldn’t put Lives of Spirits down. It’s truly a remarkable story.
It’s so well written. It’s filled with adventure, history and ultimately a love story. You feel the love Aidan has for Neveah. Everything he does throughout the book to protect her and his unborn baby. It’s a great book!!!
5 out of 5 stars
R.Traylor, AK, June11, 2016:
Actors like Robert Duval believe that art should never corrupt or misrepresent the truth.
Well, Mr. Pappas obviously subscribes to that philosophy in this intensely researched adventure. Though a sequel, this first person account of life among the early 19th century Indians of the Pacific North West stands on its own. Rendered in a concise and straightforward manor the romantic adventure story is deceptively simple in its structure while dense and intimate in detail. It touches on things as mundane as the various culinary traditions while also addressing the distinctive social, political and spiritual practices of a people who could fairly be described as late Paleolithic.
The story draws analogies and contrasts with the burgeoning modernity about to engulf and all but extinguish their way of life.
It is in the meditation of its difference with the ‘greater’ world outside where the story takes on its real depth. I cannot say what was in the author’s mind but it does sell its point rather neatly that the magnitude of commerce has fundamentally changed the character of the relationships in the contrasted civilizations.
Nowhere is this change more evident than in the existences of slaves.
The Indians, to be sure, had slaves. But the life of a slave among the Indians was not nearly so different from their captors as they were in the East where the difference in a slave’s life from his ‘owner’s’ was of a cruel order of magnitude that can scarcely be believed.
I thought it particularly elegant the congruency the author sees in the spiritualism of the old Irish with the Indians. Our protagonist is an Irishman who’s mother imparted in her son an appreciation of the old animistic ways that resonate with the Indians spirituality. This opens this alien world up to him in a profound way. But this is a world at twilight and the zombie apocalypse of smallpox about to hit is rendered in equally grim detail.
Plenty of action, plenty of humor, plenty of detail–this is a ‘little’ book of plenty. I thoroughly enjoyed it and respected the author’s research.
4 out 5 stars, Lives of the Spirits
Outlander Meets Lonesome Dove Along the Columbia River, August 4, 2016 By Amazon customer (name withheld on Amazon)
Lives of the Spirits (Paperback)
I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. I would recommend this book to people who enjoyed Outlander, Lonesome Dove, the Thomas Jefferson/Sally Hemings affair, or the Pacific Northwest. It is the kind of book that you want to share with others so that you can discuss it. I think this would be a good book club selection because it is so discussable. I found myself immersed in this world, the language especially. You can tell that the book is well researched. (I feel a little more educated now, which is nice. I knew nothing about native cultures in Washington before reading this book.) It is also important to note that I had NOT read When Wolf Comes before reading this book. So, if you haven’t either, you should not let that stop you from reading Lives of the Spirits.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Pacific Northwest Book Review, Toledo, WA
Reviewed by John Morgan, 9/18/2016
Before the famous 1804 expedition by Lewis and Clark, before the trading posts and maps and roads divided the Pacific Northwest and white men renamed everything, indigenous people lived off the land, fished the rivers and traded with neighboring tribes. Spirits spoke to people in dreams and guided their actions.
All this was about to change as white men from Canada, the eastern U.S. and Europe arrived in cloud ships, bringing with them foreign ideas, mysterious diseases and advanced weaponry.
In author John Pappas’ fourth book “Lives of the Spirits,” the sequel to his earlier novel “When Wolf Comes,” a young white man from Boston named Aidan teams up with his Indian wife Neveah, an escaped Virginian slave named Josiah and several Indian translators from different tribes to canoe 200 miles up the Columbia River on a mission of trade and exploration.
Along their journey they encounter friendly and unfriendly natives, learn proper tribal trading etiquette, respect for the land and local customs, and how to fight against the fear of the unknown.
“Lives of the Spirits” is a work of fiction based on historical facts that transports the reader to a land of untouched beauty during a time when spirit animals and spirit people influenced our actions and we relied on our wits and quick reflexes to survive hidden dangers of every kind.
Pappas takes us on a journey from the Chinook camp near the mouth of the Big River far upstream to the Wishram camp to spend the winter. Forever outsiders because of their foreign appearances and heritage, Adian and Josiah form a mutually beneficial partnership that turns their differences into spiritual powers.
When Neveah and several others at the camp are kidnapped by raiders, Adian must gather a rescue party of brave warriors to save her. Pappas fills these pages with haunting imagery in action-packed scenes bursting with strategy, suspense and spirituality. The warriors are victorious, welcomed home to the Wishram camp and celebrated as heroes among many neighboring tribes.
Eventually the horror of the pox reaches the camp and the small group must brave the harrowing journey back down Big River during the unpredictable spring snowmelt, where they face new dangers and encounter old enemies.