Book Reviews


Novelist Margaret Coel said of the book:

    "A riveting historical novel of immense scholarship and insight. Dennis Herrick makes the story of the first American Indians in the West to face the military might of European forces a vivid and real as if Coronado's expedition had ridden out of Mexico yesterday. Winter of the Metal People will forever influence your perception of the stunning landscapes and rich cultures of the Southwest."

John Kachuba of the Historical Novel Society:
     "Despite the fact that so many public buildings, parks, and monuments throughout what is America's Southwest bear the name "Coronado," Francisco Vázquez de de Coronado's 1540 expedition into that area was anything but successful. Searching for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold as far east as modern-day Kansas, Coronado's expedition of Spanish conquistadors and their Aztec allies ran into the Pueblo tribes. Although the Spanish government had policies demanding the humane treatment of Indians throughout New Spain, Coronado's foundering expedition treated the Puebloans ruthlessly in order to obtain food, clothing, and shelter. As a result, Coronado's men became embroiled in a two-year-long war that eventually ended with the Spanish withdrawal back into Mexico. It would be almost fifty years before they returned.

     "Herrick fully enters the minds of his historical Spanish and Puebloan characters, showing the cultural and religious differences between the two cultures that inevitably lead to the first Indian war. There is a saying that history belongs to the victors, so while much of the Spanish story is based upon historical written documents, the author had to imagine the Puebloans' unwritten story. But his research is well founded, and what results is a balanced novel that expresses the worldviews of both sides and relates it in an exciting and interesting manner. This novel is highly recommended for those interested in the history of the American Southwest and its native peoples."

Historian Richard Flint wrote:
    "Herrick skillfully brings the Native side ... into vivid focus. We are brought to imagine the complexity and variety of Pueblo reactions as they struggle to come to grips with the foreign presence and how it violently impacts their lives and traditions."

Said anthropologist David Stuart:
      "A vivid historical novel that brings to life the epic winter of 1540–41 as Spanish and Pueblo Indian worlds collided. Herrick's narrative ... is the closest we will ever get to standing on a hill above an ancient Pueblo community and witnessing the gritty reality of history."

Historian Don Bullis, New Mexico Historical Notebook
     "I do not ordinarily review fiction on these pages, but an exception is clearly in order with Dennis Herrick's book. While this novel takes up the Pueblo side of things during Coronado's entrada in 1540-1542, it is important to note that Herrick has his facts in order. While this is fiction, I think it goes a long way toward understanding the conflict between the early residents of New Mexico and the European newcomers. Well written, informative, and entertaining." 

Suzanne Buck, The Alibi, Albuquerque, NM
     "(Dennis Herrick's) narrative technique is what saves the novel from a being a grim recitation of war crimes and allows the reader to engage with the human element behind the scenes." 

Mike Lord, Voces of Santa Fé
     "The Indians' perspective. The events are historically accurate and the entire story is a worthy read."