Winter of the Metal People
Some reviews by readers
When I began this book, I thought it was going to be an academic history book and was initially disappointed to see that it is in fact an historical novel. As I continued reading, however, I appreciated that historical fiction was the most suitable vehicle for telling the story of the Tiguex encounter with Coronado from several points of view. Though fictional, the book is thoroughly researched and has taken into account both the Spanish records of the expeditionaries and the oral traditions of the various Puebloan cultures. By the time I was several chapters into the book, I was thoroughly captivated by the interwoven stories. The author has provided a link to a website that contains much of the historical material that informs the novel, and I found it enriching to read historical documents alongside the novel—this approach meant that it took more time to finish the book than it would have taken to read it as an ordinary novel, but in the end I felt it was well worth the time. To anyone interested in the Castilian invasion of the American southwest, and indeed to anyone interested in the European encounter with the natives of the Americas, I heartily recommend this book.
—Dayamati Hayes, Goodreads
I live on the land in Corrales, New Mexico, where this story takes place. I for the first time realized what actually happened as Coronado spent two winters here. This is a must-read for anyone wanting to know both sides of the story, and I take my hat off to Dennis Herrick for his clear, compelling style of writing, which kept me turning pages until I finished it on a weekend. My farm was one of those fields tilled by the pueblo Indians and my riverbank was the one they fled across. My mountains were the hiding place of the survivors. Please read this book if you want to know the rest of the story on the exploration of the Southwest by the conquistadors.
—Steve Komadina, Amazon
I thoroughly enjoyed this account of the events that literally occurred in my backyard. The book is a very readable narrative that tells the story of the conflict between the Tiwa peoples and Coronado's forces in 1540. While it is a novel, the events are very well researched and the story is framed with the latest research and primary accounts by the Spaniards as well as native traditions. So many people who live in the neighborhood that I live in have no idea what happened. I think that a copy of this book should be included with every house in the River's Edge area. But even if you don't live here, check this book out. It brings to life the distant conquistadors and the cultures that they encountered. It takes the characters out of the dusty textbooks and museums and makes them human. It shows the human side of what happens when cultures collide and reminds us that we are only the most recent people to live on this patch of land in the Rio Grande Valley.
—Michael John, Goodreads
This is a great read. It combines a great story with real history to give the reader a true picture and feeling of what it must have been like to live in a pueblo society and fear a foreign invasion, but have the courage to stand up and survive. If you like historically based novels this book if for you!
—Jack LS, Amazon
I give this book 5 stars because of the true story about New Mexico Pueblo people. How they were treated and how they fought to survive the invasion by the Spanish. It was easy to read and follow, but the truth was brutally honest and gut wrenching. I can not say I liked it because of treatment of a people, but I am glad I read it. This should be on the must read list of all junior and senior high schools.
Coronado is an omnipresent name in the Southwest and my wife and I once camped at Coronado State Monument, on the banks of the Rio Grande north of Albuquerque. We were unaware of many of the major events that took place nearby in the nation’s first real war between Europeans and Indians, about 50 years after Columbus set foot in the New World. Dennis Herrick’s novel, Winter of the Metal People, both educated and entertained us in filling that knowledge gap. And in another first, the author breaks ground by telling much of the story from the Indian perspective. It is clear that telling the story of the Tiguex War was a labor of love for Herrick. He is well versed on the Pueblo Indian cultures and the Southwest. His descriptions of Indian life and the setting are captivating and at times lyrical. The story itself is well-paced and compelling, with fascinating insight into the brutal culture clash between the metal people and the loin-cloth wearing Indians. The metal people were led by Coronado, a conquistador from Spain, then Europe’s dominant power. You find yourself rooting for the underdogs and especially for the story’s main Indian character, Poquis, and wondering if he and his family will survive. The author, a winner of the Tony Hillerman short story contest, has crafted another winner with this historical novel.