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The Fire God of Cahokia by Ronald R. Van Stockum, Jr.
Illustrations by Steven P. Eilers
“You will be mesmerized by Ronald R. Van Stockum, Jr.’s description of primitive times at the site of a pre-Columbian Native American city. Written as creative non-fiction, the author takes us to the Mounds of Cahokia, situated directly across the Mississippi River from modern St. Louis, Missouri. His protagonist, Elber, lives more than a thousand years before any European settlers. He dresses in skins,” ..was the leader of his small clan of families and was the priest of its Fire. He maintained control of his people through exercise of the Fire Myth. God’s presence on Earth. His Warmth. His Bounty. His Vengeance. But now some terrible new force had appeared in the woods. It must be placated for the people to survive.” The action builds as Elber recognizes a giant Creature and it tells him to build a large temple. Elber observes a horrific battle as the God-like Creature and the gigantic long-clawed Ground Sloth take on a pack of killer Saber Cats. Delightfully slipping from the narrative into talking intimately with the reader, the talented Dr. Van Stockum once again, in equal amounts, delights and instructs. You will want to explore the huge man-made earthen mounds of Cahokia, and imagine those scenes for yourself.” – Mary Popham
Mary Popham’s book reviews have appeared in the Courier Journal and The Louisville Review. Her short story collection, Love is a Fireplace, was published in 2017, and her novel, Back Home in Landing Run, was published in 2013.