Daughter of the Sun
The prolific and bestselling Wood explores life in the pre-Columbian Americas in this evocative historical romance . Publisher's weekly
Daughter of the Sun
In "Daughter of the Sun" international best-selling author Barbara Wood turns her attention to a 900-year-old mystery. Why did the Anasazi Indians of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico abruptly abandon a vast & flourishing city filled with monumental architecture and ceremonial buildings?
17-year-old Hoshi'tiwa, a gifted pottery maker, plans to marry a storyteller's apprentice. Her plans are turned upside down when she is snatched by the fierce Toltec army and taken from her primitive village to "Center Place", an outpost of the Toltec empire. Hoshi'tiwa is assigned to the Potter's Guild where she distinguishes herself through her exotic and unusual pottery. This leads to an elevated position and eventual entry into the court of the powerful and violent Toltec leader. Embroiled in a web of deceit, love, envy, murder and betrayal, Hoshi'tiwa unwittingly becomes the catalyst for the eventual downfall of Center Place and what historians now call "The Abandonment."
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What the critics say:
Barbara Wood - 2007
". . .Wood spins a passionate, well-crafted tale of forbidden love that evokes a time and place that exist as much in myth as fact." - Publisher's Weekly
"I just finished reading DAUGHTER OF THE SUN. Kudos to Barbara! She has written a vivid, passionate, page-turning story, beautifully
evoking an exotic place and time." - Jeanne Kalogridis, author of THE BORGIA BRIDE and I, MONA LISA
Excerpt from Daughter of the Sun
Book One: THE DARK LORD
The runner sprinted down the paved road, his heart pounding with fear. Although his feet were bleeding, he dared not stop. He looked back. His eyes widened in terror. He stumbled, fought for balance, and pushed on. He had to warn the clan.
A Dark Lord was coming.
Ahoté could not help his forbidden thoughts. There sat beautiful Hoshi'tiwa, just a hundred paces from where he stood at the Memory Wall, radiant in the sunshine as she spun cotton ribbons for her bridal costume. She looked so happy in front of her small adobe house, shaded by cottonwood trees, with the fresh stream trickling nearby. All she had been able to talk about was the coming wedding day. But all Ahoté could think about was the wedding night.
His father pinched him.
Under the elder’s tutelage, eighteen-year-old Ahoté was reciting the clan history, using the pictographs painted on the wall as a guide. Each symbol represented a major event in the past. And as there were too many events recorded on the Memory Wall – symbolized by spirals, animals, people, lightning strikes – for the clan to remember, it was the job of one man, He Who Links People.
This was the sacred calling to which young Ahoté was apprenticed and upon which he must concentrate. But his mind was wandering.
His father scowled. Takei did not understand the boy’s lovesick state. When Takei had wed, years ago, a girl chosen by his parents, he had done his duty, begetting her with many children. He had never wasted his time in moony-eyed daydreaming and sexual fantasies. Sex was for creating children, not for idle amusement. If Takei had ever taken pleasure in the intimate act, he could not recall it.
He glowered at his son. Love sickness was exactly that – a sickness, and Ahoté’s mind was so infected with it he could not concentrate on his recitations. If only the wedding day could be brought forward, Takei thought, tomorrow perhaps, so the boy could flush the lust out of his system. But the shamans had cast the fortunes of all involved and had declared that the soonest good-luck day was yet three months away!
Takei experienced a ripple of fear. Lust and love seduced a man’s mind from his holy works. Was the boy in danger of weakening before the wedding, risking a spiritual pollution that would profane his sacred task?
A dour, unhappy man who believed the gods had singled him out for a life of bad luck, Takei wished now he had not given in to Ahoté’s pleas to marry Hoshi'tiwa, wished he had had a matchmaker find a girl in another settlement, one not as pretty and clever as Sihu'mana’s daughter. Takei’s only hope was that this was just a phase, a matter of Ahoté wanting something he couldn’t have. Some men were like that, hungering for the out-of-reach, like desiring a married woman. Hoshi'tiwa was forbidden to Ahoté right now, and that fired the blood. But once he could have the girl anytime he wanted, day or night, the fever would leave him. Or so Takei prayed.
As Ahoté’s hungry gaze strayed again to the lovely Hoshi'tiwa sitting in the sunshine, her poppy-red tunic a bright warm beacon, his boy’s body stirring with a man’s desires as he thought of his coming nights as a husband, another sharp pinch on his arm brought him back to the lesson, and he recited: “And then the people knew the Spring of Abundant Hunting, when elk came down from the plateau to offer themselves as food.” The symbol painted on the wall was an elk with arrows in its body.
The last symbol on the wall was a circle with six lines trailing it, marking the sighting of a comet streaking the sky the summer before. No new symbols had been added since because nothing of significance had taken place. As he recited for his father, Ahoté wondered what new symbol would be added next, continuing the clan’s long history.
Far down the highway, which cut through the vast plain and between plateaus, the runner fell, his right knee cracking in pain. As he struggled to his feet, he felt in the paving stones of the wide highway the vibrations of the thundering feet of the advancing army. He swallowed in terror, tasted blood and salt on his tongue.
The cannibals were coming.
Hoshi'tiwa looked over at handsome Ahoté at the Memory Wall, his sinewy body gleaming in the sun as he wore only a loincloth, and her heart swelled with love and hope. Life was good. Spring flowers bloomed everywhere. The nearby stream ran with cool fresh water and fish. The clan was healthy and prosperous. And Hoshi'tiwa, seventeen years old, was looking forward to her wedding day.
She sat in the sunshine at the base of the cliff, spinning cotton for her bridal costume. She sat cross-legged as she twirled a wooden spindle up and down her thigh, deftly plucking clean fibers from a basket filled with carded cotton and adding them to the growing thread that would be dyed and woven into a ribbon for her hair
All around her the clan was going about the daily business of living: the farmers planting corn, women tending cook fires and watching the children, and the potters creating the rain jars for which her clan was most famous.
As she spun her cotton, Hoshi'tiwa did not know that on the other side of the world, a strange race of people had named this cycle of the sun the Year of Our Lord, 1150. She was unaware that they rode on the backs of beasts, something her own people did not do, and used a tool called a wheel to transport goods. Hoshi'tiwa knew nothing of cathedrals and gun powder, popes and Crusades, nor did she know that those strange people gave names to their canyons and rivers and hills.
Hoshi'tiwa’s settlement had no name. Nor did the nearby stream, nor the mountains that watched over them. Many years in the future, another race would come to this place and apply names to everything they saw and walked upon. Two hundred miles to the southeast of where Hoshi'tiwa felt warm sun on her arms, a town would be established and called Albuquerque. The area surrounding it for 120,000 square miles would be known as New Mexico. The young bride did not know that centuries hence, strangers would roam the land to the north of her settlement and call it Colorado.
There was only one place, far away in the southeast, that she knew by name, Center Place, so called because it was the hub of trade and communication for her people, and an important religious center. Even so, centuries hence, the name of Center Place would be changed to Chaco Canyon, and men and women known as anthropologists would stand in the ruins at Chaco Canyon and speculate and argue and debate and theorize over what they called the Abandonment. They would wonder, those people in the far future, why Hoshi'tiwa and her people, whom the anthropologists would incorrectly call “Anasazi,” had vanished so suddenly and without a trace.
Hoshi'tiwa was ignorant of the fact that she would one day be part of an ancient mystery. Had she known, she would argue that there was nothing mysterious about her life. Her clan had lived at the foot of this escarpment for generations, and in all those centuries, little had changed. Hoshi'tiwa was a simple corn grower’s daughter who counted her blessings, secure in the knowledge that tomorrow would be the same as yesterday.
Her thoughts broke like a bubble when she saw Ahoté, while his father’s back was turned, gesture to her. It was their private signal. She knew what it meant: at the first opportunity, he wanted to be alone with her.
She nodded in secret response. And her heart began to race.
Find out what happens . . .
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