Stephen S. Janes
Outskirts Press (2018)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (01/19)
“Cries at Sundown” by Stephen S. Janes is one of the most pivotal historical fiction books I have read. Janes is able to take the history and past atrocities of indigenous people, in this case Indians, and weave an incredible story that puts readers right alongside his characters and events.
Before Columbus made his voyage, several tribes were living with their language, religion and cultures that are never addressed in history books and rarely, if ever, discussed.
The story begins in present day with Marcus, an archaeologist, searching for sacred sites that hide treasures and historical information his museum staff have been looking for. Little does he know he will find more than he bargained for. The author then tells the story of several key figures in his narrative of the native Americans fighting for injustices done to them or their tribe.
The stories I related to the most were of Jesse and Jet whose great-grandmother is being forced from her ancestral land by greedy corporations, and Mariah, a young woman who is raised by devoutly religious parents who treat her like a slave. Both stories relate first-hand how each wants only to live their lives as they should be and free from persecution.
My grandfather on my father’s side was full-blood Cherokee and before his passing would tell us of horror stories about the treatment of Indians, which led to starvation, no place to live and often the kidnapping and rape of their women. Interestingly enough, my grandfather married a white woman which also relates to Mariah’s story.
Janes has done an exceptional job in his research, and I appreciate that for years he had this story to tell and finally did it. It is very well written, characters and events are so colorful that readers will find themselves feeling the pain, hope and justice.
For this reviewer “Cries at Sundown” hit every emotion one can feel and had me questioning what she was taught through misinformation. The story is relevant in today’s world where different religions, beliefs and ethnic groups are attacked daily.
I highly recommend “Cries at Sundown” by Stephen S. Janes for the historical information. Those who like to be challenged in their current beliefs will find a lot of food for thought in the story.