Monthly Archives: May 2015

Reviews ~ Discoverer, or Last Guy to the Party?

Columbus Was Last, by Patrick Huyghe, available for $25 on Amazon – there are several alternates as well. The link is to the version I read.

Columbus

I have a confession. I’ve never been a fan of Columbus. For some reason I could not get all excited about someone who “discovered” the American continents – when there were already a whole lot of people here. I get it. The colonists wanted some pin in history that didn’t draw a direct line to England. Some point in history that said, “This is where it all began.” Except, well, Columbus was far from first; and it was in a photo finish for last.

The story of Columbus is filled with ambiguities. We don’t know for sure where he came from, who he really was, or what his true motives were. We don’t even know for sure where he is buried. His logs are filled with contradictions and he did not receive the riches and notoriety he sought in his own life time. It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that he received general recognition. The “Admiral of the Ocean Sea” was somewhat of a flop in his own time even if he made at least four successful voyages to the “New World.”

That said, questions regarding the settlement, and repeated “discovery” of the Americas, are still suffering from heated debate. The only events of note that appear to be generally accepted in the academic community are the arrival of homo sapiens over a land bridge or sea route from Asia to Alaska (the Bering Strait), and the occasional visitations and settlement attempts by the Nordic peoples.

When the migration to the east occurred, and how often, is a battle ground in the literature. Each year, each decade, each millennia that the date is pushed back is a hard won victory. Although it is now generally accepted (and supported by archeology) that the Vikings arrived in the Americas around 1000 CE, where all of their landings took place and how long these places were occupied seems to be up in the air. Meanwhile, other stories, legends, and evidence, are constantly brewing in a pot of, ‘Who was here first, how often, where and what were they doing?” And that is the kind of mystery I love.

Huygue’s little book is an easy read that leads the curious through the tales, legends, and evidence of previous visitations to the American continents. He collects what we know about the ancient tales and the archeological evidence unearthed in pottery, inscriptions, sculpture and artifacts. He provides sign posts to those who have compared flora and fauna, common language, rituals and dress. He also provides references to those who have analyzed the ancient tales to locate possible routes of travel and settlement. There are also descriptions of carvings throughout South America which depict races not currently accepted as visitors and matches them with corresponding tales and legends from possible, or probable, points of origin.

This was a very busy place. Collectively, there is at least some indication that these lands were visited by the Chinese, the Japanese, the Polynesians, the Irish, the Africans, the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Arabs and the Jews. The book mentions but does not address possible visitations by the Celts and the Greeks. At the time of Columbus, there appears to be a number of records, maps, and sailors’ tales from the Danes, the Portuguese, the British and the Irish. And then there is the Welsh bastard prince, Madoc.

This book is not a fanciful collection of theories. The notes and bibliography support the research and provide a road map to a serious student of the history of this part of the world. Huyghe also provides details when the authenticity of an artifact is questionable. I found the roots of many of the bits and pieces I have found in academic literature and well researched historical fiction.

The journey of Columbus did indeed have a major historical impact on the future of these lands. Even if the original result was slavery, exploitation and disease, I would like to think that at least some of the heirs to these lands have contributed much that was beneficial to the human race. Columbus’ journey, and those of his contemporaries, “stuck” and the whole world learned of, and remembered, the land across the seas.

The point, I think, is that we really can’t approach the world with a sense of absolute. It is arrogance to believe we have it all figured out when we know so little about what has come before. As my poem says, “Is it something that we’ve left behind, Or something that we’ve yet to find? …” Enjoy the magic of the journey. Don’t be swayed by every whimsical interpretation of the bits and pieces we find of the past; but keep an open mind. Who knows what treasures we have yet to find? And just what they might tell us about who we are?

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Filed under Humanties for the Unbound Mind, My Bookshelf ~ Before Current Era, My Bookshelf ~ Current Era

Guardians of our Lives ~ in Fiction and in Thought

It is time, dear readers, to return to the world of “Humanities Unbound.” Although there will always be a place in my writing and my life for my husband and for the caregiver in all of us, there is a time when we must return to the world at large. For this gentle shift back into that world, I have chosen to invite a friend to tell us about her book. It is a book about angels.  Not just any angels! Angels as something different and apart from demands placed on them by human legend and religion.

Please welcome, Etta Jean as she tells us about her new release, Shadow on the Sea.

SotS Cover

The concept of angels has always fascinated me. Even for those who are non-religious or unorthodox in religion, angels are an interesting concept that permeates our everyday society and culture. Coming at this from a more unorthodox point-of-view, I started wondering what sorts of beings might angels be if they were not religious in overtone. What if they were just a different race? Better, what if that race had somehow inspired our mythos around angels to begin with?

And, thus, Shadow on the Sea was born.

Scattered through my Lightling and Darkling races are plenty of tips of the hat to the legends they inspired and were inspired by. To fit such a rich history of a new race into a novelette is not easy, and I came at it by deciding to follow the life of a very special angel as she goes from birth, to her stages of evolution, to her final maturity. She brings you on her journey of growth, and I think you might just find yourself growing along with her.

Ceres is a world of angels, and love is their greatest heaven of all. We should all be so lucky.

The world of Ceres has been ruled for millennia by the winged race known as Lightlings. When the Chalice Kingdom celebrates the birth of the next crown princess, they have no idea just what events have been set into motion. The beautiful angel has a special, shadowy, gift, and only by learning to control it will she be able to claim the lover rightfully hers by destiny, and save her world from an evil bent on consuming them all.

Shadow on the Sea can be found on Amazon at:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WDEMR6Q and http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00WDEMR6Q

Etta Jean was made in England but born in Sacramento, California. Her destiny as a bard was somewhat inevitable. Little else can explain how she constantly told her mother tall tales so outlandish that she couldn’t even get grounded for them. A love of worlds created by others eventually brought out the desire to create her own, and she has never looked back. She has seen both good and evil in her life, and her stories, like life, have no half measures. Her happy endings never come without cost, though, for she truly believes we can’t appreciate the good and the joy without the bad and the pain along the way.

Her current haunt is a comfy house in her beloved Sacramento where she wrangles three feline fur-kids and consumes peppermints like mana in order to balance a calendar filled with more creative venues than a sane person should realistically undertake. If she’s not chained to her desk, she’s stomping through the scenery in search of equally fantastical photographs.

Etta Jean can be located on the web at: http://www.ettajeanfantasy.com/ and ettajeanfantasy.wordpress.com

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Filed under My Bookshelf ~ Fiction