Michael and Kathleen Gear, bestselling authors and award winning archaeologists are famous for writing novels about prehistoric America that are fast-paced, steeped in cultural detail, and smart. Here, in their most ambitious work to date, they combine their distinctive trademark of high action with a rich psychological drama.
Four thousand years ago, in what centuries later will be the southern part of the United States, a boy is thrust into manhood long before he's ready. Young Salamander would much rather catch crickets and watch blue herons fish than dabble in the politics of his clan. But when his heroic brother is killed, Salamander becomes the leader of America's first city. He inherits his brother's two wives, who despise him, and is forced to marry his mortal enemy's daughter to forge an alliance for the trade goods his people desperately need.
But he's only fifteen winters old! Technically he's not even a man, and most people consider him to be the village idiot! Worse, each of his wives has secretly been ordered by her clan to kill him.
Cast adrift in a stark wilderness of political intrigue where assassins are everywhere, young Salamander has no choice but to become a man-and quickly. For his own greatest enemies are closing in, intent upon destroying him and his clan and taking over Sun Town for themselves.
It would all be a simple matter if he could just run away, but he can't. He has three problems: Their names are Night Rain, Pinedrop and Anhinga. His wives. Despite what their clans have ordered them to do he loves them. And he loves the children they have given him. As the end draws close, he realized he has only one duty he cannot shirk-to protect his family. Salamander will do it. No matter the cost in blood.