Some years ago the library had a book in the Leisure section about Vikings, written by Don Coldsmith. I had just finished a summer class “Heroes, Monsters and Crusaders” taught by Dr. Eleanor Turk. One of the topics we talked about was Beowulf, who was a Viking. This caught my interest and I wanted to read more about Vikings. As it turned out Dr. Coldsmith’s book, “Runestone,” was so well written that I wanted to read more of his works. He didn’t write anymore Viking stories but had written about 12 other books about the Indians of the Great Plains set between 1540-1700. And IU Kokomo owned the books. So I started borrowing them through interlibrary loan. I showed the first book to the secretary of the library and she wanted to read it too. Well, that summer I would borrow one book after another and read it first and passed it on to my friend. Then we would discuss that book and start on the next book. What we couldn’t get from Kokomo I could borrow from Morrisson-Reeves Library. We read the books in order of publication and had a great time that summer and fall.
My friend and I fell in love with the author and we wrote him a fan letter. He wrote us back and sent along information about his web site. From this I learned that there were more books than what the libraries owned. Since one of my duties is to help students do research, I did more research on the Spanish Bit Saga, which is what Dr. Coldsmith calls this series of books. I read that he had found an old Spanish horse bit at a flea market and wondered what the Indians of the Great Plains may have thought about the horses the Spanish brought over. I also research the author and found out that he was a medical doctor and also taught writing at Emporia State University in Kansas. In writing this blog I found out that Dr. Coldsmith passed away last June. His last book, “Moon of Madness,” was written in 2008 but is not publish yet. He had written over 30 books on the Spanish Bit Saga and a few other books for a total of 40 books.
A few years ago I started buying the Spanish Bit Saga at flea markets and such. Then I found them reprinted in Amazon. When I feel down and need a pick up, I buy a few more of these books.
This summer I am reading three of his books. In one room I have “The Runestone” and in another room “The Flower in the Mountains.” I’ll then start “Song of the Rock” later this week. I own about 15 or so of the series and have read them over and over. I’m now borrowing those I don’t own so I can read these wonderful stories all over again.
I think the best of these books is “Walks in the Sun.” Some of the men of the People (that’s what they call themselves) wanted to find a warmer place to camp for the winter. So about 12 of the men headed south. The way Dr. Coldsmith describes the new sights and sounds they encounter is amazing. The reader knows they ended up in the southern part of Mexico.
I would recommend any of these books to read if you like Native American stories. If they are checked out or not available at your local library, you can use ILLiad (our interlibrary loan system) to borrow any good read for the summer.
Happy summer reading.