Authors Showcase: The River of Corn by John Rose Putnam
June 1, 2015
The Book: The River of Corn
The Author: John Rose Putnam
The Story: America was a far different place in 1540 when Hernando de Soto and 600 Spanish conquistadors crossed the Savannah River into what is now South Carolina, and thus entered the empire of the Chicora, the largest and most powerful Native Indian civilization in the American Southeast. While Cofitachique, the lost city of the Chicora, is regarded as the gem of Southern archaeology, no trace of it has yet been found.
The beautiful Queen who led the Chicora took Soto to a huge temple sitting high above a river. Adorned with pearls and seashells, it was filled with the remains of the honored Chicora dead. But Soto and the Spanish could not find the gold they craved. Food was in short supply. Tensions grew between the natives and the invaders. In order to prevent a war the Queen offered a supply of corn from a nearby city if the Spanish would leave her realm. Soto agreed but then took the Queen hostage and headed for the Blue Mountains of the Chalaque.
Meanwhile the Chalaque, blood enemies of the Chicora, plotted to take over the fertile fields along the River of Corn that flowed past the city of Cofitachique. As soon as the Spanish invaders left the land of the Chicora, the Chalaque would attack from their villages near the Blue Mountains and take for their own the bounty of the River of Corn. This was a time of great trouble for the Chicora
A great civilization led by a beautiful queen, a magnificent temple covered in pearls, a ruthless conquistador lusting for gold, who were the Chicora? What happened to them?
About John Rose Putnam:
John came west as a young man and settled in Berkeley where he graduated from the University of California. He still lives and writes there. John’s characters are so real they’ll jump right off the page and talk to you.
His villains have hearts as cold as midnight and his heroes almost always do the right thing in the end. While his first novel, HANGTOWN CREEK, a story of adventure, romance, and coming of age in the early days of the gold rush, was published in 2011, his second book, INTO THE FACE OF THE DEVIL, moves between Hangtown and the sawmill where James Marshall first found gold, and pits a young man in love for the first time against a killer so evil he could pass for Satan.
Now John has turned his attention to a powerful Native Indian nation led by a beautiful woman and first contacted by Hernando de Soto in 1540. While all trace of their culture has vanished, John fashioned his own ideas about their fate into a gripping and intense new book called THE RIVER OF CORN.
Review by P. S. Winn:
Gomez is in the army and as a black man a bit of a standout. Perico is a translator of Indian language and the two team up to help to find Chicora the fabled city of gold. John Putnam takes the reader on a journey back in time as he tells of a history from ages ago, but one that should never be forgotten.
Because greed is a constant no matter the year and leads to terrible tragedies as it does in this well written novel. The reader will feel they are back in time as they go with Gomez and Perico on their great and dangerous adventure.
This is a wonderful book that combines believable history with the author’s wonderful abilities as a story teller and a must have read.
Review by R. Dunbar:
I first discovered John Putnam’s work through his vivid portrayals of the characters and events of the California Gold Rush. In The River of Corn, he changes gears and plunges his readers headlong into the earliest days of the exploration – and exploitation of the New World.
The records of Hernan Desoto’s explorations are sketchy, most of them lost to history. Of course, even if they were available today, a scholar would probably find them typically self-serving and one sided. Mr. Putnam employs his considerable storytelling skills to fill in the gaps with logical speculation, resulting in an amazing reading experience, told from the viewpoints of both historical and fictitious characters.
The River of Corn is a riveting story of adventure, hardship, greed, and destruction of civilizations. It’s a rattling good read, whether one is a lover of history, or simply a fan of well told adventure stories. This reviewer eagerly awaits John Putnam’s next effort.