4 out of 4 stars
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Seeds of Deception opens up with Sput Louie, a freed African American slave; Benjamin, a freedman and Sput's Cherokee Indian-black husband; and their three sons in the Indian town of Feather Falls. As a means to free her family from their deplorable condition, Sput wants her husband to ask his father, Goliah Lynch, to claim him as his son. This would give Benjamin enough rights and privileges to own land and receive money so that he and his family can have a future. It seems like a good plan except that Goliah and Benjamin hate each other's guts, given their extremely checkered history. After a sour visit from Goliah—also known as Old Crow—Benjamin swallows his pride and goes to beg his father to claim him. The meeting doesn't go as planned. Goliah reveals a terrible secret to Benjamin that seeks to destroy his and his family's entire existence.
Meanwhile, Sput Louie becomes worried after her husband doesn't return from Old Crow's home. She goes to seek help from Two Bird, a wise and respected Cherokee Indian. However, with the United States' continuous encroachment and the growing tension and hostility between African Americans and Native Indians, her plan is looking bad from the get-go. Amid these circumstances, Louie receives a cryptic delivery from her AWOL husband. The content of this package spurs her to make some drastic decisions for herself and her family. What is in the package? Does Two Bird help her? What becomes of Benjamin and his family?
Seeds of Deception was a fantastic story for me. Arlene L. Walker did a splendid job of penning a story with a very tight plot and gripping scenes. This tale was entirely fluff-free, which was refreshing. One of the first things that stood out to me was that in the story, Cherokee Indians had African American slaves. I had heard of this assumption before, so I did a little digging online and found it to be historically accurate. I was both shocked and troubled. Why would an oppressed people turn around and mete out the same measure of oppression to another group of people?
At the end of the book, I found out that this story was inspired by the author's heritage, which was terrific. I also loved the names that Walker used for the characters. Many of them sounded exactly as I expected. Characters like Old Crow, Two Bird, Laughing Boy, and Tiger Tee Hee were just a few examples. I also learned some interesting Tsalagi words (the language spoken by the Cherokee). Examples include osiyo, asgina, tsila, uyo ayelvdi, and watoli, to name a few. I thought the language was gibberish at first. A little research proved otherwise, and I was thankful that it was real. I was also intrigued to discover that the Native Indians are a matrilineal society. Besides the core story, it was clear that the author thoroughly researched Native Indian culture before penning this story.
The world-building and character development were top-notch. I appreciated the author's attention to detail in the former and her sufficient backstories in the latter. The tradition, fashion, medicine, and other aspects of Cherokee life and culture were injected seamlessly into the story. Also, Walker took the time to give enough details about major characters, like Sput Louie, Two Bird, and Goliah. She also used the support characters in the best possible way; they served their purpose to drive the plot forward and nothing more.
Besides the plot, Arlene's writing was clear and concise. She intentionally spelled certain words wrong to fit a character's accent. Still, there was no confusion. My favorite characters in Seeds of Deception were Sput Louie and Two Bird. I appreciated their story arc, but I won't go into any details to avoid giving too much away. I should warn that there are several profane words and racial slurs used in this tale. The words "nigger" and "negroes" appear frequently, but that's not surprising, given the story's era.
Clearly, a professional editor worked on this book; I found only one instance of an omitted word. Owing to the premium character development and world-building, the history lessons I gleaned, and its professional editing, I rate this book a perfect 4 out of 4 stars. There was absolutely nothing I disliked about this beautiful story. Seeds of Deception is a perfect work of literature, and I'll readily recommend it to anyone who is a lover of history and historical fiction.
Seeds of Deception
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