People of the Forest
One filled with hard working forest people that live off the land, having many mates to care for, families that work together to fend for each other and protect against the tribes that attack and ravage their women; the other a world filled with modern technology and a man who spent years frozen in a cryo chamber along with 300 other people and a transport vessel that causes him to crash land and wind up in a world he never expected to see or ever learn about. What happens when the present meets the past you won’t want to miss reading People of the Forest by innovative and outstanding author Ray Shoop.
What would happen if you were frozen in a cryo chamber for over twelve years and thawed out like a piece of meat waiting to be roasted or broiled? Your job is to take your transport with 300 colonists and bring them safely to a new colony that they could inhabit hoping that the ship lands safely and the advance team left provisions and supplies for housing and more in order to colonize the planet in the solar system. A seeding colony is what it would be called hosting those in the cryo chamber on their transport, hoping to expand and create more life on these planets in the solar system.
But, the transport becomes defective and the end result is catastrophic as Dan, Cowboy his partner and the android that runs the mission lose more than just the transport vessel when it explodes and everyone near and dear to Dan perish. Why, that still remains to be seen. The shuttlecraft is defective and even trying to repair and fix with the help of his trusted Droid Sarno, the end result is a crash landing on a planet that will take Dan on the journey of a life time that he will never forget.
In another part of the solar system we find Nu-Del and her tribe. Her father and his four mates, her family, the many children and siblings as they prepare for the men to go a huge hunt and what happens just might collide Dan and Nu-Del’s worlds as one. Nu-Del has premonitions and as she is weaving and working she hears a loud noise in her head warning her that trouble is imminent but pushing it aside for the time being until she is sure of the danger and when it will arrive before telling her people. Nu-Del has four mothers, adopted sisters and brothers and lives in the forest with Transoni, her mate, and his three other mates and their families. Becoming part of their tribe, but not a welcome member, she assimilates quite well and is now called Nu- Del.
Her adopted parents Sel and Cordac expect her to do her fair share of work just like the rest of their children. In a society that allows men to have more than one mate, Nu-Del learns a lot about the culture and ways of all of the tribes she encounters. Not so different from some other countries that still have concubines and first mates and more, she learns how the mating process and more. When Nu-Del’s senses that there is danger will she use her special gift to safe her tribe? Will they listen and protect themselves and fight back even though they are not a tribe that fights and kills? But, for right now she pushes all fears aside.
But, the hunters of her village leave and danger arrives as her village is ravaged and many of the female gathers are captured by the Dumeasets and taken to live in their communities. Not able to fight back and having to go willingly seemed unfair and Nu-Del did the unthinkable to save the life of her own. She killed the enemy without regard for herself or the punishment to follow. Although she was only doing what anyone would think was right, it was not allowed and she suffered the consequences.
As the hunters returned and learned of the fate of their village and their loses lost, preparations had to be made to find a new location and decisions about Nu-Del would be made once they settled in their new location. However, while Nu-Del awaited her fate Dan, our space explorer was learning about the planet he landed on and learning many other hard lessons about life. Realizing that he had to fend for himself even with the help of the Droid, he set out exploring the planet only to encounter dangerous animals, creatures and contract many different illnesses along the way.
Becoming weak, sick, hungry but determined to explore and find out more about this world, he stumbles upon some ashes, dead bodies of creatures and more surmising that this planet might have had living creatures or humans on it and possibly still does. Knowing that if the Home World his world commission found out and he informed the Seeding Commission of his findings he knew it would restart the cycle over again with scientists, explorations, diggers and more creating havoc on this planet. But, what he finds first was the most valuable as he landed and found the Advanced Team’s huts with their equipment, food and more but not realizing what the fate of some of them were and that several were living among the People of the Forest who he has yet to encounter.
But, as Dan is becoming more acclimated to his new environment Nu-Del learns she is to be banished from her village for three short cycles and has three days to prepare and then must leave an live on her own. When Dan finds himself all alone and having to fend for himself he soon realizes the difficulties faced living on this new planet. Finding the bones and remnants of past people civilizations and he comes upon Nu-Del only to hide his presence even though she knows he is there.
Then, Dan gets hurt and the two worlds collide and Dan comes face to face with Nu-Del who tends to his wounds and brings him back to life. But, something even more remarkable happens as Dan and Nu-Del realize that there is more of connection than first realized as she learns of the fate of her parents, who she really is and her link to the advanced Seeding Group whose hut he found after landing on this planet.
Dan suffers many injuries and Nu-Del or Laura as she was called in her previous life like an angel of mercy or kindness renders him help and brings him back to health. As they listen and learn about each other’s lives, pasts and hopes for their futures, Dan learns about Laura’s new life living in a tribe, being one of many mates and hoping to find out about her past and her family that she lost when captured by the tribe she lives with.
Had she not been banished maybe the ending would have remained the same as the beginning. As Transoni her mate, contemplates his loss of Nu-Del he defies tradition and goes in search of her ignoring the fact that she has been banished and to have no contact with her tribe. Finding her and what happens next will not only endear you to the People of the Forest but to Dan who comes from a life light years ahead of these primitive but intelligent people, as they try and merge two worlds, free those enslaved by the Dumeasets and create a colony for these people to live in.
Torn between two worlds and reunited with some from her past, Laura/Nu-Del has many life altering decisions to make after helping her people adjust to their new site, new life, customs and surroundings that would change them forever. Some will decide to remain captives and others will decide to forge ahead. Transoni, Nu-Del’s hunter will have to decide whether to return to his band, start his own in order to provide for so many mates, children and more or to go it alone.
Author Ray Shoop brings to light some very important issues in this outstanding second novel in his series about the Forest People. Understanding differences of others, working for a common goal and solution and helping people of different cultures to survive, thrive and learn new ways are just some of the lessons learned in this book. Added to that is loyalty, trust, understanding, caring and friendships that develop among people whose goal it is to survive in a world even there’s that has their own brand of terrorists who invade and take what does not belong to them because they are more powerful in strength.
What will happen to those that decide to leave the band? What will happen to Nu-Del, her birth mother and the rest of the band? Will she return to her people and help them and give up her past life and her heritage to remain in her tribe although she might not be wanted there? What happens you will have to read for yourself? The final outcome has not been decided as we wait for the final chapter or sequel to be written and the fate of all of these people to be decided. Let’s not forget our loyal Droid Sarno who keeps our Lieutenant centered, on course and provides the much needed common sense and intelligence to keep Dan alive.
Can Transoni and his tribes learn to plant, farm and live without meat as a basic staple? Can Nu-Del find happiness without her tribe and with Dan? Will Dan return and complete his mission and report his findings to the Home World? What will happen to these people and their colony when they find out about them? Will they invade and create havoc and destroy what they have started in order to do experiments, dig and have scientists explore the land and the people? These answers and others will come when our brilliant author writes the sequel.
The characters are well-defined in a fast paced plot that keeps the reader engrossed, immersed and transfixed from the start when Dan crashes and lands and suffers the hardships of the new planet, the creatures that want to eat him for three meals, and his courage to survive, as he Nu-Del and so many more keep the reader riveted to the pages of this book which I read in one day. This is one book that I would definitely recommend to readers.
I give this book Five Perfect Shuttlecrafts without defects and one extra Sarno to keep it running.
Author: Ray Shoop
Reviewer: Fran Lewis