Book Review: Quillan Creek and the Little War (Time Stones Book I) by Ian Hunter
Updated: Nov 14
Quillan Creek and the Little War
(Time Stones Book I)
By Ian Hunter
Jessie Mason has troubles enough in her young life. Orphaned and shunned, her aunt has been the one constant in her life. But when her aunt inexplicably disappears, and Jessie discovers her mother's Time Stone, events at the upstate New York children’s home land Jessie in mortal peril.
Her escape is a summons, to a world of conflict, upheaval and fear, 250 years in her past, and to three unlikely companions: Tip, Kes and Abe. The aged shaman, Nishkamich, takes them under his wing, promising an education in the powers of the stones which they each possess. Jessie, disbelieving all explanations of where she is, reluctantly agrees to remain in the hostile Onondaga village and listen to his instruction. Over one long summer, Jessie warms to her strange new life, and the growing bond between her unpredictable fellow apprentices. But as Tip and Abe reveal the paths of destruction which brought them to the village, the friends have to consider that their stones are being ruthlessly hunted through history. Disturbed by these revelations, Nishkamich leaves in search of the truth, and their education ceases.
In ice and snow, a hunting trip suddenly becomes a deadly trial which will test their friendship, their wits, and the limits of their endurance, in the face of nature’s unforgiving winter and one man’s determination to seize what is theirs.
“…they are guardians too, their hearts and minds are just as strong as yours.”
It was a gift, a source of great power. But with such power came great responsibly and unfortunately no handbook.
One minute, Tiponi was trying to find a way not to spend the day weaving baskets with her mother and the next she was fleeing for her life, alone.
Jessie Mason was alone. She did not have a family. She did not have any friends. All she had was the courage to battle on and a strange yet beautifully coloured stone. But then the earth rumbled, and she fell through a crevice, and everything changed.
It was not every day that you found yourself in the company of Custer, Lieutenant-Colonel, of the Seventh Cavalry. After that, the day took a decidable downwards turn for Abe, and the only thing he had left of his former life were the clothes that he was in and a stone.
The unworthy were returned to the earth, but Kesejowaase was beginning to suspect that the Great Spirit did not have a hand in this magic. Who were these strangers that the ground spat out? And how did they know the tongue of the Haudenosaunee? There was only one person who could unravel this mystery, and that was Nishkamich, the tribe's shaman.
Nishkamich knew of the stones, he knew of their power, for he had one of his own. But his time in this world was nearing an end, and he had to teach those who would come after him everything he knew.
However, it soon becomes clear to Nishkamich that the stones are being hunted by a man who wanted them for his own malicious intention. He must never be allowed to take them…
From a harrowing slaughter to the realisation of a terrible truth, Quillan Creek and the Little War (Time Stones Book I) by Ian Hunter is in all ways a time-travel fantasy triumph!
Hunter weaves the elements of frontier adventure, fantasy, warfare and the racial conflicts of the era into a story that is next to impossible to put down. The dark foreshadowing at the beginning of this book and the utter confusion of the protagonists as they search for answers makes this the kind of novel where the reader really feels that they too are on this incredible journey of discovery. This is a book that captured my attention from the opening sentence, and it continued to hold it until that emotionally powerful final full stop. This is the kind of book that one would forgo sleep to finish.
The forbidding landscape of the Haudenosaunee tribe is a stark contrast to modern-day America. The air is cleaner, the life is more in tune with nature, and there is a wonderful balance that is missing in the fast-paced high-tech life we all know. However, this is the beginning of the end for the Haudenosaunee tribe as they contend not only with their enemies but foreign invaders who bring war, disease, and death. And this is where our brave protagonists, who all come from very different times, find themselves. It is here, in this frontier setting, that the heroes of this story come together and change the very definition of family — they quickly realise that family is not defined by blood. It is defined in loyal friendship and unbreakable bonds.
Jessie Mason is a character who one can instantly relate to because she is from modern times. When she finds herself in a vastly different world the first thing she notices is that the lake, which she knows well, is full of life — whereas in her time there is no life, the lake is polluted. Jessie is also one of the most pragmatic characters, and she approaches this adventure with an open mind, and she embraces the opportunity of what has been given to her even if she does not understand it. Jessie was wonderfully portrayed, and she is a fabulous role model for young adults, for she triumphs despite her adversaries, whether that be in modern times or the past and she is a genuinely lovely person. There is no pretence about her at all. I thought her depiction was brilliant.
Of all the characters in this story, it is Kesejowaase that is the most conflicted for he had envisaged a vastly different life for himself than the one he finds himself living, and yet he does not shrink from his responsibilities, nor does he fight against it. His loyalty to his friends and his family are absolute, and he will do everything possible to make sure everyone is safe. His selfless acts of courage and his bravery makes for a very appealing protagonist.
The wilds of the frontier is the perfect backdrop for a story that is rife with action, adventure and magic. The enthralling narrative, and the equally compelling prose, paints a historical setting that is rich in authenticity. The attention to the historical detail has to be commended. Hunter has brought the frontier back to life in both its glorious and darker detail, although he is forever mindful of his book’s intended audience — the language used in this novel reflects that. There are moments of trepidation, fear, and battles, but there is nothing unsuitable for a young adult audience.
I thought Hunter really captured this era and what it must have been like to live through it. The relationship between the various tribes and the influence that the white traders were beginning to have on the native people was realistically portrayed. A beaver’s fur could buy things that the Haudenosaunee now needed because they were in the middle of what we would call an arms war — they needed the modern white-mans' weapons if their people were to have any chance of survival. The greed of man and the wilful destruction of the wildlife and the natives is also touched upon, which I thought validated the legitimacy of the setting that Hunter has so masterfully created.
Quillan Creek and the Little War (Time Stones Book I) by Ian Hunter is an enthralling adventure that begs to be read again and again. I cannot wait to get my hands on Book #2 of what promises to be an absolutely brilliant series.
I Highly Recommend
Review by Mary Anne Yarde
The Coffee Pot Book Club
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Books have been an important part of my life as long as I can remember, and at 54 years old, that’s a lot of books. My earliest memories of reading are CS Lewis’, “The Horse and His Boy” – by far the best of the Narnia books, the Adventures series by Willard Price, and “Goalkeepers are Different” by sports journalist Brian Glanville. An eclectic mix. My first English teacher was surprised to hear that I was reading, Le Carré, Ken Follett, Nevil Shute and “All the Presidents’ Men” by Woodward and Bernstein at the age of 12. I was simply picking up the books my father had finished.
School syllabus threw up the usual suspects – Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dickens, Hardy, “To Kill a Mockingbird” – which I have reread often, and others I don’t immediately recall. By “A” level study, my then English teachers were pulling their hair out at my “perverse waste of talent” – I still have the report card! But I did manage a pass.
During a 35 year career, briefly in Banking and then in IT, I managed to find time, with unfailing family support, to study another lifelong passion, graduating with an Open University Bachelors’ degree in History in 2002. This fascination with all things historical inspired me to begin the Time Stones series. There is so much to our human past, and so many differing views on what is the greatest, and often the saddest, most tragic story. I decided I wanted to write about it; to shine a small light on those, sometimes pivotal stories, which are less frequently mentioned.
In 1995, my wife, Michelle, and I moved from England to southern Germany, where we still live, with our two children, one cat, and, when she pays us a visit, one chocolate labrador. I have been fortunate that I could satisfy another wish, to travel as widely as possible and see as much of our world as I can. Destinations usually include places of historic and archaeological interest, mixed with a large helping of sun, sea and sand for my wife’s peace of mind.
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