Kado: Lost Treasure of the Kadohadacho

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

I received a complimentary copy of Kado: The Lost Treasure of the Kadohadacho from NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

I enjoyed reading this novel.  A very well written historical fiction, it follows a few settlers through both peaceful and dangerous encounters with native tribes of the Louisiana/'Arkansaw' territories presented in a journal format.  This really was a unique adventure story, like none I have read before it.  With somewhat developed characters and an intriguing plot, it is worth reading.  (Side note: Several chapters were written from the point of view of the enemy, however which disrupted the "journal" notion.  Though I found the information in those chapters interesting and maybe even necessary, I felt that they were out of place if the entire book premise was that it was the "journal of Tom Murrell".  Similarly, the foreword swerved between first and third person, so I skipped over most of it and read only the actual chapters of the book.)

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.
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I am so glad I got the chance to read this book, which is part historical fiction and part historical fantasy with just the barest touch of romance. I had never heard of the Kadohadacho group of Native American tribes (they are also apparently called the Caddo), but they are evidently real people. This is one of the things I love about historical fiction – it gives you the chance to get close to people and events you never knew existed.

The historical fiction parts were particularly good, many of them being based on a diary kept by one of the author’s ancestors of a journey from around Carthage, Tennessee, to a place in what was then the “Arkansaw Territory” called Long Prairie. 

Early in the story, before this journey began, the New Madrid earthquake of 1811 is featured. This is an excellent description of this event – it makes you feel like you were right there. It is during this event that Tom Murrell’s father had the first brief encounter with what appears to be the supernatural in the form of an old Indian who seemed to have rescued him and one of his friends from the river in the middle of the earthquake. He predicted John Murrell would take his family and move to near the ancient home of the Kadohadacho on the Red River. Dream or real incident, the encounter proved to be prophetic.

In 1818 the Murrell’s did move to the area known as Long Prairie on the Red River. The description of traveling there by flatboat and keelboat is once again very good. It is more like traveling on these boats than anything I have ever read. The family and the other families accompanying them had many adventures and hardships on the trip, although thankfully, there were no earthquakes this time around. Tom became friends with Mattie, the daughter of one of the other organizers of the expedition, who had taught herself some of the Kadohadacho language – a useful skill it turned out later. 

After the Murrells have established the beginnings of a farm at Long Prairie, Tom and his father journey overland back to Natchitoches to buy some cattle. On the way, they encounter a band of renegade Indians attacking a Kadohadacho medicine man and his party. They kill the attackers but are too late to save the medicine man and his guard. Tom frees the two children traveling with them, however. In return, the dying medicine man mingles his blood with Tom’s gifting him with the power to discover the sacred site of the burial ground of the Kadohadacho medicine men.

This trip to the sacred site is a story in itself and is the fantasy part of the book.
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A good piece of historical fiction that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.  The story followed the main character whose family were moving to the frontiers of the American west which in itself was a good story and then it combined some mysticism from a native American background.  I would definitely recommend this book.
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It is an interesting look at a Native American culture and legacy. How arriving Europeans impacted them over time.

I liked it.
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4-4.5 stars.

I really enjoyed this story--I would describe it as a novelization of historical events that occurred in the ancestry of the author. It felt like a cross between Laura Ingalls Wilder and Treasure Island with a pinch of magic/Native American spirits. This story brings to life the history of a little known tribe of Native Americans known as the Caddoo (which I think are called Kado or Kadohadacho in this book). The characters are very interesting and I particularly like the two main characters, Tom (narrator) and Mattie. Even James, who I don't like at the beginning, grows on me so that by the end, I admire some things about him. I think this book would be suitable for older middle schoolers and young adults, but there is a few instances of killing mentioned in the book as an FYI to more sensitive readers.
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E.Russell Braziel  writes with eloquence, authority, and magical brilliance about Americas historical  beginnings and its inhabitants, what life was like back then along with some adventure to boot !
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