From New York Times bestselling novelists W. Michael and Kathleen O’Neal Gear comes the first book in a landmark new series that paints a vivid portrait of the devastating clash of cultures during the blood-drenched years that followed Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto’s landing in “La Florida” in 1539—as seen entirely through the eyes of two courageous Native Americans. Black Shell, an exiled Chickasaw trader, is fascinated by the pale, bearded newcomers who call themselves “Kristianos,” and not even the counsel of Pearl Hand, the beautiful, extraordinary woman who has consented to be his mate, can dissuade him. Only after a firsthand lesson in Kristiano brutality does Black Shell fully comprehend the dangers these invaders pose to his people’s way of life. And while his first instinct is to run far from the Kristianos, Black Shell has been called to a greater destiny—by the Spirit Being known as Horned Serpent. With Pearl Hand by his side, Black Shell must find a way to unite the disparate tribes and settlements of his native land and overcome the merciless armies of de Soto. . . .