Synopsis: Historical theories braid North Carolina's Lumbee Indians and America's largest ongoing mystery, The Lost Colony, with a friendship that will never leave you. Jake Wilkes has ownership of his best friend’s bank account and winery and is engaged to the woman of their dreams. But he doesn’t have the highly coveted proof of North Carolina’s Lumbee Indians’ true origins. It was stolen it from his best friend, Bruce Black. His death made headlines. So Jake bravely directs his first presentation, ‘Lumbee Indians and America’s First Christians,’ which seems like a fiasco, and receives death threats and a proposition by an unassuming wordsmith. When Jake shares his true life tale of growing up with a Lum as his best friend he reveals a secret subculture and life on the swamp becomes a jubious ride to live to tell the tale. While a world away a second chance at love rides in on a turbulent tide. Set in rural North Carolina where moonshine, conjuring, church and fifty five thousand Lumbee Indians truly are as much a part of the beloved culture as America’s largest ongoing mystery, The Lost Colony. Includes references and guide to Lumbees' endangered language.
My thoughts: The only category I feel no doubt placing The Gamecocks in is “Southern.” It has dramatic, mysterious, mischievous, and most importantly historic content. The book is set up with the main character introducing each chapter of his story by reading it to us, himself being the author. This gives a sense of realism which is necessary because, in fact, the historical reveal brought forth here is being brought forth right now.
Jake, the main character and “author”, is quite a real person. In fact, this is true with each of the greater-seen cast. The time Mrs. Stephanie Sellers invests in her characters is very clear to see, and impresses me a great deal. She tied these characters very close to the South, and therefore the reader too. I felt ready to see a rowdy procession at the church, boys being told off by their momma, or Fisk and Wart runnin’ after a snake. Likewise, she doesn’t tone the speak down completely, neither.
Now, for the history. I appreciated the beginning exposition on the discovery of the Lumbee’s origin. This helped me track the book as I was reading, and made it much easier to understand once repeated. But, I also appreciate it for not saying all that would be said. It left quite a bit at the end for the Knights Templar, the Portuguese, the Council, etc.
The title of the book doesn’t become very clear until the end. This is where the action begins to unfold, and abruptly finishes the story. The end was unexpected, but when I think about it, was necessary. This is because it leaves much room for mystery that won’t be revealed, meaning there will likely be no sequel (not that it needs one).
In conclusion, The Gamecocks is a Southern-to-the-heart story of two friends trying to bring the historical truth of the Lumbee origins to light. It has fantastic characters which bring out the South in the reader, and has great historical enlightenment, which we would all benefit to learn.
My rating: 5 stars