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The Legend BeginsJuan Garcia rode as an arrogant conquistador into the heart of an unexplored continent. One day, on a lone patrol, he was injured and lost. He knew he had little chance of surviving or of ever returning to his homeland. But what happened from that day forward made a different man of Juan Garcia. He embarked upon a greater adventure than any he could have iThe Legend BeginsJuan Garcia rode as an arrogant conquistador into the heart of an unexplored continent. One day, on a lone patrol, he was injured and lost. He knew he had little chance of surviving or of ever returning to his homeland. But what happened from that day forward made a different man of Juan Garcia. He embarked upon a greater adventure than any he could have imagined. For instead of hostility, he discovered a people who showed him a new way of life. And he, in turn, brought them a talisman, the Spanish Bit, that forever transformed their society.With well over four million copies of his critically-acclaimed frontier novels in print, Don Coldsmith is one of the bestselling novelists of the Native American experience....

Title : Trail of the Spanish Bit
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780553263978
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Trail of the Spanish Bit Reviews

  • Werner
    2019-03-02 23:58

    Note, Feb. 19, 2016: I've just edited this to correct several typos.I stumbled on this book in a public library, and was intrigued by the cover and subject matter. Barb and I wound up not only reading this one together, but several other volumes of the series as well, during the late 80s and early 90s --it inaugurates a multi-generational saga that extends, to my knowledge, for over a century, and perhaps longer. They all share the same basic style and literary vision. Eventually, we got distracted from the series by other reads, and never returned to it. But the books are well written, delivering solid entertainment, and free of bad language, lewd sexual content, and overly grisly violence. (If I could give half stars here, I'd rate it three and a half.)Sometimes classified as a "Western," while this is set on the Great Plains, it has nothing in common with the fiction of the "cowboy" era in the late 1800s, being set much earlier (although the date isn't given in the book and Coronado isn't named, protagonist Juan Garcia is supposed to be a soldier in Coronado's expedition of 1540), and Coldsmith didn't think of it in "Western" genre terms, but as historical fiction exploring the rise of the horse culture among the Plains Indians. A Kansas resident, his literary inspiration came from discovering, in a secondhand store in Oklahoma, a well-preserved 16th-century Spanish metal bit apparatus for fitting into a horse's mouth and attaching to a set of reins. This inspired imaginative speculation about what stories that bit could tell if it could talk, and the series was born.The perspective on the world here is basically that of the People (the author deliberately avoids the term "Indians"); since Juan knows nothing about Native American culture and has no preconceptions, he easily learns to view their world through their eyes. Most Indian tribes called themselves "the People" in their own tongues; which particular tribe finds the injured Juan and his pregnant mare, or "elk-dog" (they've never seen a horse before, so they initially assume it must be a strange type of dog --but it's as big as an elk!) is never specified, and other tribes are only identified by the People's names for them. (Their traditional enemies, for instance, are the Head-Splitters.) But despite the lack of specificity, Coldsmith has clearly researched Plains Indian culture and history extensively, and creates a vivid and authentic composite picture of the culture. Unlike Ruth Beebe Hill in Hanta Yo: An American Saga, however, he does this much more succinctly and with a much more quick-flowing narrative pace; and unlike Jean Auel in her Earth's Children series, he does not insist on divulging every last fact his research has uncovered in long info-dumps. Our sense of the culture is just as fully evoked, but more painlessly.Cross-cultural acceptance, friendship and co-operation is obviously a strong theme in this novel; though Juan does most of the adapting to the People's way of life, he also teaches them horsemanship, which they're glad to learn. Coldsmith's handling of the religious differences is less realistic. Both Juan and the People, of course, recognize the Creator, under different names; but Juan's duty-bound attempt to share his Christian faith consists of telling them that God the Father "sent us His Son to show us the way to live." (Which, not surprisingly, prompts them to observe, "It is the same with us;" the Great Spirit supposedly sent Sun Boy to teach them about right living). Of course, Christians see Jesus' role as much more ample than teaching "the way to live;" his primary mission was to die a sacrificial death to atone for our sins, and this is NOT a concept the People's theology, founded just in basic conscience and general revelation, includes yet. A 16th-century Spanish Catholic would know this; one might hope he'd be as willing as Juan is to view his friend's beliefs as a glass half full (many of his countrymen wouldn't have!), but we'd expect him to try to find a tactful way to suggest filling it the rest of the way. The author's agenda here wasn't the same as we'd expect the protagonist's to be in real life; and this was my main quibble with the book.That notwithstanding, the positives here far outweigh the negatives. It's not deep fiction with moral conflicts, but the characterizations are well-developed, there's a moving and believable clean romance, and the plotting is unfailingly eventful and interesting. (Tribal warfare provides an action-adventure element that mixes well with relationship building and culture exploration.) I'd unhesitatingly recommend the book, and the series, to fans of Native American historical fiction.

  • William
    2019-03-25 05:19

    I started reading this series when the came out 30 years ago. I thought I would read again this series before I shipped them off to my family in the Philippines.Let me say at the start that I disagree with ever present referral of calling only the people that we in North America before 16th century "native American". If you are born somewhere, you are by definition,a 'native' of that place. Russel Means, of A.I.M., would give me support on that.This story is about the plains/prairie peoples obtained the horse from the conquering Spaniards who arrived in the early 16th century. The story is written with an honesty that lacks condescension.Make sure that you read the explanation after the end of the story

  • Denise
    2019-03-19 23:21

    I really enjoyed this short book (more like a novella at 180 pages. I like stories about Native Americans and have read Tony Hillerman and Jean Hager. Don Coldsmith was a new author for me and unlike Hillerman or Hager, Coldsmith is not writing a mystery. This is historical western fiction, not a genre I would normally read. The Spanish Bit Saga is about the early Native Americans during the time of the early Spanish penetration of the American continent. This story starts with a Spanish warrior who carelessly gets thrown from his horse and a band of "The People" who see him and think he is a god. When they see that he is hurt and not a god they help him and take him into their group. He slowly becomes one of the tribe and eventually becomes a leader. This is an older series, this first book written in 1980. There appear to be 31 books in this series. Dr. Coldsmith (he was a physician) recently died (June 25, 2009). My library does not have this series; I was able to get this first book through interlibrary loan and I hope that I can read more of them through this service.

  • Scooby
    2019-03-11 05:13

    great little book- good interesting storyline about a part of history I knew little aboutCant wait to read the next books in the series

  • Annette
    2019-03-04 06:01

    Another sort of "required reading" for a TALK book discussion this spring, it's part of the "Kansas Literary Heritage" series through the Kansas Humanities Council.I'm very much looking forward to re-reading this book as it is so historically accurate, mainly due to the fact author Don Coldsmith very thoroughly researched all of his novels. Coldsmith was my favorite Kansas author, and I was sad to see that he had passed away a few years ago. I had the privilege to meet and speak with him twice at library conferences, and he was truely a charming gentleman, very knowledgable about Kansas history, and fun to visit with. The Spanish Bit series includes over 30 books, and although they are considered Westerns, to me they are more like historical fiction. This first book in the series was conceived after Coldsmith came across an old Spanish bit in a barrel of junk in an antique shop somewhere in Oklahoma. He recognized it as a treasure, purchased it, and let his imagination (and research) lead him to write the story of how that bit made it to the midwest. The book reminds me a little bit of the movie "Dances with Wolves", so if you like that movie, you will love these books, as they are even better!

  • sarg
    2019-03-18 06:25

    The trail of the Spanish bit. By Don ColdsmithI gave this book 5 stars because that's all they will allow. This was a good read of historical fiction about Native American Indians. This is not a cowboy an Indian book it's about a tribe called the "People". And their struggle with other tribes. And the introduction of the horse and how it changes the Indians. The horse introduced by a lost conquistador Juan Garcia. Juan is taken in by the tribe and later becomes a member. I heartily recommend this book and this series. 

  • Diana Petersen
    2019-03-07 22:01

    This is my second time to read this book. I love historical fiction and historical books. This book is about a spanish conquistidor who gets lost and then is taken in by the native americans who find him. He learns to love the "People" he learns their ways and become an important person to them. I really like this series of about 40 books I have read them all and will most likely read them all again.

  • Jason
    2019-03-06 04:10

    A great start to a series of books that tackles coming of the horse, and the Europeans to the American Great Plains. The historical fiction is written fairly consistant with an oral traditional storytelling style. Simple, broad strokes similar to R.E. Howard can be found in Coldsmith's style. Very enjoyable.

  • TOTO from Kansas
    2019-03-17 06:08

    I have read the Entire series, Plus all the expanded editions. Loved every Book. Was sorry when the series ended. I would recommend these books to anyone. Being from Kansas originally, now residing on Maui, I could envision every location featured in each book

  • Harold
    2019-02-27 22:13

    Don Coldsmith said that he found this old bit for a horse in a garage sale Oklahoma that turned out to be from one of the early Spanish expeditions into the New World and this is where he received his inspiration for the Spanish Bit series. Coldsmith starting with Trail of the Spanish Bit which is a tale of a Spanish explorer who is separated from his group after a fall from his horse and is found by a Native American tribe that calls themselves the People. Coldsmith's concept of the People is a combination of several different Native American tribes. The Spaniard ends up following the People while he recovers from his fall and eventually becomes a part of the tribe.Coldsmith is telling what seems like a well researched story of how the introduction of the horses affected the Native American tribes of North America. He paints a picture of how buffalo were first hunted and how travel was on foot with belongings being placed on travois carried by dogs. With the introduction of horses it made travel easier and hunting more plentiful. Though I am not an authority on this, it seems to me that there are not may books out there that touch on this subject.The most unique and amazing part of this story, is unlike other westerns were this book is unjustly lumped, it takes place in the plains area circa the 16th century. It seems very little is written about this time period in plains, or even in America as a whole. Very little is ever said about the Spanish traveling north from South and Central America despite evidence of them making their way into the plains area of North America.For me this book opened my eyes to new information on the history of the Americas and how we came into being. That is what a good book does, especially good fiction, opens your mind to new possibilities, experiences, or ways of thinking.

  • Eliel Lopez
    2019-03-26 03:10

    Good story. Coldsmith knew how to weave a tale.

  • Bart Hennigan
    2019-02-27 04:12

    I got this book as a Christmas gift from my father-in-law; it's one of his favorite series, and he wanted to share it with me. (Every book I review for the next couple of months is one I got for Christmas).It isn't high minded stuff; it's the novel version of a spaghetti western. With that it mind, I liked it for what it was. It was fast paced, and Coldsmith did a good job of painting in broad strokes what life might have been like in the early 17th century for Native Americans. The book's protagonist is a Spaniard who is separated from his group, and falls in with a peaceful tribe. He introduces them to the horse and slowly works his way into their society. My main problem with the novel was that Coldsmith used a few words or phrases that struck me as anachronistic. One Indian has a 'trademark grin'. He does such a good job with his language otherwise, that the times he used odd modern phrases were particularly jarring. It's a fast read, and part of a fairly long series. If one is interested in turn of the (17th) century American West, this book serves that need well.

  • Boots
    2019-03-15 00:09

    not particularly well-written, but a decent yarn nevertheless. some of it struck me as downright silly and many of the tropes here are typical of the genre. Garcia as a protagonist is surprisingly not very well-developed and emotionally all over the place. he seems to shed his Spanish heritage without too much difficulty (he almost never ruminates on his past except a few times regarding his training at the academy and his father's Andalusians). the character seems very inconsistent: he has moments of stupid impatience and others of old man wisdom that are more plot-driving than organic. and Coldsmith as a writer has some annoying sentence structure habits that i'm really struggling to be patient about.not overly enamored with this, but it might grow on me. first book of the series down, 27 more to go!

  • Joel
    2019-03-04 22:04

    I received the first two in this series as a gift many years ago. I found them very enjoyable. They seem historically accurate (I am no historian) and the first in the series is strikingly similar to the Dances with Wolves movie screenplay. Coldsmith knows his history of the American plains way of life from earlier times and it shows in the series. I have now read 12 of the series and have to admit I can get bogged down with some of the characters/missions at times. I plan on finishing them all and they do serve as a great 'one day read' between other candidates on my to-read list. Recommended for lovers of lighter examples of Native American history.

  • Hankbarfoot
    2019-03-02 06:18

    Don Coldsmith is to me an unusual author in that he writes about Native Americans in the first person. don't know if he is Native American but all of his books I have read were very good. His books are fiction not sure what century they are based in but he writes and the People meeting white people from Europe for the first time and continues with a very well written saga of Native Americans getting to know and fighting against the Europeans and other tribes. Very interesting and may a way a of reading about Native Americans as you never have before.

  • Ricky
    2019-03-27 00:58

    This was an entertaining read throughout. The second half of the book was better in my opinion and gathered pace and meaning as the story evolved. I find the Red Indian life interesting and love the connection they have with the earth and animals. This was a character driven story that didn't need to be too graphic to get it's point across. Also his name "Heads off" always made me smile. This book was well written, slightly predictable, but always moving towards a satisfying and heartfelt ending.

  • John
    2019-03-18 22:25

    One of the joys of being a voracious reader is discovering a new series that always escaped your notice. Coldsmith was a favorite of writers like Harlan Ellison but never seemed to get much critical attention. Judging from the stacks at the used bookshops, the paperbacks must have sold very well. Feel lucky to have a pile of the these to get into, because this is a good book to kick off a series.

  • Bryan
    2019-03-25 03:55

    A very gentle, nice read, this book is a fascinating snapshot of Americana - telling the Native American story in a non-caricaturized manner. It's not a perfect story, nor is it entirely without its preconceptions of Indian people. But it can be excused since it dates from 1980, and was a corrective novel in the gradual path of dissolving racial stereotypes.

  • Debi
    2019-03-10 03:22

    I read this entire series in 1980 something and adored it. Anyone who is interested in the history of the American Indian and horses will love these books. Although they are fiction they are exceptionally well researched . It has been a long time since I have read this series and I believe it is time to reread it.

  • Elyse83
    2019-03-20 23:18

    I was not looking forward to reading this book. I mean, Westerns? I disliked watching them with my grandfather and father. This book was more of a history book-a fictional telling of how the Spanish colonists and Native American tribes might have intermarried, and learned each others' customs(such as the "elk dog" AKA horse.) That was the most interesting part to me.:)

  • Rachael
    2019-03-13 00:10

    This was the first book that I enjoyed concerning the Native Americans and exploration and blah blah blah. I started to read the other books, but then the plot was identical. I think there are about fifteen books to the saga... -=gag=- Too long for comfort, if you ask me. There's bound to be repetition. But, the first three books were very interesting, well researched, and well written.

  • Linda LaRoque
    2019-03-27 04:02

    The story of a Spanish Conquistador wounded and seperated from his command on the central North American Plains sometime around 1592. Unable to return to his fellow soldiers, he's befriended by a people and learns their ways. He introduces the horse, elk-dog, into their society.

  • Keith
    2019-03-01 01:20

    Fun story of Spanish soldier, left behind by his group, who helps a tribe in 1500s? North America get to know horses and their use. They named them elk dogs, having no experience of them.

  • Dave
    2019-03-17 22:07

    I have just started reading this series but my brother highly reccemended it

  • J
    2019-03-06 23:24

    Very good western series.

  • David
    2019-03-08 22:13

    Great characterization and an original story.

  • Lee West
    2019-03-22 23:15

    I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I'll probably track down the next few books in the series.

  • Lisa
    2019-03-16 03:07

    Joyce Sarick's Top 5 Historical Fiction Books

  • Kimberly
    2019-03-21 23:58

    A jolly good read and the first in a series.

  • Rose Lynn
    2019-03-03 00:03

    cool