Soyala is a magnificent story, brilliantly imagined and skillfully executed on every level. I was completely caught up in it from beginning to end. The author’s intimate depiction of the lives of this small clan of humans back in the middle years of the thirteenth century is immensely powerful, both intellectually and emotionally. -- Tom Hyman, author of Jupiter’s Daughter and Seven Days to Petrograd
Soyala is an epic story spanning four generations, focusing on a woman enduring the historic exodus 800 years ago from the land and cliff dwellings of the Ancient Puebloans. Cindy Maynard’s lively, engaging and plausible depiction of Soyala’s experiences provides insight into Ancient Puebloans during the most mysterious event in the southwest. -- Jeffry B. Mitton, Professor Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado Boulder
Kirkus Review Editorial
I have nothing but praise for this. It’s a magnificent story, brilliantly imagined and skillfully executed on every level. I was completely caught up in the people and their extraordinary lives from beginning to end. From the relatively scant evidence available about the Pueblo Indians of this period in the American Southwest (mostly archeological and anthropological, I assume) you have created a vivid and convincing drama, compelling in every extraordinary detail. Your characters come sharply and engagingly to life on the page and continue to live on, at least in this reader’s mind, long after the last page. Although the story is obviously your invention, it feels incredibly authentic. It’s as if you had actually gone back in time to this place and these people and come back to the present to tell us about them and how they lived their lives.
Your story sticks in the memory because it is about the things in life that truly matter, the things that have shaped humankind’s existence for many thousands of years and continue to shape it today, beneath the elaborate and often irrelevant trappings and diversions of modern civilization: birth and death, love and hope, courage and fear, suffering and endurance. Your intimate depiction of the lives of your small clan of humans back in the middle years of the thirteenth century is both intellectually and emotionally powerful. I think you’ve written a wonderful novel.
Four Starred Review
Based on the archaeological and anthropological record, this story is a vivid and convincing drama depicting the lives of a small clan of ancient puebloans of northern New Mexico...This was a very interesting book to read which takes you back in a time that was very simple, but with very complicated trials and tribulations to undertake. I really enjoyed how the book was divided by the different ages of maturing and challenges that Soyala and her family and friends went thru. Learning the difference between Pueblo Indians and Nomadic Indians was very informative also. The Glossary in the back of the book also was great to refer to and learn from. Read more.
Easily transports you to the time and place. The characters are fleshed out just enough to make you care about them. I'd recommend reading the appendix first to get an idea where the story takes place to save yourself wondering. I think this makes for an excellent airport book. It'll hold your attention through a coast to coast flight with no problem. - LucMee