Neespaugot: The Legend of the Indian’s Coin – a Review

Neespaugot: The Legend of the Indian’s Coin begins in 1675 and continues on until 2015. How can there be so much to tell about a coin, even if it was one of the first coins minted in the U.S.? This coin is passed from one adventurer to another, all of them linked by the blood of Runinniduk.

Runinniduk, an Indian born with pale flesh, was a mystery to those around him. He was given a name that meant Snow Hare. But after an attack on his village by soldiers, Runinniduk was viewed with suspicion and made an outsider.

The coin was gifted to Runinniduk. This coin and his copy of the Massachusetts Bible were two strong symbols of a lasting friendship between the Indians and the white people. In Runinniduk’s eyes, the coin meant a world of tolerance and acceptance was on its way. Did this Indian realize what an effect this coin would have on his descendants?

My Favorite Characters
Runinniduk’s descendants were made up of Indians, blacks, mulattos, Irish, French, and Chinese. These well-developed characters included a healer, a whore, a drunk, a sailor, and a mechanic. They all have two things in common: the coin and the being part of Runinniduk’s bloodline.

Melba Blue Jay, another Indian with white skin who could speak perfect English, was one hell of a woman. Strong and cunning, she could fight better than most men. Runinniduk was her grandfather, and she was determined to avenge his wrongful death.

Lydia Freeman, a mulatto, became known for the wonders she was able to do in medicine. In spite of her color during a time when blacks were looked down upon, most people trusted her. Well, at least for a while they did.

Archie, a Chinaman, a Chinaman, didn’t have an easy start, but he strove to be great. By his own unintentional actions, impediments were thrown into his path. He didn’t choose the best woman to marry—Lydia’s daughter Bridget. A survivor, his intentions were great, but he never did learn how to make sound choices. My heart broke for this character.

The author has woven together a tale where each character had to struggle in his/her own way for survival. Their fight to be looked upon with respect rather than hatred for the color of their skin, their nationality, or their beliefs takes place as history takes place behind them—the unrest of the Civil War, the manufacturing boom of the Industrial Revolution, the horror of the execution of spies Julius and Ethel Rosenburg, etc.

I was sent a copy of this historical fiction book in exchange for an honest review. If you would like your own copy of this book, I’ve provided an Amazon link below.

Amazon Link: Neespaugot: The Legend of the Indian’s Coin

Recommended Article: Runinniduk and his Coin – Guest Post by John Mugglebee

imagination and reality,

Favorite Sentences:
A straight week of rain had turned the marshland passage into a bog and in no time Runinniduk’s moccasins hung off his feet like a pair of dead raccoons.

Her grandfather’s coin was a nagging reminder of unfinished business, and sometimes she thought of throwing it in the Saint Lawrence River.

His screaming diatribe came in Chinese, his mother tongue, dredged from deep memory like sea-bottom flotsam disturbed by a tsunami.

The sea breeze whistled like a teakettle through the shack, but the stench hung in place like something nailed down.

New Words Learned:
azimuthal – in a horizontal circle

brisant – of or relating to the power (the shattering effect) of an explosive

calash, wikimedia commons

calash – a folding hood or bonnet worn by women in the 18th century

crepuscule – twilight

cynosure – something or someone that is the center of attention

indigene – one that is native or indigenous to an area

ingurgitate – to swallow greedily or in great quantity, as food

misoneism– hatred or dislike of what is new or represents change.

octoroon – A person having white ancestors except for one black great-grandparent. Used especially as a classification under certain European colonial legal systems and now considered offensive.

palisade, wikimedia commons

palisade – any one of a row of large pointed stakes set in the ground to form a fence used for fortification or defense

pannier – a basket, especially a large one, for carrying goods, provisions, etc.

portage – carriage

quadroon – a person having one-fourth black ancestry, with one black grandparent; the offspring of a mulatto and a white person. (considered offensive)

ratiocination – exact, valid, and rational reasoning

recrudescent – breaking out again or reemerging after temporary abatement or suppression

shillelagh – a club or cudgel

About the Author:
John Mugglebee is a racial and ethnic jigsaw puzzle His heritage, in chronological order, includes Native American, African American, Scots-Irish, Chinese, and Russian Jew. Growing up, John was told family stories that had been passed down for generations. Neespaugot is loosely based on these stories.

Born in Salem, Massachusetts, at age eleven he was uprooted to Southern California in the midst of the ‘60s race riots. He currently lives in the South of France, where he heads a language laboratory for French Civil Aviation.

John graduated from Dartmouth and earned a master’s in creative writing from Colorado State University. His previous novel, Renaissance in Provence, was published in 2004.

  2 comments for “Neespaugot: The Legend of the Indian’s Coin – a Review

  1. September 25, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    I’m so glad you enjoyed ‘Neespaugot’!

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