Based on historic documents, this award-winning novel examines a devastating milestone in the history of the Mississippi River Valley’s native people. In 1541, the Spanish decimated their civilization — and a century later, Manaha fights to keep the story of her homeland alive.


Winner- Best Indie Book Award 2013 – It’s a novel that’s surprisingly succinct for its subject, rich in its detail, and highly recommended for historical fiction readers who want more than a casual pursuit. – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

The first recorded Europeans to cross the Mississippi River reached the western shore on June 18, 1541. Hernando de Soto and his army of three hundred and fifty conquistadors spent the next year and a half conquering the nations in the fertile flood plains of eastern Arkansas.

Three surviving sixteenth-century journals written during the expedition detailed a complex array of twelve different nations. Each had separate beliefs, languages, and interconnected villages with capital towns comparable in size to European cities of the time. Through these densely populated sites, the Spanish carried a host of deadly old-world diseases, a powerful new religion, and war.

No other Europeans ventured into this land until French explorers arrived one hundred and thirty years later. They found nothing of the people or the towns that the Spanish had so vividly described. For those lost nations, the only hope that their stories, their last remaining essence will ever be heard again lies with one unlikely Storykeeper.

Praise for Storykeeper

Storykeeper is a stunning novel and a joy to read. Jam-packed with a wealth of well-researched historical content, there is a genuine and realistic feel to the text. – Helen Hollick, Managing Editor, Historical Novel Society

Readers who relish detailed historical fiction, stories of early Native American tradition and experience, and an unusual focus packed with historical details not typically explored in fictional format will find Storykeeper a tale of not just one woman’s observations, but how she carries and imparts the memories of generations in a form that eschews paper in favor of oral accounts steeped in immediacy and vivid detail. – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Storykeeper, is a tender, poignant, powerful story of a people’s strength, endurance and history. Smith not only turned his research of those days of Hernando De Soto in the 1500’s into a story that honors the Indians that lived through it, but created a lesson on the importance of storytelling. – Tammy Snyder, Arkansas Book Reviewer


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