Kado: Lost Treasure of the Kadohadacho by E. Russell Braziel
Eighteen-year-old Tom Murrell could never understand his father’s dreams of carving a new life out of the wilderness. He wanted to do something else with his life besides spend it behind a plow, but with the family moving to the Red River in Arkansaw Territory, he was stuck.
Everything changes for Tom when he witnesses the death of Tiatesun, spiritual leader of the Kadohadacho tribe, and is drawn into a raging conflict between the Kado and their arch enemies, a renegade band of Osage.
His new friends Mattie and James say there is no alternative. They must use a cryptic map, drawn in a bible by Tiatesun in his own blood before he died, to find this place called Na-Da-cah-ah. Only then can Tom be sure that his family and friends will be safe.
But it is a race against time—a race against Wey Chutta’s Osage. Dangers are everywhere. The only chance to save his family is for Tom, Mattie, and James to join with six Kado warriors, make sense from the many clues they uncover on their quest, and discover the real Na-Da-cah-ah.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publicist in exchange for an honest review.
I was immediately drawn to this book because I’ve been working on my own novel of historical fiction for the past few years, which also features some elements of Native American history. I was also drawn in by the description of the setting and story, which described a moment and place in time that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a fiction book before. I love historical fiction that opens up a forgotten piece of history and teaches me something new.
Kado delivered in spades. From the first few pages, I was immediately reminded of the adventure stories I read growing up. Of course, I’ve been trying to think of examples for a few days and feel like I’ve forgotten many to the sands of time. But I did think of Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and Downriver by Will Hobbs. If anyone was a teacher or librarian for elementary and middle school kids in the late 90’s and early 00’s, you can probably think of a few more examples of books that are comparable to Kado.
Anyway, back to my review! I really liked this historical fiction action-adventure story. It felt true to the time period, while still discussing issues of race, resettlement, education, and male/female relationships and roles from a more modern approach. I also liked that not only were we given a peek into an overlooked period of time, we were also given an opportunity learn about a Native American tribe that isn’t well-represented in literature either. I personally had not heard of the Caddo people before (the Kadohadacho being a group within the Caddo nation) so I learned a lot from reading Kado.
After finishing the book, I checked out the author’s website and enjoy reading all the notes about how Kado came to be. I loved how the author used his own ancestors and family history as the inspiration for this wonderful story! If you’re intrigued by the premise of this book, pop over to the website and check out what I mean.