This powerful novel tells the story of Hinachuba Lucia, a
Native American wise woman caught in the rapidly changing world of
the early colonial South. With compelling drama and historical
accuracy, Apalachee portrays the decimation of the Indian
mission culture of Spanish Florida by English Carolina during Queen
Anne's war at the beginning of the eighteenth century and also
portrays the little-known institution of Indian slavery in colonial
America. The novel recounts the beginnings of the colony of South
Carolina and the struggle between the colonists and the Indians,
who were at first trading partners-bartering deerskins and Indian
slaves for guns and cloth-and then enemies in the Yamasee War of
When the novel opens, Spanish missionaries have settled in the
Apalachee homeland on what is now the eastern Florida panhandle,
ravaging the native population with disease and altering its
culture with Christianity. Despite these changes, the Apalachees
maintain an uneasy coexistence with the friars.
Everything changes when English soldiers and their Indian allies
from the colony of Carolina invade Spanish Florida. After being
driven from her Apalachee homeland by the English, Lucia is
captured by Creek Indians and sold into slavery in Carolina, where
she becomes a house slave at Fairmeadow, a turpentine plantation
near Charles Town. Her beloved husband, Carlos, is left behind,
free but helpless to get Lucia back.
Swept by intricate and inexorable currents, Lucia's fate is
interwoven with those of Juan de Villalva, a Spanish mission
priest, and Isaac Bull, an Englishman in search of fortune in the
New World. As the three lives unfold, the reader is drawn into a
morally complex world where cultures meet and often clash.
Both major and minor characters come alive in Hudson's hands, but
none so memorably as the wise woman Lucia-beautiful, aristocratic,
and strong. Informed by the author's extensive research, Apalachee
is an ambitious, compelling novel that tells us as much about the
ethnic and social diversity of the southern colonies as it does
about the human heart.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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