Daughter of the Forest by Ray Shoop


Daughter of The Forest

By Ray Shoop

What would happen if the world became overcrowded and you had to live on another planet? What would happen if you had to find a place to live there and did not have any of the convenience that we do today? How would you survive without a grocery store, stove, department stores and many other things that we take fore granted? What if your new home was no longer in the city but in the forest and you had to learn to hunt food, plant seeds, grow herbs, make your own hammock and build your own shelter? You would learn about the world created by author Ray Shoop in a novel that brings to light what happens when things change, people need to uproot their lives and danger lurks just around the corner. You would be part of the forest people in the novel Daughter of the Forest.

A little girl wanders off into the forest to explore. She trips and hurts her ankle and is in pain. Falling asleep and losing track of time she becomes ill and finds herself disoriented. A group of people find her and snatch her away form her family and create a whole new life and identity for her. Fearing for her survival and her life she learns their customs and ways in order to become part of their society.

Traveling through time and space with her family she comes to live in a new land in order to plant a seed colony- a project that was made necessary due to overpopulation in their Home World.

While her mother and a group of woman are working together they are captured and taken to live in with another tribe against their will. A group of diggers from the Dumeasets are out to destroy the Fumalesets by stealing their women and killing the men. With the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and many other countries, Ray Shoop brings to light an issue that has plagued the world, hate. In all of these countries groups of people are trying to kill and eliminate others for religious reasons or more. In our novel the author created the Dumeasets to let us know that even in a world that is supposed to be peaceful there are those that would rather pillage, kill and hurt others just for their own reasons. In this case they want their women to live and work among and breed since many of theirs are barren. Taking the lives of their men and transporting them to live amongst their people, is equal to kidnapping and enslavement.

Arlene and several other women from her tribe are now part of the Dumeasets. They work and live together as part of the women belonging to one of their leaders, Ram. Guarded wherever they go, they are made to conform to the ways of these cruel and inhumane people. Added to that Arlene does not know what has happened to Laura, our young child who got lost in the forest.

Thieving, slaughtering and killing is their trademark. Each cycle, or year, they force groups of forest people to uproot their lives and move away in order to avoid their carnage. But, they seem to focus on only the Fumalsets and not any other people who live in the forest. The Palasets, Aquasets, the Vanquesets do not suffer at their hand but still move around to avoid these people. People of different backgrounds, each tribe with their own specific physical characteristics, skills and ideals, author Ray Shoop reminds us that prejudice lives on even in the forest.

Laura now lives with the Fumalsets and has to pass many tests and stringent scrutiny before she is allowed to become part of this new tribe. With a new mother and new father and a new name, Nu-Del she learns that life, as she knew it would never be the same. But, Laura has a special gift that no one knows about. She can read the thoughts and minds of others and uses it to help her learn about her new family, new tribe and alert them is the Fumalsets are about to raid their village. But, with anything new, everyone is skeptical and until they learn the truth the hard way, no one really trusts her or what she tells them.

Becoming part of their tribe, but not a welcome member, she assimilates quite well and is now called Nu- Del. Her adopted parents Sel and Cordac expect her to do her fair share of work just like the rest of their children. In a society that allows men to have more than one mate, Nu-Del learns a lot about the culture and ways of all of the tribes she encounters. Not so different from some other countries that still have concubines and first mates and more, she learns how the mating process and more.

Dom, who is from a different tribe whose whole family has been killed and whose mates have been kidnapped by the Fumalsets to live among them and work, has to find a new tribe and ask acceptance for himself and his family. Learning about these people and the different traditions and customs was quite interesting and allows the reader to learn how difficult Nu-Del and others that are treated at times like outcasts feel. But, Dom is finally accepted and proves he more than worthy to live among the Pidar tribe and is now called Transoni meaning Traveler, which he does.
Nu-Del loves to learn languages and wants to be able to understand the language of every tribe especially the Fumalsets. How this will help her and her tribe you will have to read for yourself. What is does do is bring her and Transoni closer and they form a strong bond as father and daughter, which will also change at the end in a surprising way.

When Nu-Del’s senses that there is danger will she use her special gift to safe her tribe? Will they listen and protect themselves and fight back even though they are not a tribe that fights and kills? Who comes out ahead? Who does hot? What strange voice is calling her at the end? Does she ever get acceptance by her adopted father and a sense of belonging?
These questions and mysteries will only be answered if you read this book about a young child who you will love, respect and will endear you for Nu-Del/Laura is quite special.
Differences in appearance are often shunned and people are made to feel inferior or told they are ugly. Laura/Nu-Del and many of other woman or mates in this amazing novel understand how that feels and more. If you learn anything from reading this book learn that judging a person on the outside limits what you need to learn about them on the inside. Like a great book, as this one is, you miss what is between the pages and you lose out.

I give this book 5 Nu-Dels to teach everyone planting, herbs, healing and tolerance and unconditional love.

Fran Lewis: reviewer and author of the Bertha Series of Books and Memories are Precious

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