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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
The Estelusti Trail is the second book in the Pete Horse Series by Roy V. Gaston and is set in Florida during the Second Seminole War. Pete is a young Estelusti warrior. The Estelusti, or Black Seminoles, were descendants of runaway enslaved Africans who sought refuge in (then) Spanish Florida and developed a unique culture that was a mix of African, Native American, and Spanish traditions. Now, the Estelusti and Seminoles are resisting forced relocation from Florida to make room for more white settlers and slave-based agriculture. After several failed attempts, a new American officer is put in command, and he brings overwhelming forces with him. Can the Estelusti and Seminole warriors survive the onslaught, or will they be forced to accept defeat and relocation?
In The Estelusti Trail, Roy V. Gaston gives us a compelling story that addresses a period of tragedy, trauma, and terrible violence. Seen through the eyes of a teenage Pete Horse, the complex mix of political and social forces at work in this conflict is laid bare. The blend of fictional and historical characters, battles, and events are joined in a fast-moving plot that engages the reader with vivid details that reflect the brutality of the time and the determination of a people fighting for their freedom. I was utterly captivated by the narrative and often found myself turning to the search engine to learn more about the American and Native American leaders and the series of events that brought this fascinating story to its conclusion.