Beyond the River of the Sun

Author: Fredric M. Hitt

ISBN 978-160264-075-7 (softcover)
ISBN 978-1-60264-076-4 (hardcover)
ISBN 978-1-60264-900-2 (eBook)

364 pages


Intrigue rocks the world of the 17th century Indians of La Florida, as they struggle for survival under Spanish dominance.

A new paramount chief emerges. He is a Christian. Soon the Franciscan missionaries are welcomed where they have feared to go, beyond the River of the Sun into the Timucua provinces of Potano, Utina, Yustaga, and even further west to the land of the Apalachee.

The friars gain thousands of converts, but even among the faithful the seeds of discontent are sown, as the priests trample upon the old ways: the legends and ceremonies and beliefs that have served the Indians well for ten thousand years.

The priests seek only to save pagan souls. The Spanish governor and soldiers would change the Indians into beasts of burden, to carry food and supplies two hundred miles to the starving colony of San Augustin. Thousands die, struck down by diseases carried by the Europeans, the heat, and the weight of their burdens.

The aging Spirit Warrior, Atichiciolo-Iri, seeks to foment rebellion. He is laughed at and scorned by his people, until a head-strong and insensitive Spanish governor makes a tragic miscalculation of how much the Indians will endure.

A fuse is lit, and the resulting wildfire of passion and violence may scorch them all.


Fredric M. Hitt's first novel, "Wekiva Winter," won the Florida Historical Society's coveted Patrick D. Smith Award for Best Fiction, 2006. Beyond the River of the Sun continues the saga of the 17th century Indians of La Florida as they struggle to survive in the face of Spanish conquest.

Fred and his wife, wildlife artist Linda Silsby Hitt, live on the River of the Sun, better known today as the St. Johns River which flows northward through Central Florida until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean near Jacksonville. From his dock, he can see where another river enters the St. Johns. The Seminole Indians called it Wekiva, "waters of the spring," the name by which it is still known today.

He shares his love of the rivers with earlier inhabitants who disappeared from the face of the earth three hundred years before he was born.

Fredric Hitt graduated with a degree in Journalism from the University of Florida. He received a law degree from the University of Miami. After twenty years as a trial judge, he has returned to his first love, writing. Linda painted the covers and illustrated both "Wekiva Winter" and "Beyond the River of the Sun."

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