New novel explores reasons for Anasazi abandonment of Bandelier

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By Special to the Monitor


Los Alamos National Laboratory retiree Leandro Thomas Gonzales, released his novel, “Follow the Spinning Sun.” 

It explores why the Anasazi abandoned their homeland, which made way for the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and the founding of the town of Los Alamos.   

The novel is based on the legend of the Great Migration, where the spinning sun led the Anasazi away from their ancestral homelands to new locations.  

Gonzales said he associated the role of the spinning sun to the cloud, in the “Book of Exodus,” that led the Jewish people out of Egypt.

“We have all seen news reports of refugees displaced because of war, drought, or natural disasters,” Gonzales said.

“These people tend to return back to their homelands, once the threat or condition is over. The Tyuoni tribe certainly would have wanted to return to their homeland, being that Frijoles Canyon is one of the most beautiful and bountiful places on Earth. Yet, they never did.”

So what kept not only the Tyuoni tribe, but the Anasazi in general, from returning to their majestic villages? 

Gonzales believes the answer to the age-old mystery must be something other than drought, war, or famine. He believes the legend of the spinning sun implies religion to be the real reason.

Gonzales uses fiction to demonstrate how a religious event could have influenced the people to abandon their village, join the Great Migration, and follow the spinning sun to their new homeland.

Jopin, an 80-year-old elder desperate for an answer, embarks on a prayer quest that takes him on a chain of events which will unveil the fate of Tyuoni. Deer-tracker, his pre-teen grandson, and Knee-nose, a young spotted deer, help Jopin deal with Chief Salamander’s questionable actions and motives as the tribe journeys on a treacherous and intriguing odyssey.

Gonzales worked and lived in Los Alamos for 35 years. 

He and his wife Lucille now reside in Jemez Springs. Their children, Darrell and Erika are graduates of Los Alamos High School.

For more information, visit FollowTheSpinningSun.com.  

“Follow the Spinning Sun” is available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or Sunstone Press. 

“Follow the Spinning Sun” is published by Sunstone Press.