Beginning with their battle against the forces of Ponce de Leon, the Calusa Indians of southwest Florida entered a dark period of European invasion and native resistance, which changed the nature and course of life on the North American continent.
Song of the Tides is a work of anthropological fiction that is set during the period of the Spanish entrada into southwest Florida and their encounters with the Calusa. Relying on letters and memoirs, especially those of explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles, shipwrecked captive Escalante Fontaneda, and the Jesuit priest Juan Rogel, Joseph has woven a tale of vivid historical detail and compelling human drama. Working with Calusa scholars, the author has created a superbly written account of the clash of two proud and dominant cultures. Told through the voice of Aesha, daughter of the great Calusa chief Caalus, as well as those of other political and spiritual leaders, the fictional narrative spans half a century of conflict with Spanish soldiers and Jesuits, infighting between bands, struggle to preserve their culture, and eventual defeat of the Spanish through wit and deceit.