What Readers Are Saying About Buzz Anderson's Epic Novel


“A powerful narrative of humanity and excess”
“sweeping…takes readers on an immersive journey”
“beautifully descriptive” – “a delight to read”
“Top Shelf”
– What Readers Are Saying About Buzz Anderson’s Epic Novel

What readers are saying about Five Hundred Moons

Anderson’s depth of research, paired with a natural proclivity for vivid descriptive detail, yielded a work of historical fiction, in 39 chapters, that’s hard to put down.

Monterey Herald
What Readers Are Saying About Buzz Anderson’s Epic Novel - Five Hundred Moons book cover

From the darkened pillars of history, Buzz Anderson has created a powerful narrative of humanity and excess.

Five Hundred Moons speaks of a burgeoning world order amidst the townships of Europe and the fields and rolling hills of California. From the Gypsies in Spain to the indigenous people of the New World and the Spanish monarchy and Church that sought to master them, this is a story of passion and sorrow, violence and spirituality, blossoming hope, and the search for timeless balance. Ultimately, it is a story of the resilience of love and the human spirit.

This graceful narrative will be a welcome addition to the library of any history aficionado. A fine read.

Spear-Carrier in a Backwater War
leaves from the Autumns of Yesterday
Echoes on the Wind
Gaff-rigged Remembrance: Writings from the Santa Cruz Harbor
Pebbles from a Favored Shore

Truly, a beautifully written book.”

~ Geoffrey Dunn, author

Buzz Anderson, a native son of Central California, has produced an epic work of fiction that forces its readers to imagine what life must have been like during the first half-century of Spanish colonization in the region—not only for the colonizers arriving from the Spanish empire—but for the indigenous Ohlone tribes along the coast and inland valleys who were decimated by their arrival.

Wonderfully written and dutifully researched, Five Hundred Moons vividly brings to life a time largely forgotten in California history, yet one critical to understanding how the Golden State came into being and why we continue to struggle with fully comprehending a legacy of greed, deceit, contradictions, violence, and cultural decimation.

And it wasn’t that long ago.

Santa Cruz Is in the Heart, Volumes I & II
Images of America: The Santa Cruz Wharf
Chinatown Dreams (Editor)

What Readers Are Saying About Buzz Anderson’s Epic Novel, Five Hundred Moons

I just finished your adventure and wanted to say thank you! I’ve been on it for a couple of months. I’m sad it’s over. I’m impressed beyond words. It was not just a good book, it’s a great story! Your words make the story so visual, I felt like I was there. As I got close to the end I slowed way down because I didn’t want it to end.

I read a lot and can’t remember when I was more captivated by the storyline.

~ Chris Same

Five Hundred Moons is a sweeping epic novel that takes readers on an immersive journey through a richly imagined world. From the first page, readers are transported to a place that is both familiar and yet entirely unique, with its own history, cultures, and conflicts.

What makes Five Hundred Moons truly stand out is the depth of its characters. Anderson has crafted a cast of complex, nuanced individuals, each with their own flaws and virtues. Each character is fully realized and engaging in their own right, and the interactions between them drive the story with powerful momentum.

Overall, Five Hundred Moons is a masterful epic that will keep readers enthralled from beginning to end. It is a testament to Buzz Anderson’s skill as a storyteller. I highly recommend it.

~ John Collins II

I’m a big fan of historical novels and this is one great book. I’m enough of a history buff to know the research was meticulous and spot-on. The book begins with the original indigenous people of California and early Spanish settlement. The Indian characters become real-life people and the existence and survival of their tribes become a very real concern for the reader. The book travels over a large geographical area including Spain, France, England, Mexico, California, the North Pacific, and North Atlantic. A satisfying and fun read.

~ Sherrie Bennett and Scott Gregory

I found that I learned a lot about the early settlement of California that I had not known before. Even though it was a long book, it was packed with factual history told in an engaging way by fictional characters living out their lives during this time. I recommend this book!

~ R

Five Hundred Moons is a masterpiece of historical fiction. The research done and attention to detail, the interweaving of the lives of the indigenous people of California, the Franciscans, the European Gypsies, and in particular, Father Junipero Serra is truly remarkable. This, coupled with the fascinating characters Buzz introduces, lifts the novel to a higher plane. My favorite read of 2022. Top Shelf, Mr. Anderson

~ Ken Kraft, Music Producer, Singer/Songwriter

As a lover of historic fiction, I was immediately taken in with the author’s development of characters and sets. I found his writing style to be vibrant, descriptive, and well-researched. I especially liked his use of quotes to open each chapter and how they helped to set the tone. I enjoyed the novel so much I am reading it a second time!

~ Bruce Sanchez

Wonderful storytelling! I found myself wanting to jump inside the book and live among the characters.

~ Bill Simpkins

Like a great music composer or idolized jazz improviser, your lines flow easily and make this a very enjoyable read. The research you’ve done is thorough and remarkable. You weave a wonderful storyline with characters that the reader can easily be interested in and concerned about. I hope you have someone trying to sell this to Netflix or Amazon prime!

~ Jay Saunders

Buzz, I want to let you know how much I have been enjoying your book. I am amazed and impressed with not only your writing style and command of your words but also the detail of the individual stories (geography, history, culture, etc.) It is really an impressive feat of writing with some truly wonderful passages. You obviously have a very thorough grasp of a lot of different subjects and that is what I find so enjoyable reading it. I think this would be a great book to have on the cover of “Good Times” with a feature story. Thanks for providing this rewarding novel.

~ Gary Griggs, Professor of Earth Science, UCSC

Five Hundred Moons is an eight-hundred-page saga that documents, through historical fiction, the pivotal half-century that transformed California. Connecting three separate (but equal) story arcs centering around Father Junipero Serra and the conquest of Alta California; the native people of the west coastal New World; and the last victims of the Inquisition, a family of Roma or Gypsies. Their predictable but credible intersections along the way make for an engaging and often riveting trio of storylines.

Having lived and hiked in the Monterey Bay Area for more than fifty years, I recognize most of the terrain so important to the Ohlone people. Buzz Anderson’s deep research into the land (he’s a native of the region), the historic letters of the Spanish, and the dynamics of the time, make Five Hundred Moons a clear window to this monumental and fatal clash of cultures.

Buzz Anderson’s book is a delight to read. He offers fair and balanced dialogue as the historic characters and their invented contemporaries live their difficult lives with varying degrees of understanding regarding the consequences of their actions and beliefs. It’s truly an enjoyable and moving account.

~ Lance Linares

Buzz Anderson’s Five Hundred Moons is a beautifully descriptive historical novel engaging the reader on a global ride of the 1700s. It is a “must” read for anyone interested in early California history.

~ CK

Five Hundred Moons by Buzz Anderson is a well-written and engaging story. It’s actually three stories that weave together in a wonderful, intriguing, and magical way. The characters seem to unfold and develop in ways that pull you into the story and I constantly found myself hungry for more and unwilling/unable to put the book down. Having come to the Central Coast in my mid-20s I lacked a good understanding of the Spanish and Catholic Church’s influence, and of the native California tribes that lived on the Central Coast for generations. Buzz does a wonderful job of providing a historical perspective on those influences but weaves it all together with some creative touches that are both educational and highly entertaining. I highly recommend Five Hundred Moons and can’t wait for his next endeavor!

~ Peter Gaarn

Five Hundred Moons is like a Michener novel for California’s Central Coast in the best sense of that comparison. Buzz Anderson deftly weaves intergenerational narratives from the perspectives of a host of characters from drastically different cultural backgrounds that intersect in intriguing and sometimes surprising ways, to create a rich tapestry that tells a compelling story of the different peoples who have lived here over time. Mr. Anderson has clearly put an impressive amount of historical research into the cultures of the characters who inhabit his novel, and then ably brings that history to life in a very enjoyable work of literature.

~ Rob Allen

Welcome Buzz Anderson, an extraordinary writer and truly gifted storyteller!

Anderson’s first novel, Five Hundred Moons, is an epic saga stretching over two continents set in the latter half of the 18th century. Impeccably researched, the book provides a detailed depiction of the political and ecclesiastical developments that led to the establishment by Franciscan missionaries of the mission system in Central and Northern California and its impact on the culture and way of life of the indigenous peoples of the region.

But this is not a dry history book! Rather, it is a compelling story of love, family, colonial despotism, religious fervor and paternalism, and of tumultuous change told through historical figures of the time and thoroughly developed fictional characters.

Anderson writes from the various perspectives of his historical figures and characters: the Ohlone, the Spanish military, Fr. Junipero Serra and the Franciscans, and the Carmona family, victims of the Spanish government’s Great Gypsy Roundup and Imprisonment of 1749. His story development is deep and detailed. I particularly appreciated the way he was able to weave together the stories of those characters most affected by the repressive policies of the Spanish government and the 18th-century Catholic Church—the Ohlone and the Carmona family. The stories run parallel on different continents but come together in an entirely satisfying way. The mark of a good storyteller!

The quality of Anderson’s writing cannot be overstated. This is a beautifully written book. Anderson writes with ease and precision that demonstrates an utter command of language. Like a concert pianist with complete control of his instrument, he writes with a confidence of rhythm found only in the great works of literature. Anderson’s first novel qualifies. Very highly recommended; it deserves five stars.

~ Grace Carr Lee and Mark S. Lee

Written accounts of early California before the 1830s are rare. Much about the people and events before then remains unknown or out of reach.

Five Hundred Moons, a new novel by Buzz Anderson, beautifully fills this void. It chronicles a time during the second half of the 1700s by weaving together the stories of three groups: native Californians, Spanish missionaries, and itinerant gypsies. It is a time of colonization, conflict, and change. Historically accurate, the fictional novel delves into the family lives and habits of some of California’s earliest dwellers, and the upheaval wrought by European-led exploration and the subsequent establishment of Catholic missions along the coast.

Anderson’s vivid prose cycles between the lives and emotions of the families representing these three foreign cultures and the difficult transformation they experience when they clash. Readers come away with a deeper appreciation for the history of early California at the dawn of our modern era. Most of all, this novel fills its readers with new appreciation for the beliefs and culture of a people who, for the most part, have vanished from our landscape.

I highly recommend it.

~ Toby Goddard

As a native of California, I felt Mr. Anderson’s vivid descriptions of the Central Coast brought new insights to areas I have traversed throughout my life. Even though they were not named as such, I could see, hear and smell the crashing waves of the North Coast, the redwoods of Big Basin, and the shores of Monterey Bay.

The touching stories of persecuted gypsy immigrants and indigenous tribes were entertaining and heartbreaking against the terrifying background of genocide, religious conversion, and Spain’s expansion in California. This was a truly enjoyable read with ups, downs, intrigue, sadness, and joy that left me smiling for weeks as I turned the last page.

~ Jonathan Allen

I just finished Mr. Anderson’s book and I LOVED it! I admit I was a bit daunted by the size of it, but once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down! I love California history, and he made it more fascinating with all the natural details, taking us back to 1747 where so much of it began. Most people travel with a small novel or a Kindle; I hauled that three-pounder across the country and south to Mexico and was glad I had it with me! Can’t wait for his next book!

~ Nancy, Sacrament, CA

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