Freedoms Quest
Struggle for the northern frontier and other lost tales of old Florida

Amazon link to Book One of FREEDOM'S QUEST trilogy.

The link is for the paperback book --and I am trying to add the Kindle link.

Would you consider to be so kind to just click on the Amazon page. Their little robots will elevate the book's prominence if folks just look!

A review would be great also, however I am not pushy and we are all busy in these times.

Well, I did it. 

One day, I said, "Hey I should write a story of old Florida"

I do not recall where that itch came from and I wish I had muttered "Hey I should learn how to play the guitar" 

Nevertheless, the result of the story itch: I wrote three books, a fictional series of stories set in various time frames of old Florida. 

Book One:  The New World-Florida 

Hernando de Soto's dispirited army leaves the fog shrouded Appalachian mountains and enters the corn rich lands of the south eastern United States. Facing increasing hostility, Soto sends sends his scouts on a dangerous assignment to Tampa Bay.

Luis Castillo, the emotionally distraught Captain of the scouts leads his team through a land ravaged by war and disease. A quest that eventually leads him to the Indian River Lagoon south of Cape Canaveral and the town of Ulumay inhabited by the Native Americans known as Ais.

I was delayed or was it dismayed? -when the publishers told me I had to split the story into three manuscripts (head dropped)

Note: at the time of the Hernando de Soto invasion, "Florida" was the name for all the land north of New Spain (Mexico)

Tampa Bay

The cover is from the Library of Congress collection of Hernando de Soto art. -No known restrictions for reproduction.

What? You cursed?

Language and violence warning. 

Perhaps it was a poor choice to use curse words in the story; however, I used the rude language because when I was in the armed forces, we often spoke similar words. It wasn't pretty & no reason to be proud. Perhaps it is a lack of manners. But it is how we talked. And I suspect that anytime someone is under a great deal of stress, the cruder the language.

The violence? Freedom's Quest is a collection of sometimes violent stories and stories of hope that redefine the lost history of Florida.

Brief Youtube talk on the evils of the Soto expedition

Art by the State of Florida at Ichetucknee Springs

Florida History:
The subject matter was not complicated. I have always been an avid history buff, as reflected in my two (so far) websites.

I will put up this page on both of my web pages.

Against the backdrop of Florida's violent past, Freedom's Quest is a panoramic vision that follows the history of three families as conquistadors, slaves, and soldiers. Stories of violence and hope that redefine the lost history of Florida and the desperate struggle against the incursions across the northern frontier.

All characters in Freedom's Quest are the product of my imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

My conception of an ice age ambush in the Indian River Lagoon,

-before there was a lagoon and only a stream.

(Original art on the wall at the Jacksonville Museum.) 

The proposed route of Soto's four year invasion.

Right into those Florida mountains!

While the characters are purely fictional, the storied facts and events told in the stories are true.

Book One: Freedom's Quest, the new world-Florida

Hernando De Soto's rampage across southeastern North America was recorded in the Journal of Elvas. His use of 500 chained native Americans to carry baggage was planned and evil.

Diseases swept the New World, often destroying entire communities of the Native Americans of the Mississippian culture before ever coming into actual contact with a live European.

At Matanzas inlet on the east coast of Florida, the Spanish murdered their French prisoners of war.

The massacre of prisoners at Matanzas Inlet. 

September 29, 1565, Menéndez orders the execution of the Huguenots. 

Painting credit: Unknown. I took the picture in the Jacksonville Museum.

End of Empire

End of Empire on Amazon 11/2023.

Thank you Willie Mells for all your help with the history of Florida!

Book Two: End of Empire

The King of Spain offered freedom to English slaves who would flee to Spanish Florida and swear service to the King.

The raids into Florida by Native Americans allied with the English depopulated Florida of the original native Americans already devastated by European diseases.

Bloody Fort Mose was & raid and counter raid.

The wreck of the treasure "Plate" fleet on the Florida east coast was the most significant sinking of gold and silver in history.

The Legends of the Spanish Empire reverberate into the space age.

(I took the photo of this Space Shutter/Galleon poster in the now destroyed NASA HQ building)

Book Three: The Americans 100% complete but in the deathly process of editing.

The American incursions into Florida culminated in events such as the explosion of the Negro Fort on the Apalachicola River & the death of 300 men, women, and children by an American gunship.

The destruction of the African community of Angola by Native Americans from the north, resulted in both Africans and Seminoles fleeing to the Bahamas.

 Andrew Jackson's incursions into Spanish Florida and the costly seven-year-long "Second Seminole war" were devastating events.

My goal was to capture how people may have responded to these events and tell their stories in a manner altogether different than how history has been taught.

The stories do intend to convey the incredible blending of cultures in the new world of the Americas. At least for those who would survive the experiment.


My apology at how I used the Native American names for clans and tribes. 

For the sake of simplicity, I kept to the standard history book Anglicized names of the indigenous peoples, with a complete understanding these names were seldom, if it all, how native peoples actually referred to themselves or their tribal affiliations.

 This is a work of fiction. The tribal names are used only as representative of a region. The people are purely fictional and do not refer to and are not meant to be representative of any Indigenous People of the New World. 

And the references to the origins of the Seminole Nations of Florida or Oklahoma are purely conjectured with no intention of conveying any facts.

Another problem I ran into.

Perhaps Hernando de Soto is spelled wrong or is just an anglicized version of the leader of the expedition. I have seen many versions of the name, and like the names of the Native American tribal names, I had to just give up and go with simple.

Also, Marty the editor and I struggled with "de" -Is it De or de? To this day I do not know the correct answer, but did have to change it several times.

About the author
Bruce Ryba, amateur historian, flintknapper, explorer, and expedition kayak racer. Fisherman.

While serving in the United States Air Force, a serendipitous assignment to humid Cape Canaveral, Florida resulted in careers, first as a diver for the Air Force Eastern Test Range and then as a communications specialist at Kennedy Space Center during the Space Shuttle Program.
And the chance to dive into Florida's lost stories.

Thank you Marty! I had wrote Freedom's Quest and moved on to another quest.

Marty who just retired from Kennedy Space Center, happened to see some excerpts on my desk. Personally I was just happy to have completed the story and get back to fishing.

Marty reviewed a few stories and literally slapped me in the back of the head and a kick in back side to move forward with the manuscripts.

Without Marty's enthusiasm and editorial prowess, the stories would still be in the digital box.



Thank you Willie Mells, Retired USAF, my co-worker at KSC and for countless hours during standby of the Space Shuttle Program, Willie fed me ideas and corrections.

Willie passed away in 2019 before he could see his efforts and encouragement put into a printed book.

space  shuttle

Willie Mells at the end of the Space Shuttle program and one of the shuttles about to depart

space shuttle launch pad

Willie Mells (far right as we posed for the LAST space shuttle launch.

Willie's kindness, empathy and intellect will be missed.

Have you heard of Kindle Vella?

Amazon/KDP encourages writers to join and write serial stories.

To read the serial stories, the first three chapters are free and KDP will charge tokens to view the next chapters.

Please check out my dystopian Science Fiction stories "Woodpecker"

Beware. The stories may redefine the word dystopia. (The future, past and present blend as travels are reincarnated as fallen astronauts and fallen angels, DNA experiments, vamps, demons and old gods.)

Chapters 1-3 are no cost & does not to hurt look if you are into my blend of stories. Then flee.

Or look anyway and see if you might want to join Kindle Vella with your own stories!

Return Home from Freedoms Quest page

For pet lovers around the globe, "It's a Matter of Luck" is a collection of heart warming stories of horse rescues from the slaughterhouse. 

Available on Amazon: 

Kim ryba

It's a Matter of Luck: Inspirational, Heartfelt Stories of Horses Given a Second Chance.

by Kim Ryba & Lina T. Lindgren

Warning: This book may cause your eyes to water in a good way. (speaking from experience after reading it)

Please give Kim and Lina a heartfelt review on Amazon!

Author Bruce Ryba

Author Bruce Ryba at Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39B & Artemis 1. "We are going to the Moon!"

Author's discussion (that's me) on You Tube of a book review on Amazon

For the video versions of information, please check out my YouTube Channel (Turkeys, Flintknapping, dive stories etc.)

My fictional series/stories on Florida history:

Freedoms Quest (book one)
Struggle for the northern frontier and other lost tales of old Florida. 

Available on Amazon

End of Empire

Desperate times call for bold action.
In a desperate move to retain Florida and protect the treasure-laden galleons on their dangerous return journey to Europe, the King of Spain issues a royal decree offering refuge to all English slaves who escape Florida and pick up a musket to defend the coquina walls of Saint Augustine.
In another bold gamble, the King offers refuge to the dissatisfied Indian nations of the southeast who will take up arms against the English.
Clans, traumatized by war and disease, cross the Spanish Frontier to settle the cattle-rich land and burned missions of Florida.

Follow the descendants of the conquistador Louis Castillo in remote Spanish Florida, a wild and swept by diseases, hurricanes, and northern invasions.

 Book Two: Available on Amazon!