Twin River, the Shadow of Death wilderness region in Central Pennsylvania, is haunted by a history of violence. In 1754, Captain Jack returned home and found his wife and two children slain by Indians. Seeking revenge, the expert tracker left a bloody trail of scalps strung from trees and Indian lodges. The horrific Dean Massacre occurred in Hartslog Valley in 1788. In 1780, a band of fifty Indians and two white collaborators tortured and murdered ten of Captain Phillips’s Rangers in Woodcock Valley.
Now, two hundred years later, the violence continues. Teenagers Conner Brooks and Matt Franks find skeletons wired to branches on Blood Mountain. Hostages are taken in a nearby Mennonite school, resulting in the death of a student. Two girls are kidnapped from Twin River High School. Hartslog Valley is again thrown into chaos.
When local authorities are ineffective, enter the vigilante. Following the tradition of Charles Bronson in Death Wish and Sylvester Stallone in Rambo, Vietnam War veteran and Twin River high school custodian Gene Brooks vows to protect the students.
Gene’s son Conner and Matt Henry are caught in the turmoil. Harassed by the chief of police and school bullies, the boys fight to survive in the modern-day wilderness of Hartslog Valley.
Michael Fields has a BS/Ed (1963) from Edinboro University (PA) and an MA/English (1970) from the University of Dayton. Now retired, Michael has taught high school English and coached basketball for thirty-some years. His teaching/coaching career, which began in Monaca, Pennsylvania, took him to Piqua Catholic High School, Piqua, Ohio; Northern Chester County Vo-Tech School, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania; Juniata Valley High School, Alexandria, Pennsylvania; Chaparral High School, Temecula, California; Mynderse Academy, Seneca Falls, New York; and Wayland-Cohocton High School, Wayland, New York.
Michael worked as a Peace Corps volunteer and was education officer for International Voluntary Services in Southeast Asia. While teaching with the Peace Corps in upcountry Thailand, Michael met John Steinbeck, who was reporting on the Vietnam War for the Philadelphia Inquirer. In April 1967, John Steinbeck wrote in the Inquirer: “It’s what every man of energy wants—to be needed and to fill the need by his work and his mind and his imagination, and in the end to have something that wasn’t there before.” This comment and encouragement from John Steinbeck has motivated Michael to write five novels.