Richard Snodgrass

A Book of Days

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Shadow of the Valley is a story within a story within a story — an innovative historical novel in three parts that tells the tale of an orderly's day book written at the end of the French and Indian War by an Ensign in the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment of Foot, the Black Watch, the history of what transpired at an outpost on the frontier of an endless wilderness that was America, as well as how the book influenced the lives of those who came to live here afterwards.
At the heart of the book is “The Journal of Thomas Keating,” the story of a young Scottish Ensign in the Western Pennsylvania wilderness of 1753 leading a band of misfits upriver to find what happened to an outpost's lost command, and how he came later to seek refuge in a blockhouse with a woman in search of her baby's father. It is the story of Duncan, the sole survivor of that Black Watch detachment, a fiddler whose hands were chopped off by Indians, who in 1776 farms the land around the abandoned blockhouse…and the story of the young woman who found Keating's Journal and brings it to Duncan hoping he can help her learn the fate of her mother. And it is the story of two children in 1821, descendants of Duncan, who find the strange book hidden away in the abandoned blockhouse on their father's iron plantation, and use the ancient language in their games to explore their awakening bodies and emotions.
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286 printed pages
Original publication



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