by Daniel V. Meier, Jr.
BQB Publishing

"I had the uneasy feeling that Captain Smith’s implications were true and between our Atlantic and Captain Drake’s western ocean lay a vast and wild land that could easily swallow us up without a trace."

Meier brings to vivid life the horrendous struggle for survival in the ill-fated British settlement of Jamestown in seventeenth-century Virginia. The historical tale focuses upon a love triangle between two friends, Richard and Matthew, and Anne, the woman beloved by both, in an affair commencing in the heady months of construction before the devastating winter of 1609-10. As with many other immigrants, Matthew and Anne would prefer not to have chosen the uncertainties and deprivations of life in the New World, but their circumstances as an apprentice on the lam (Matthew) and an indentured servant to a wealthy couple (Anne) make their emigration not only desirable but expedient.

Their betrayal of dutiful, idealistic Richard gives Matthew an acute sense of guilt, adding weight to the waking nightmare of dealing with other settlers more intent upon striking it rich than in building a community, the ever-shifting political loyalties between the civilian settlers and the fort's military commanders, and avoiding or surviving hostile interaction with indigenous tribes. Matthew's intimate first-person narrative continues into the early 1620s as he becomes increasingly despondent about his perceived spiritual treachery and the whirlwind of gains and losses in colonial life. He seeks death but encounters an unexpected new life with the Powhatan tribe instead.

Meier effectively juggles historical detail and sense of place, story arc, characterizations, and artistic imagination to create an atmospheric, theatrical study of humanity's best and worst traits and the unwieldy juxtaposition between them. Readers who dare to tread the troubled waters of this tale will find a thoughtful, passionate portrayal of many types of people and the devastating personal costs of creating and maintaining civilized lives while lacking advanced technology in a natural world that is further burdened by an era with high odds of spiritual and cultural collision.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home