Author: David Joseph Kolb
Literary genre: Historical fiction
Available at: The Bookman (Grand Haven), Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Book Nook (Montague), Schuler’s (Grand Rapids)
Synopsis of the book: In the dead of night at the height of the 1692 Salem Mania, a dying smallpox victim collapses in prison while visiting a witch condemned to hang – Mary Bradbury, the great ancestor of famed writer Ray Bradbury.
This delirious old man, Hopestill Foster, is brought before the Rev. Cotton Mather, the infamous witch-hunter and the most powerful man in ancient Boston, for a very private interrogation. Mather is desperate for answers about Foster’s past because he knows it ties into his own.
Better had he not asked.
Over the course of the prisoner telling his story to the cleric, 60 years of a terrible history unfolds, at the heart of which is a monstrous secret about Mather’s family that must not be allowed to escape the room where Foster is being held.
Hopestill Foster, the novel’s protagonist, a man inured to a lifetime of suffering and one to whom a great wrong was done by him and to him in his youth, ultimately has to decide: pass on, leaving the wreckage of his life behind, or accept a final deadly mission to make things right. For Hopestill Foster, there is only one choice.
Why did you write the book? I’ve always wanted to write a thrilling historical adventure in the grand storytelling tradition of “Northwest Passage” and “Drums Along the Mohawk,” two of my favorite novels. There just aren’t enough of these being written today.
Author’s thoughts about the book: The more I researched the theme, the more I wanted to break new literary ground about the very first American century – a nearly forgotten post-pilgrim past when intolerance, misogyny and ignorance culminated in horrifying outrages against ordinary people. What did I discover? Simply, that hope was never lost, and that heroes were always among us.
Book notes: Loutit District Library, Hackley Public Library and Hope College’s Van Wylen Library were invaluable sources of information to me for our early American history. I encourage all with an interest in the subject to visit and use these amazing local resources.
About the author: David Joseph Kolb is a journalist and author. His work has appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post and the International Herald Tribune, among other publications. He has won numerous first-place awards for his journalism. In 1996, Kolb was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his non-fiction book, “A World War Chronicle.” His latest book, “Devil Knows: A Tale of Murder and Madness in America’s First Century,” is his first published work of fiction. He and his wife live in Grand Haven Township.