New Novel to be Released on 100th Anniversary of "The Big Burn"

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W. John MacGregor's West of the Gospel, set against the catastrophic 1910 Idaho forest fire documented in Timothy Egan's award-winning non-fiction account The Big Burn, will be released on August 17, 2010, on the 100th anniversary of the events which inspired the thriller. The novel takes a mysterious character from the actual historical accounts and weaves a cryptic Western tale of identity and redemption set during the final throes of the Old West frontier.

West of the Gospel, 0-9787554-5-6

Inspired by a genuine mystery which falls out of the accounts of the Big Burn, this tale of rough men in rougher times leaves the reader with no easy outs.

Summer reading just got hotter.

West of the Gospel is a cryptic Western tale of revenge and redemption. Set on the Idaho frontier from Gospel Mountain up through the Coeur d'Alenes, the narrative plays out amidst the catastrophic “Big Burn” of August, 1910—devastating and terrifying wildfires which destroyed millions of acres, burned scores of towns and killed nearly one hundred fire-fighters and civilians.

The hero of this timely and timeless story is a young man whose coming of age during the final throes of the Old West has given him several identities: Tad Montgomery, the boy whose father was a notorious strike-breaker and killer; Thaddeus Roe, the law-abiding and sometimes heroic young man whose parents were killed in 1892 by the lawless Fewkes brothers; and “Three Card Monte,” the desperado (so the legends say) that he’s become.

The tension produced by these three identities comes to a head as the fires of August, 1910, flare to epic proportions. Can the principles by which Tad has lived see him through this trial by fire? Is he defined by the sins of his earthly father? The answer is held not so much in the historical facts, such as they are—rather, the answer is in the heart of the reader.

Inspired by a genuine mystery which falls out of the accounts of the Big Burn, this tale of rough men in rougher times leaves the reader with no easy outs, and there is no omniscient narrator to serve as a guide. Where does the truth lie? Maybe in a place just West of the Gospel... and just East of Eden.

West of the Gospel, by W. John MacGregor, is the first entry in a series of tales based on the legends of the Fewkes Brothers, outlaws of the Pacific Northwest.

West of the Gospel will appear simultaneously in hardback and trade paper (0-9787554-5-6 and 0-9787554-6-4, respectively). The book will be published by Gospel Mountain Yarnweavers and will be distributed by Partners/West and Ingram. Street date August 17, 2010. Order date July 1, 2010.

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