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A Violent Event and Hidden Past

Historical Novel Tells of Bloody King Philip's War


MATTAPOISETT, Mass., Nov. 17, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- In 1675 and 1676, new settlers fought what was one of the country's bloodiest conflicts. "King Philip's War" took the lives of thousands of new settlers and American Indians. In Roger C. Thompson's new novel, Savages: A Tale of the Great New England Indian War (now available through AuthorHouse), he tells how one survivor digs into his past to uncover a hidden tale that challenges everything he has known.

The novel follows the Ware family through the war, which is said to have been instigated by a Wampanoag Indian leader, Metacom, known as "King Philip" by the English. James Ware is a survivor of the violence. When his village was attacked, James' mother, Betsy, hid him in a corn basket. His mother and brother were then taken captive by Indians. James was later adopted into a family that both recognized and nurtured his intelligence.

James' beloved foster father dies, and the accusations of his jealous foster brother spark a journey into his past. He labels James "squaw's spawn," and James is racked with guilt over his sinful heritage. He becomes desperate for the truth, and seeks out Kenelm "Gull Eye" Parker, who is also a survivor of the attacks.

Gull Eye's account shakes James' naive faith in predestination to the core and makes him question his deepest beliefs. The man explains how the unpredictability and cruelty of war and religious hypocrisy exacted their toll on the Ware family. Gull Eye and James' father joined an Indian hater , Captain Sam Mosely, and participated in the conflict in an effort to find Betsy. As James learns of the kindness Gull Eye showed Betsy after her long captivity with the savages and subsequent rejection by her church, he ponders the conflict between his religious beliefs and the harsh reality of his parents' lives.

This powerful novel illustrates the terror of captivity and the brutality of both the English and Indians. Savages: A Tale of the Great New England Indian War portrays a harsh time more akin to the Middle Ages than the Thanksgiving celebrations of modern society, yet successfully tells a story of unconditional love.

Thompson has had a varied and distinguished career. He was an assistant professor at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse, where he received his doctorate. He was also the executive director of the New York State Recreational Council, director of the New York State Senate Finance Committee and secretary of the New York State Senate. An infantry combat veteran, Thompson currently lives in Massachusetts.


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