Widow Walk is set in mid nineteenth century Pacific Northwest region, called the Oregon Country, which included parts of present day Washington state and Vancouver B.C. Isaac Ebey and settlers from various countries were drawn to Oregon Country due to the geography and climate of the area. Farmers came for the rich, fertile soil, plentiful rainfall, and comparatively mild, year round temperatures. Dense forests along the coastal mountain range were abundantly inhabited by beaver and other fur bearing animals, which provided a strong lure to trappers for the lucrative fur trade.
The Pacific Ocean lies to the west and the inland areas are characterized by rugged coastlines, numerous rivers and lakes, dense forests and a variety of mineral-rich resources, all of which allow people to rely on fishing and game for food and and exportable commodities for commerce. The fertile, productive nature of the land made the area inhabitable to all, which ultimately led to ongoing violence and strife between the indigenous and newly settled peoples who competed for the control of resources and territory. There is no question that the more entrepreneurial of the new settlers saw enormous opportunity for fortune. The actions of the British and U.S. governments, by which large areas of land were secured for profitable mining, logging and homesteading, inevitably provoked escalating, retributive violence.
Colonel Isaac Ebey, the Isaac Evans of our story, was a well regarded enterprising and energetic citizen. Originally from Ohio, and having had no success in California’s gold fields, he emigrated north and quickly came to prominence for his various civic activities. It was he who suggested the name “Olympia” for the state’s capitol and it was his letters that induced family and friends to endure the hardships of the Oregon Trail and travel around the South American “Horn” to claim land “before all the good land was taken.” Ebey surveyed he Lake Washington area, outfitted a volunteer company to fight against the native American uprisings in Eastern Washington, and urged the territorial governor to populate San Juan Island to thwart the British claim from the ambiguity in the 1848 boundary agreement between the US and Great Britain. He was tireless in his activities.
I am pleased to list another endorsement for Widow Walk:
“Gerard LaSalle’s Widow Walk is American Historical Fiction in the finest tradition, a direct descendent of Last of the Mohicans and Cold Mountain. LaSalle recounts the brutal, poignant clash between Native American Indian tribes and white settlers in the Pacific Northwest with economy and beauty, writing clean, devastating prose that clutches at your heart. This lean, unsparing narrative will make you look away in sorrow—before raising your fist in triumph. A quintessential rendering of the American Experience.”
—Richard Barager, author of Altamont Augie, Silver Medal winner in ForeWord Reviews 2011 Book of the Year Awards (Historical Fiction), and Finalist in the 2012 USA Best Book Awards (Historical Fiction).”
Working on Isthmus this week. Will be posting the dates for signings and readings from Widow Walk this week. Thus far we have been invited to read at book stores in Bellevue, Mill Creek, Vashon and Whidbey Island and possibly a lecture at the Washington State Historical Society in Tacoma.
Very busy with my professional work and will be again lecturing on patient safety and risk management this next week, this time in Las Vegas, and then up to Toronto for the board meeting for our captive insurance company and then to Chicago for our divisional leadership meetings. Busy. Gratifying however, as we are identifying great opportunities to influence physician clinical behavior via data predictive analytics. Pretty cool stuff – more to come on that in a future blog.