And so a duology became a series…

In case you haven’t met already, let me introduce you to The Journey of Runs-Far, a Kindred novella, releasing November 23, 2021.

A final journey uncovers the hidden wounds of an old man’s soul, as he clings to hope that the God who redeemed him long ago has saved the greatest miracle for last.

Tennessee Country, 1798

Runs-Far, beloved elder of the Cherokee, lays dying. While family and friends gather to mourn, Runs-Far dreams of Sedi, the wife who bore him two children and was carrying a third when she was captured by white soldiers, and never seen again. For the next forty years, Runs-Far taught his people the ways of Jesus, yet Sedi’s loss distanced him from the God he served. In his dream, his long-vanished wife accuses him of abandoning his search too soon. Even Creator is telling him it is not his day to die—he has unfinished business. But Runs-Far is old. Learning what happened to Sedi will lead him through lands settled by white men. He cannot go alone. Blue-Jay, his son, must go with him.

Blue-Jay fears to lose a father as once he lost a mother—a loss over which he still carries guilt. Dare he believe forgiveness lies in making a journey seemingly born more of folly than faith? If he and his father find what they seek, will they wish they hadn’t? Knowing only that the journey begins at MacKinnon’s Cove, where Runs-Far abandoned his search long ago, the two set out from the mountains of their home with little more than hope to guide them.

Why did I write this novella?

This book falls chronologically one year after the events in Shiloh end. So why did I write it? Well, there were some unanswered story questions raised in Mountain Laurel which continued to be pondered by certain characters in Shiloh, but were never fully answered in either of those books. Why not? There simply wasn’t room.

My novels tend to run long, despite the many thousands of words I and my editors shave off their length. If I could, I would have woven this extra 45,000 words of story into Shiloh‘s narrative. Had I done so, I doubt the end result would have been affordable for most readers. Or possibly lift-able. It certainly would have slowed the pace of Shiloh down to a crawl (or as one reviewer described it, slower than molasses running uphill in January… or something like that. Though the real question might be, can you get any slower than that…?).

So I took the next logical step and lifted the subplot that addressed these story questions out of Shiloh‘s narrative and crafted it into its own tale, expanding some characters’ roles and giving it the scope it deserved. And I couldn’t be more pleased with the end result.

But what are those story questions?

Basically there are three of them (as I’m sure many readers have already realized):

1. Who was Lily’s mother who died at Mountain Laurel giving birth to her, and will Lily and Seona ever learn more about their Cherokee roots?

2. What has Thomas Ross been up to (aside from that brief mention in one of Seona’s letters to Ian, and a letter addressed to Seona) since he led Hugh Cameron’s field hands to freedom at the end of Mountain Laurel?

3. And what about young Esther, taken to serve at Chesterfield Plantation after the house fire, a place we all know bodes no good for anyone, right?

(okay, there’s 4). Those two questions I seek to answer with every story I write: What will anchor our souls in this ever changing world? What will unite us, no matter how deep our divisions may be?

These questions will be answered in The Journey of Runs-Far, and so much more. You are going to revisit a number of the characters from my previously published novels. That means quite a few spoilers for those who haven’t read my earlier novels.

But which novels might those be?

The Journey of Runs-Far’s Place in the Broader 18th Century Story World

A final word on this novella: it’s not only linked to the two Kindred novels, Mountain Laurel and Shiloh (and Burning Sky too, an honorary member of this series). It has very strong ties to two other novels of mine: The King’s Mercy (in which, you many recall, the character of Runs-Far was introduced as a very young man), and The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn. You should probably read those two novels (and the Kindred books of course!) if massive story and character spoilers are a thing that might ruin those reads later. I tell you this because that is the very LAST thing, as an author, I would want to do to any reader, over any book. Ever.

The novella has ties to Many Sparrows too, but not quite as strong and perhaps you could read The Journey of Runs-Far without spoiling that book terribly.

To sum it up, this novella has ties of some sort to every single novel I’ve ever written except the two Pathfinders novels, The Wood’s Edge and A Flight of Arrows. Not for lack of my trying… but that’s another story I may tell elsewhere.

In case you’re struggling to make heads or tails of all this, I’ll leave you with the best visual aid I’ve managed to come up with. This Character Crossover Chart no doubt explains these story-world connections better than a thousand more words could ever do. Note the date of each novel’s setting. That will give you an idea of how far in the future for each set of characters you’ll be jumping when you read this novella:

Pre-order The Journey of Runs-Far at Amazon

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