Read alsoSea Glass Winter
He was used to getting what he wanted. And what he wanted was her. As an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist, Dillon Slater had one of the most dangerous jobs in the military. Now, he’s enjoying the pace of life in Shelter Bay, where he teaches high school physics. He still gets to blow things up, but as the school basketball…
There was a delightful little library on Main Street in Salem, Virginia. It was quaint and inviting in its park-like setting, and I was privileged to spend many hours there. I remember, though, that the books did not jump off the shelves at me. Sometimes they sat there and put up a passive resistance, almost as if they were the enemy of my desire to read. Still, I persevered, and I found good books to enjoy.
But I was motivated to read. What of the student who is not so motivated, who can take reading or leave it to spend time in other ways? Would we have that student spend time in those other ways, never to learn the joy of reading a good story or to experience the thrill of becoming lost in a good book? I hope not without a fight.
So that is what "Nightmare at Indian Cave" is about. The title is chosen to jump off the shelf at the student. The book is deliberately short. I hope it will not intimidate even the most reluctant reader. The chapters are not overly long and hopefully they will keep the reader's attention. The subject matter should interest kids, especially those from the mountains and rural settings. The vocabulary is not difficult, though it is not without the occasional challenge. Dialogue is used extensively in the belief that it has a power to involve the reader. One university English professor called the book "a real page turner". I considered that a great compliment because that is exactly what I intended the book to be. I only hope he was right, but I won't know until the book is in your students' hands.
Though this book is a fantasy, and is a fiction in every respect, I made some effort to be true to history. Daniel Boone is known to have been in what is now Scott County, Virginia at about this time. Benge was not. He came along a few years later. Our Benge is the product of a boy's nightmare, and though he may be based on the legend of "Chief" Robert Benge, he is fictional. The real Benge was probably Cherokee, though opinion on that is divided. The mention of beehive coke ovens may be noticed. They have been dormant for some time now, but I could not resist reviving them.
Tony and Jon are unwilling participants when they find themselves transported back into the year 1774 with Billy. However it happened, they are trapped with Billy in a nightmare adventure. The monster, Hargus, a bear-like pioneer and Benge's partner, wants to kill Billy in a scheme for vengeance that transcends time and dimension. Only the strong pioneer girl, Emily, can save the boys. She doesn't understand how, but she knows that she and Billy must somehow save themselves together. As they are pursued by Hargus and Benge, the boys' knowledge of the mountainous area becomes a factor in the survival of the pioneer town and its inhabitants, and each of the boys and Emily are tested before they finally meet the evil Hargus in a fight to the death.
Middle School students should enjoy this book. It was written for them; however, many older students and adults may find the story interesting. Not enough has been written about the history of the Appalachian Mountains and their place in America's history. The fascinating legend of the Melungeons is beginning to get some attention, but so far much of what is written about these mountain people is contradictory or negative. I don't attempt to throw light on that controversy. I simply want to point out that these people were here when the first pioneers came to the Virginia mountains, and they have a place in our history, as well as our fiction.
The town of Guest's Crossing does not exist,