Western Wednesdays—WILDERNESS #66: GARDEN OF EDEN + Giveaway!

AT LAST! It’s finally here. As of yesterday, Sept. 6th, Wilderness #66: Garden of Eden is available in  e-book and trade paperback, as part of the double edition,  Wilderness Double: Seed of Evil (65)/Garden of Eden (66).

Thank you to all the Wilderness fans who have patiently awaited this latest King family adventure. As a special treat, we’re not only previewing the first TWO chapters here today, but next week author David Thompson will be stopping by the blog to answer all your questions! So take a look at the preview, leave your questions and comments in the comment thread and tune in next Wednesday to hear from the man himself!

Giveaway: Anyone who comments on today’s preview or David’s post next week will be entered to win a copy of the Wilderness Double Edition #65/66.

Happy Reading,
Allison Carroll
Editorial and Web Coordinator

Chapter One

The old man came out of his cabin and squinted at the bright sun high in the afternoon sky. He sighed and turned to regard the cabin one last time. Then he stepped to the horses tied to the top rail of the small corral. His shoulders were hunched and he moved stooped over. The buckskins he wore were loose and baggy on his spare frame.

“I will miss this place,” he said to his sorrel. Grunting, he climbed on and snagged the rope to his pack animal. Cradling his rifle, he headed down the valley, following the stream he knew so well.

Methuselah was his name. His mother picked it from the Bible. His eyes were a pale blue, his skin as tough as rawhide and almost the same color.

Reaching into his possibles bag, Methuselah pulled out a

plug and bit off a chaw. Chomping methodically, he softened and loosened the tobacco to where he could spit.

The long, winding valley was so far from anywhere that Methuselah was the only white man who had ever set foot in it. To his knowledge, no red men had, either. Others were there when he had discovered the way in, but they weren’t white and they weren’t red. They weren’t like any men anywhere.

Methuselah raised his face and let the sun warm him. He was cold a lot these days, even in the heat of the summer. Yet another reason he was leaving. There was something he would like to do before an eternal cold claimed him.

The valley had been his home for so long, it was part of him. He had never loved any place so much. He regretted having to leave, but there it was.

Methuselah’s gaze roved to the virgin forest and the towering peaks that seemed to reach to the moon. The highest peak, to the west, had always made him think of a bird’s beak. He was almost to the east end of the valley when he became aware of movement in the trees. He showed no alarm. Instead, he drew rein and called out, “I have to do this.”

The high grass rustled on all sides.

“I’m sorry,” Methuselah said. “I would stay if I could.

But none of us live forever.”

Stems parted and eyes were fixed on him. Peculiar eyes, yellow-green and slanted, they possessed an almost inhuman intensity.

“That you?” Methuselah said, and added a name that no human ear other than his had heard and no white mouth other than his had ever uttered. “Show yourself.”

The eyes stayed where they were.

“I thought we were past this.”

The eyes blinked. It was a slow, almost languid blink, like what a big cat might do. But this was no cat.

“You can at least shake my hand,” Methuselah said. “I’ve taught you that much.”

The grass was motionless.

“I’ve explained why this has to be. Why act so contrary when we’ve been friends for so long?”

The grass rippled and one of them scuttled toward him, growling.

“Consarn it!” Methuselah cried. He slapped his heels against the sorrel and gave a sharp tug on the lead rope.

He tried not to dwell on the consequences if they caught him. He knew how they were. He used his heels again, with vigor.

All around him the grass moved. Methuselah glimpsed his pursuers. How they could run like that was beyond his

fathoming. In so many ways, they were different from everyone

and everything.

One of them lunged at the packhorse, but the horse was moving too fast.

Methuselah tucked low and rode for his life. The valley narrowed. Ahead was a cliff, a seemingly solid wall of rock too sheer to climb. He made straight for it.

From out of the grass in front of him rose another.

A sharp tug on the reins and Methuselah shot by. He braced for the impact of its body on his back, but it didn’t pounce. Then he was at the cliff and to all appearances about to smash into it.

The cliff face swallowed him and the two horses, and the thunder of hooves faded. Behind him the grass stopped moving. The figure that had barred his path melted away.

Methuselah burst out the other side of the notch. He went a short distance and reined up and wheeled the sorrel. On this side was another cliff as sheer as the other. “Why?” he said to the unresponsive stone. “Why did you have to go and do that?”

A great sadness fell over Methuselah as he turned down the mountain. It was a mile before the sorrow left him and he smiled slightly and said, “Look out, world. Here I come.”

Chapter Two

King Valley lived up to its name. Sculpted as if by an artist, it had everything a frontiersman could ask for. A lake and the mountain streams that fed it provided plenty of water.

Grass for grazing covered much of the valley floor. A variety of thick timber grew on the facing slopes. Game was abundant—so much so, it was rare for any of the valley’s inhabitants to spend more than a few hours hunting. Fish and water fowl thrived.

Shakespeare McNair had never beheld a valley so grand, and he was the oldest living white man in the Rocky Mountains. He had come West before the fur trappers, drawn by an indefinable urge to explore the vast unknown. Now, decades later, he had seen most everything the mountains had to offer, and he was as versed in the ways of the wilderness as any man alive.

On this particular sunny morning, Shakespeare was strolling along the lake with his Hawken in the crook of his elbow. As ever, he was clad in buckskins, with an ammo pouch, a powder horn, and his possibles bag crisscrossing his chest. A pair of pistols was tucked under his leather belt, a Green River knife sheathed at his waist.

Every now and again Shakespeare felt a twinge of pain in his left hip, but he ignored it and concentrated on the beauty of the day. He breathed deep of the breeze that stirred his long beard. Both the beard and his hair were as white as the snow that capped several of the mile-high peaks.

A fish leaped and splashed down. Ducks quacked and a goose honked. To the south a bald eagle soared, to the north a pair of ravens. A doe and her young ones grazed at the edge of the woodland and higher up an elk bugled.

“The wonder of it all,” Shakespeare said to the world at large. He touched a hand to his hip. Then he noticed someone ahead and his mouth quirked in a grin.

Nate King wore the same style of buckskins and was similarly armed, but his hair and beard were a deep black. At the moment he was pacing back and forth and muttering and angrily gesturing.

“This is too rich for words,” Shakespeare said. Raising his voice, he called, “How now, Horatio? What bodes this unseemly behavior?”

Nate paused in his pacing and glared and said, “Go away.”

Placing a hand to his chest as if stricken, Shakespeare teased, “Is that any way to greet your best friend and the man who taught you everything you know? Crows and daws, sir. Crows and daws.”

“You won’t believe it,” Nate said. “You just won’t believe it.” He resumed his pacing and muttering.

Shakespeare regarded the King cabin, situated west of his along the lake. “Methinks I detect the whiff of female.”

“You think you know someone and then they go and do something like this.”

“Care to share, Horatio, or should I guess from now until Armageddon?”

Nate stopped. “How many times have I told you to stop calling me that?”

“At least a million.”

“You listen as good as she does.”

“Aha. Then I was right. What has the beauteous Mrs. King done to put you in such a dither?”

“She wants to have a baby.”

Shakespeare was genuinely shocked. Nate and his Shoshone wife, Winona, had two grown children. The oldest, Zach, was married to a woman named Louisa, who was in the family way. “At your age?”

Nate gestured at the cabin. “That’s exactly what I said to her. All it did was make her mad.”

“Spill, son,” Shakespeare said.

Taking several deep breaths, Nate leaned on his rifle. “We were having breakfast. The subject of Lou came up, and how she was doing, and Winona put down her spoon and looked at me and said she had been thinking about having another baby herself.”

“Good Lord.”

“You could have floored me with a feather. I thought she was joking, so I said that at her age she might as well go and wrestle a grizzly because that’s how much fun it would be.”

“You didn’t.”

“And she got mad.”

“Imagine that.”

Nate took up his pacing once more. “If I live to be a thousand, I will never savvy women.”

“You and the rest of the male gender. Maybe it’s a mood,” Shakespeare suggested. “Women have them in droves.”

“Whatever it is, we’re not having another baby and that’s final.”

“Uh-oh,” Shakespeare said.

“What?”

“You didn’t tell her that, did you?”

“No. Why?”

“Never tell a female anything is final, or she will take it into her head to prove to you it’s not.”

“Then what do I do? I’m too old for changing diapers and burping.”

“Oh, hell,” Shakespeare said. “You’re barely half as old as me. But that aside, I happen to agree. Winona will, too, once she has time to think about it. My advice is to not bring it up again and wait for her mood to pass.”

“I hope you’re right.”

“Do you see these white hairs? I’m always right.”

Nate chuckled and gazed out over the lake. “All right. I’ll take your advice. And it’s nice to see you in a good mood of your own for once.”

“How’s that, Horatio?”

“You’ve been a bit of a grump lately. Even your wife says so. Blue Water Woman was over visiting Winona yesterday and said as how you wake up grumpy and spend the rest of the day becoming grumpier.”

“She did, did she?” Shakespeare said, flustered, and launched into a quote. “She’s the kitchen wench, and all grease, and I know not what use to put her to but to make a lamp

of her.”

“I won’t tell her you said that.”

“I tell her myself,” Shakespeare declared. “Grumpy, indeed. If she was as old as me, she’d start the day in the same frame of mind.”

“That again,” Nate said.

“Excuse me?”

“You’ve been going on for a while now about how old you are and it’s becoming tiresome.”

Excuse me?” Shakespeare said with more emphasis.

“So what if you have white hair? So what if you’re past eighty?”

“When your joints creak and your muscles are always stiff and sore and you can’t hardly get out of bed in the morning,

then you can talk to me about age. Until then you will kindly grant me some consideration.”

“You still get around better than most,” Nate mentioned.

“You’re as spry as a kitten and as randy as a goat. Blue Water Woman said that, too.”

“A pox on all women.” Shakespeare would have gone on berating the fairer sex, but just then a rider leading a packhorse came out of the forest. “I do declare, Horatio. It appears we have company calling.”

Nate turned and his eyebrows arched in surprise. “What in the world? He looks just like you.”

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23 Responses to Western Wednesdays—WILDERNESS #66: GARDEN OF EDEN + Giveaway!

  1. Cory Hurst says:

    I’ve just recently found my first Wildreness novel (#29) and enjoyed it very much. Hope to be able to find this book also, as I like what I’ve read!

  2. Joy Brown says:

    Love the Wilderness Series, Awesome

  3. Craig Clarke says:

    So glad to see the Wilderness series return!

  4. Mary says:

    I’ve never read any of the Wilderness books, but this sounds good so I guess I’ll have to look up the series and start reading them.

  5. Rebekah E. says:

    I have never read any of the wilderness series, but it sounds like a really good story.

  6. this sounds like another great Dorchester find. I guess I shall have to save my pennies and grab a copy, huh?

  7. Estella says:

    Have not read any of the wilderness series yet.

  8. JackieW says:

    I find Shakespear very engaging..would enjoy reading this book.

  9. Carol & Dan Olufsen says:

    This is a most interesting series, David Thompson brings the characters in his books to life with the descriptive way he presents the story. You feel like you are right there watching the scene unfold. My husband was not a reader at all, but then, i purchased the first David Thompson book, and he has been hooked ever since! Thank you David Thompson we love your work!!

  10. Stuart Koren says:

    I am 1yama10pin and have been fan member for 8++yrs and enjoy each and every WILDERNESS novel by DAVID THOMPSON…I own 52novels(counting dbls), and am looking forward to more of his exellent stories..keep them comming..

  11. Kathy Kolega says:

    I knew it was going to be good…I’ve missed reading the series. As always, the author grabs the reader’s attention and a mystery will unfold with one tantalizing chapter after another. I’ve been reading the WILDERNESS series for the last fifteen years and have been in withdrawals. I’ve already read the ebook WILDERNESS #65 last year and am ready to read GARDEN OF EDEN, #66 asap! Thanks Dorchester!

  12. Richard Derieg says:

    How can I acquire back issues of the wilderness series.

    • Allison Carroll, Editorial and Web Coordinator says:

      Hi Richard,
      Much of the Wilderness backlist is currently available in trade paperbac, e-book, and audiobook. Dorcheter is working to release the entire series in e-book and paperback.

      Follow this link for a complete listing of Wilderness titles available on the Dorcheter Web site:
      http://dorchesterpub.com/store/category.aspx?CategoryID=33

      Wilderness Doubles currently available in paperback:
      #1 & 2
      #3 & 4
      #4 & 5
      #7 & 8
      #9 & 10
      #11 & 12
      #13 & 14
      #15 & 16
      #17 & 18
      #19 & 20
      #65 & 66

      Wilderness series currently available in e-book:
      Wilderness #55: Into The Unknown
      Wilderness #56: In Darkest Depths
      Wilderness #57: Fear Weaver
      Wilderness #58: Cry Freedom
      Wilderness #59: Only The Strong
      Wilderness #60: The Outcast
      Wilderness #61: The Scalp Hunters
      Wilderness #62: The Tears Of God
      Wilderness #63: Venom
      Wilderness #64: Devil Moon
      Wilderness #65: Seed of Evil
      Wilderness #66: Garden of Eden
      Wilderness #67: The Gift

      Wilderness series curently available in audiobook:
      Wilderness #1: King of the Mountain
      Wilderness #2: Lure of the Wild
      Wilderness #3: Savage Rendezvous
      Wilderness #4: Blood Fury
      Wilderness #5: Tomahawk Revenge
      Wilderness #6: Black Powder Justice
      Wilderness #7: Vengeance Trail
      Wilderness #8: Death Hunt
      Wilderness #9: Mountain Devil
      Wilderness #10: Blackfoot Massacre
      Wilderness #11: Northwest Passage
      Wilderness #12: Apache Blood
      Wilderness #13: Mountain Manhunt
      Wilderness #14: Tenderfoot
      Wilderness #15: Winterkill
      Wilderness #16: Blood Truce
      Wilderness #17: Trapper’s Blood

      Happy Reading,
      Allison Carroll
      Editorial and Web Coordinator
      Dorchester Publishing

  13. Jana Johnston says:

    Love the blog with the free chapters. This sounds like a “goldmine” series. Already hunting for the earlier books and on my way to setting up to start reading them asap. I read about 6-7 books per week and can’t wait ;0) I’m hooked already.

  14. Steve M says:

    I own all the books in this series and would like to know if the trade paperback of 65/66 is going to be made available in England? The usual places I buy books from like Amazon UK and The Book Depository have it listed as unavailable and not known if it will be.

  15. Stuart Koren says:

    Ms. Alision, will u be producing(reprinting) WILDERNESS{{paperbacks}}, #’s21-63?????
    As a fan of MR. ^^THOMPSON^^ I am looking for the ones I don’t have so I may complete
    the series, including gthe **GIANT WILDERNESS**, so that I may sit down for 3-4weeks
    and re-read the whole series….Love the King fam and SHAKEBEAR McNair..I not be
    a good speller but I love to read….YEA WILDERNESS..STUART KOREN..

  16. Ron Moats says:

    Absolutely great reading.I have read most all the series except tthe ones that have been out of print.Been waiting a while for the new book.Keep up the great work

  17. Curtis Patrick says:

    I have been an advid reader of the wilderness series for a couple of years now and have enjoyed every copy of the series that i have read and continue to pick up coppies anywhere i can find them. I truly love the series so much that i have shared my coppies with friends and turned them into wilderness series advid readers and now they look for coppies to read and share. I would love to get more coppies of the cotinuing stories of the Kings and Shakespear the wilderness mountain men . The paper back books are the most enjoyable way to read.

  18. lori b says:

    I can’t wait to read this series. I’m new at this series but it sounds great. I’m an avid reader.

  19. harald says:

    love this series, have all the books. will any future books come out as mass market paperback or do i have to settle for trade paperbacks ?

    • Stuart Koren says:

      Gee whizz good buddie, it is now the 10th of October 2011 and do we know who
      won the DBLE novel of WILDERNESS??????? Readers like me me would like
      to know……THANKS again….STU da DUDE..

      • Allison Carroll, Editorial and Web Coordinator says:

        Hi Stuart,
        The winner was announced on September 27th. Everyone who commented on this post and the interview with David Thompson were entered and Vicki, who commented on the interview, was randomly selected as the winner. Sorry to have kept you waiting!

        Look for more double editions of earlier titles (21-63) along with new Wilderness titles to be released in late 2012.

        Happy Reading,
        Allison Carroll
        Dorchester Publishing

    • Allison Carroll, Editorial and Web Coordinator says:

      Hi Harald,
      Yes, all future releases in the Wilderness series will be in trade paperback and e-book. Your mass-markets are collectors now:)
      Best,
      Allison

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