Claude Walker | Bicentennial-By-Buttons

Swamp sunrise

Seminole Smoke: An odyssey of power, love and blood in the Seminole Wars tells the tale of Paul Turtle ("Yok-che"), a bicultural, bilingual 19th Century Seminole who rises from translator to guerrilla strategist to diplomat. Paul Turtle has special gifts: stealth, inhumanly quick hands and an ability to create toxic smoke for any occasion.

The saga spans 54 years, taking the reader to the swamps of Florida, hills of Mexico and corridors of Congress. The reader witnesses such pivotal events as the Negro Fort bombing, Andrew Jackson's invasion, the Dade Massacre, Osceola's imprisonment and the Black Seminoles' trek to Mexico. Such colorful characters as Micanopy, Abraham, Osceola, Coacoochee and Billy Bowlegs come alive.

Paul Turtle creates fantastic weapons - Lightning Sticks, the Sugar Cane Tornado, Purple Haze - to stymie the Americans.

Paul wrestles with such issues as slavery, use of force and land ownership. He gets slapped by Andy Jackson, engineers a prison break for Osceola and pursues slavers who kidnap his beloved Kundiata. He masterminds the first known combined air-land-sea assault on American soil. He survives hurricanes, disease, gunshot wounds, waterspouts, pirates and betrayals.

A war novel, love story and easy-to-swallow history, Seminole Smoke: An odyssey of power, love and blood in the Seminole Wars is the first novel to span the entire 50-year sweep of the Seminole conflict.

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