For Immediate Release: August 2009
Seminole Smoke: An odyssey of power, love and blood in the Seminole Wars
Epic tale is first novel to span entire Seminole conflict
CHICAGO, IL — The Seminole Wars spanned six decades, and mirrored the turmoil of a young United States struggling with identity, expansion and slavery. This historic and bloody conflict is given new breath and scope through a lively new novel written by Chicago author Claude Walker.
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. He 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 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.
Author Claude Walker has long been fascinated by the Seminole Wars thanks to a history teacher uncle, Distant Drums and getting lost off I-75.
In 2008, he participated in National Novel Writers Month (Nanowrimo), in which 125,000 writers around the world endeavor to complete a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. Walker nosed across the finish line with a rough draft of Seminole Smoke, which he subsequently shaped into Seminole Smoke: An odyssey of power, love and blood in the Seminole Wars.
In 2001, Walker made literary history with his epic, Currents of Power: A Modern Political Novel, the first political novel with a Latina protagonist. The book also features a character inspired by then-State Senator Barack Obama. A revised edition was published in 2009.
Other published works include essays on Japanese baseball and Mexican travel, a subway haiku and hundreds of press releases. In 2003, Walker was inducted into the Society of Midland Authors. Walker has spent a lifetime in the rough-and-tumble of Illinois politics as a strategist, organizer and spin-doctor. He's been an advisor to a U.S. Senator, State Treasurer, State Insurance Commissioner and Chicago alderman, and spokesperson for Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn (now Governor). Walker was twice-elected State Chairman of Common Cause-Illinois, and spent years as an organizer and lobbyist for the Illinois Citizens Utility Board (CUB). A graduate of Loyola University of Chicago, Walker is an active kayaker, former Chicago cabbie and Cubs fan.
To order Seminole Smoke: An odyssey of power, love and blood in the Seminole Wars (ISBN 978-1-4401-5406-5, i-Universe, Inc.), visit http://www.seminolesmoke.org/.