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A Novel

by LaVerne Harrell Clark
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Best First Novel 1997, Medicine Pipe Bearers Award, Western Writers of America

Product Details

10-digit ISBN0-938317-28-8
13-digit ISBN9780938317289
Page Count356
Publication DateJanuary 1, 1997
RightsAll Rights Available
A haunting story about a Texas family torn apart by love for their land and oil greed. In the struggle between the two factions, the family encounters a nest of coachwhip snakes. Neighboring black people know these snakes rule the underworld and disturbing them can cause havoc and death.
Texas Montly
"A gem."
Fort Worth Star Telegram
"In the end it is the land, ravished and abandoned by the fortune-seekers, that endures. Keepers of the Earth will coil its way into your heart and soul and not let go."
Independent Publisher
Keepers of the Earth centers on two Texas families, one black and one white. The book opens with Cefus Jenkins, an experienced conjurer, anxious to stay in practice casting spells, and Silvester Munday, scheming to interest his brother Manny, in drilling for oil on the Munday land so that Manny will finance the restoration of the decaying family house, now inhabited only by coachwhip snakes. Relatives of both Cefus and Silvester get entangled in these desires and ultimately move closer together, though not without resentment, lust, folk wisdom and a fatal car crash. About a third of the way through, the plot gains momentum like a roller coaster slowly rounding its highest curve and speeding toward the end of the ride.

Characterization is the strongest aspect of this novel. The characters are complex and well-drawn. Their speech is saturated with dialect that brings these people and their region to life and stops short of distracting the reader. The author makes even the most devious characters engaging and treats them with compassion, making the novel, all in all, enjoyable.
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