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Woodsburner by John Pipkin
Woodsburner is a novel based around an actual event. On April 30, 1844, Henry David Thoreau started a camp fire in the Concord woods, burning down 300 acres which threatened the town of Concord. Thoreau had been struggling with self-doubt and preparing to give up a career as a writer. That day, he meets several different citizens of Concord from different social strata who helped battle the inferno. Oddmund Hus is a Norwegian farmhand who has lost his family and lives alone in the woods while pining for his master's wife. Elliott Calvert is a successful bookseller and a rather inept playwright. Rev. Caleb Dowdy sees the fire as a sign from God. Their effect on Thoreau inspires him to move to Walden Pond. John Pipkin's debut novel has received positive reviews with the Dallas Morning News saying, "However didactic and cerebral this may sound, the story is infused with moments of genuine drama, peril and suspense. Woodsburner is edifying, engaging and satisfying, an exemplary illustration of how fiction can illuminate the past, bring history to life and make it feel as fresh and relevant as the present day."
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