Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Abolition of Evil - Fantastic, Epic Revisionist History Thriller by Ted Richardson

"The abolition of the evil is not impossible; it
ought never therefore to be despaired of.
Every plan should be adopted, every
experiment tried, which may do something
toward the ultimate object."
--Thomas Jefferson

June 1973, Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Montana

The two Indian teens raced side by side, their dirt bikes kicking up rocks and leaving a swirl of dust in their wake. The bigger boy, Tommy, yelled in youthful exuberance as he accelerated past his best friend. His shoulder-length jet-black hair shimmered in the early summer sun. His bright white teeth stood out in stark contrast against his dark skin, made darker by a fresh smattering of mud.
Despite the fact he was a year older than Tommy, Leonard was half his size. The two boys made an odd pairing but they had been inseparable since elementary school... They had reached the foothills on the western edge of the reservation. Tommy shifted his bike into low gear and began to climb. It didn't take long, however, for the smaller Leonard to overtake his man-child best friend--one of the rare occasions when Tommy's size proved to be a disadvantage. Leonard grinned and thrust his fist into the air as he crested Ghost Ridge first.
The two boys paused to take in the picturesque view. Behind them, to the east, they
could see for miles as the sweetgrass of Montana's Great Plains went on seemingly forever. To the west, directly in front of them, the Rocky Mountain front rose up rapidly and majestically. Its many peaks were still blanketed in white from the record snows of the past winter. Just to the north, straddling the border of Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Reservation, stood an isolated black of Proterozoic rock known as Chief Mountain. It was the tallest of all the peaks at an elevation of over 9000 feet. It was also one of the most sacred sites to the Blackfeet. Spiritual ceremonies had been held at its base for generations. The old-timers claimed the small ridge the boys had just ascended was haunted by the spirits of a mythical tribe; thus the name Ghost Ridge. Tommy used to be fascinated by the story as a little boy, but had come to believe it was just another bullship Indian legend the tribe elders always seemed to be trying to pass along to his generation. He'd been out of that ridge plenty of times and never seen or felt anything...
The sun was getting lower on the horizon and a glimmer from something on the ground caught Tommy's eye. He steered his bike in that direction. As he got closer, he saw an odd-shaped piece of metal sticking out from between two rocks. He killed his engine, slammed the kickstand with the heel of his boot and dismounted. Once he rolled away the few loose stones surrounding the object, it became apparent he had uncovered some kind of metal helmet...
The crown of the helmet was tall and oval-shaped. The sides swept down and then turned up at the ends. almost like the top half of a duck's bill. It had a number of dings and dents, but considering its age, it seemed to be pretty intact.
Leonard walked up from behind Tommy and grabbed the helmet out of his hands, "Where do you think it came from?" he asked, turning it over to peer inside...
A few minutes later, Tommy got up. "Come on Lenny, it's getting late. We better head back before the sun goes down."
He lashed the helmet to his rear cargo rack and turned his bike in a southeasterly direction toward home. The boys were especially quiet on the long ride out of the foothills. Their adventurous day was quickly fading into a memory, replaced by the depressing reality of their everyday lives that lay just a few miles ahead...

Two Blackfeet boys finding a helmet of a Spanish Conquistador  might have ended the story, if a local newspaper hadn't picked up the discovery and had the two boys holding their find, announcing it to the world. It took two weeks but one day an old man came to the Reservation, found the boys, and bought the helmet... Nobody knew that it was the first found link to an unsolved mystery that had occurred hundreds of years earlier.

This novel moves from the present day back into the 70s and on back into the 1600s. The historical "treasure hunt" is started by a man, Matt Hawkins. He had become quite famous when he had unearthed a surrender letter written by George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Actually he was the owner of Hawkins Antiques which he had located in a circa-1860s converted mansion. He was contacted by a friend who had received a rolltop desk used by William Clark when he was the superintendent of Indian Affairs back in the 1830s...

Remarkably, a collection of field notes written by Meriwether Lewis during the final months of the Lewis and Clark Expedition was found... And when one part was read, an amazing new bit of history was revealed...

"Well, here's the thing. The notes were written in a somewhat rambling nature. You might even say they were incoherent in parts," Fox explained, his tone turning more serious. "You see, Lewis tells an unbelievable story about being captured by a tribe of Indians. More remarkably, he describes them as looking a lot like York, Captain Clark's black slave who accompanied them on the expedition." "Wait a minute, James," Matt interrupted. "I've read a lot about the Lewis and Clark Expedition and I don't remember reading anything in the history books about Lewis being captured, let alone by a tribe of black Indians." "That's because there was never any mention of it in Lewis and Clark's official correspondence. Believe me, we made a trip to the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia and read copies of the original journals cover to cover, just to make absolutely certain," Fox related. "Like I said, it's an unbelievable story, and by unbelievable I don't mean remarkable. I mean we're not sure if we believe it....
That's not all," Fox continued, "Lewis also claims that during his short captivity he saw what he describes as a 'religious shrine,' And sitting atop this stone shrine was a helmet. He even drew a picture of it."
What kind of helmet?"
"It's a conquistador helmet," Fox said. "There's really no mistaking the distinctive shape. It's the same worn by de Soto, Coronado, and all the other famous Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s...

Matt Hawkins was hooked with this discovery...Just like readers will be! I would consider this a Revisionist (Alternative) History novel based upon some basic historical information. It has been molded into a fantastic, epic mystery/thriller that is exciting, fantastic in its scope of potential stories that lead readers all the way through hundred of years into the present time, where two brothers, billionaires, have created a billionaires group which is working diligently and surely, toward eliminating our precious democracy in America...

Readers are brought into the various time periods through Matt's step-by-step research that started around the same time that Lewis and Clark were working for Thomas Jefferson. At the same time, though, Jefferson was working with another man regarding a deal on managing all the fur trade that would soon occur. Today's billionaires were direct descendants of that man who had made billions based upon that agreement with President Jefferson. (The author has taken considerable liberties with history, but includes what is real and false at the end of the book...)

I was most attracted to the historical story where it was assumed that, if there had been a black tribe at that time, that it was made up of run-away slaves that had been part of the group of conquistadors, some of whom had gained status and become conquistadors themselves. It was believed that one of these men, during a battle, had worked behind the scenes to have all of the slaves escape and follow him all the way to Montana where they had established a fort and a small, free community.

The story of the present time was not as interesting to me, and reflective of too many tales today of what billionaires are trying to do in America... All together though, it is clear that the research done by the author, together with his love of American history, has resulted in a story that is among the best I've read...even, in my opinion, topping some of the other similar bestsellers made into movies. This storyline is fresh with unique twists while entwining fictional "what-if" situations that forces you to stop and say, OMG, surely this didn't happen! 

I loved the audacity from the author and believe he has a future that will move him rapidly into a top writer in America! If you enjoy revisionist fictional history based upon fact, this superb novel has much to offer...


After more than twenty-five years as a business professional, Ted Richardson parlayed his fascination with American history and his love of a good mystery into writing fiction. Abolition of Evil is his second book. His first novel, Imposters of Patriotism was published in 2014. He lives in the Atlanta area with his wife and two daughters.

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