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About the author:
Kevin J. Curtis has a BA in English from the University of Minnesota. A lifetime writer, Kevin writes music, poetry, short stories and has two finished novels. Curtis lives in Minnesota with his wife Neng. He works in technology at an alternative high school. Kevin also volunteers as a park ranger in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. His first novel is called "He Who Goes First."


Authored by Kevin J. Curtis


The story follows the growth of a cottonwood tree across nearly a century. The story starts just prior to European influence, with a young warrior running from his enemies. This is pre-horse culture and as he stops to catch his breath, a few drops of blood run down his fingers and land on the cottonwood seedling -thus the blood of the warrior is incorporated into the makeup of the tree.

As the warrior runs on, the story likewise continues into the future. As the novel covers roughly two centuries, characters will come and go, while demonstrating how life was in this pivotal point in our history. Though the lives of both humans and animals come and go, the tree remains the anchor that keeps pulling the story back together. Eventually, another tree sprouts up and begins its life, as the original begins to die and ultimately succumbs to time. This was necessary to maintain the realism, since cottonwoods generally live around 90 years.

As the story moves ever closer to the modern era, the reader is carried along through the many changes that affect both the human inhabitants, as well as the wildlife in and around the area that would later become the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

At one point, ancient bones are dug up during a construction project. While early in the story such a find might be destroyed, the public's ideas and the laws have changed, and the bones must be respected and handled properly. At this point, the story takes the liberty of propelling the reader hundreds of years into the past, in order to put a human element into the bones. The reader witnesses the story of the man's death, through the eyes of his grandson in a world (and even a climate) that is very different from the present.

The story ends up with a volunteer park ranger, who spends a lot of time in the bottomland forest. This person gains an appreciation for both the resiliency of the wilderness and also the damage that has been incurred over the decades and centuries. He also gains an appreciation of the history, and how his hikes have taken him to places that were inhabited by those who came before him.

Publication Date:
1461028183 / 9781461028185
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Fiction / Historical / General

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