In this "heavily immersive" (Kirkus) kaleidoscopic voyage through the past, present, and future of the United States, a young girl uncovers a secret society, a middle-aged man searches for his lost first love, a group of teens invent a role-playing game, protests threaten to topple the government, and an eccentric lawyer and his young Vietnamese protégée re-open a dormant case.
"A knotty, philosophical mystery dense with lingering regrets." -Kirkus
In the early 1990s in Harmony Valley, a rural, Upstate New York village faded from its 18th and 19th century heyday, a group of teens engaged in an idiosyncratic role-playing game cross paths with June, a mysterious girl whose family has deep roots in the area, and Clyde Duane, a janitor who makes weekly visits to a strange room-the headquarters of a secret society-opening its door with a golden, serpent-headed key. Meanwhile an eccentric Utica lawyer pulls his young Vietnamese protégée into their firm's special case, which stretches back to the 1840s.
Decades later, in 2034, as the United States is breaking apart and a new way of life taking shape, June has disappeared. The mystery of her disappearance inspires a journey back to "The Happy Valley," and a reevaluation of the past that exposes the dark personal and societal secrets betraying our founding myths.
This atmospheric mystery, at turns gothic, poetic, cerebral, and funny, ranges from rural New York to the outer reaches of the Zebulon Galaxy; from the 1700s to the 4th decade of the 21st century.
The novel is 414 pages, with 66 full-page b&w illustrations by the author that "recall the excitability of middle-grade stories" (Kirkus), and includes an Appendix with a Timeline, and a detailed Reading Group Guide.