In Shadow of the Alleghenies, we learn about the Allegheny region as it was being settled: the wildlife, the Indians, the climate and the natural resources. Today’s armchair adventurers can get a real idea about the habits and habitats of wolves, buffalo, mountain lions, beavers and poisonous snakes. But the best part of Edwin Daryl Michael’s special piece of historical fiction is its two unforgettable characters. The adventures, joys and perils of the tall Scotsman named Angus McCallendar become our own. But the real thief of our affection and attention is Schatto, (German for shadow) the newborn wolf pup that Angus rescues from certain death, and with whom he becomes inseparable.
As Angus and Schatto come upon the occasional farm, settlement, or trading post, we see human nature at its best and worst: the hospitality and manners of the Dunkard family as they welcome and feed Angus, and how Angus in turn provides them with game and valuable information. In contrast, when Angus and his well-trained wolf get the attention of shifty, restless men, the pair’s well being is threatened. Ultimately Angus earns the praise of a young George Washington during skirmishes with the French and Indians. Thus Angus realizes that he is no longer a true Scotsman, but an American.
About the author:
Dr. Edwin Michael, Emeritus Professor of Wildlife Ecology at West Virginia University, has devoted over 40 years of his life to the study of West Virginia’s wildlife. That experience was the basis for his three, historical fiction novels, A Valley Called Canaan, Shadow of the Alleghenies, and Death Visits Canaan.
Dr. Michael was born on Plum Run in Marion County, and attended public schools in Shinnston and New Martinsville. He received a B. S. degree in Biology from Marietta College, and M. S. and Ph.D. degrees in Wildlife Ecology from Texas A&M University. Dr. Michael continues to research and write about the wildlife of West Virginia, especially those living in the high mountains.