When Dr. Michael discovered a lengthy newspaper article that described a 7-day wolf hunt held in January 1897, he realized he had the seed for his next intriguing novel. In the resulting story, fiction is employed to detail the exciting and traumatic lives of timber wolves in the Central Appalachians during the 1750-1900 period. By describing the unique challenges facing successive generations of wolf packs, Dr. Michael reveals how human intrusion and a series of related historic events disrupted the lives of wolves and led to a precipitous decline in their numbers. Readers are provided the opportunity to evaluate the various agents that ultimately led to the demise of the iconic predator that played such an important role in balancing the mountain ecosystem full of deer, elk, buffalo, and passenger pigeons.
The story follows a succession of fictional pack leaders that must adapt to changing conditions created by human invaders if their packs are to survive, including “Canus” whose pack survived a wild fire set by Iroquois; “Castana” who relocated his pack to avoid construction of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike over Cheat Mountain; “Venali” whose pack was forced to abandon its territory due to the building and maintenance of Cheat Summit Fort during the Civil War; “Silva” whose pack was decimated by traps and strychnine; and “Montani” who struggled to survive the relentless pursuit of hounds and hunters.
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.