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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Sassamon Circle by Louis Garafalo

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (April 19, 2008)
ISBN-10: 143272066X
ISBN-13: 978-1432720667

The Sassamon Circle is historical fiction based on the mysterious death of the Indian John Sassamon. Sassamon was a Wompanoag who lived in Massachusetts and died in January 1675. A 'Praying Indian', Sassamon was able to communicate in English and native dialects which allowed him to function in cultures that were distinctly different from one another.

This story takes place during the period fifty years after the arrival of the Pilgrims. The death of Sassamon and the ensuing trial, leads to a collison of culture and a war. It delves into the tensions between the cultures that eventually led to King Phillip's War.

Mr Garafalo paints an amazing picture of the times and the culture - allowing you to picture the buildings, the clothing and the environment of the story. The story revolves around a fictional English family and a fictional Wompanoag family in the lead up to a war that was devastating to both sides in the conflict. He develops characters that are easy to relate to and understand and gives you a sense of the thoughts of both the English and the Indians.

This is a period of history that is not taught and is difficult to find in history books. Mr Garafalo has done us the gift of handing us a part of our history that we did not know about. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the early history of the country.