The Curse of Conchobar, Guest Post by David Fitz-Gerald

Banished by one tribe. Condemned by another. Will an outcast’s supernatural strengths be enough to keep him alive?

549 AD. Raised by monks, Conchobar is committed to a life of obedience and peace. But when his fishing vessel is blown off-course, the young man’s relief over surviving the sea’s storms is swamped by the terrors of harsh new shores. And after capture by violent natives puts him at death’s door, he’s stunned when he develops strange telepathic abilities.

Learning his new family’s language through the mind of his mentor, Conchobar soon falls for the war chief’s ferocious daughter. But when she trains him to follow in her path as a fighter, he’s horrified when his uncanny misfortune twists reality, causing more disastrous deaths and making him a pariah.

Can Conchobar defeat the darkness painting his steps with blood?

The Curse of Conchobar is the richly detailed prequel to the mystical Adirondack Spirit Series of historical fiction. If you like inspiring heroes, unsettling powers, and lasting legacies, then you’ll love David Fitz-Gerald’s captivating tale.

Native Americans in the Adirondacks

After I wrote Wanders Far about a young man who has a passion for distance hiking and delivering messages, someone asked me if I am Native American. I answered, “Not in this lifetime.” Someday, I’d love to have a past life regression session to determine my true connection to the past. I like to fantasize that I was native to the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, perhaps hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

There’s no question that Native American people hunted in the Adirondacks, but there has been much debate about whether they lived in the Adirondacks year-round. Winter conditions in these mountains are extreme, and it is understandable that some people would think of them as uninhabitable. When I lived in Saranac Lake, near Lake Placid, sometimes the temperatures recorded in the winter were the coldest in the Nation.

In my book, The Curse of Conchobar, Conchobar washes ashore near the mouth of what is now the Hudson River, and finds himself a pawn in a never-ending war between two villages. To escape them, he heads north into the Adirondacks. Whether or not Native American people lived in the Adirondack Mountains, my character and his immediate family did. The native villagers remained to the south, in the ancestral home of the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois people.

In my book, Wanders Far, set hundreds of years later, The Adirondack Mountains are depicted as the summer home of the protagonist’s immediate family. These characters form a strong, spiritual bond with this beautiful country of mountains, lakes, rivers, and forests. This book includes my version of the legendary, Native American story of how Whiteface Mountain got its name. This protagonist also plays an important role in the even more legendary story of the unification of the Haudenosaunee people, in the time of Hiawatha.

As an Adirondack 46-er, I’ve hiked to the top of every mountain with an elevation higher than 4,000 feet. My favorite climb is New York State’s second tallest mountain, Algonquin Peak. From there, you can walk a ridge that leads to the eighth tallest mountain, Iroquois Peak. There are two peaks in between, but to count as mountains on their own, they’d need to be further from their taller neighbors. One of them is called Boundary Peak. Imagine standing on Boundary Peak, wondering whether Algonquin or Iroquois were the masters of the high peaks. I suspect through the centuries, there was an ebb and flow, or sometimes friendly rivalry, or perhaps even coexistence.

Algonquin Puddles, taken from Algonquin Peak, showing Iroquois Peak beyond, and Lake Champlain in the background, Photo by David Fitz-Gerald

For a more thorough discussion about whether Native Americans inhabited the Adirondack Mountains, I would refer you to a book titled Rural Indigenousness – A History of Iroquoian and Algonquian Peoples of the Adirondacks, by Melissa Otis.

I’m fascinated by archaeology. If I could travel back in time, I would be tempted to study archaeology in college. If I had, maybe I would spend my time sifting through dirt beside a lake in the Adirondacks instead of dreaming up stories of people who might have lived long ago. I’ll leave it to scientists and historians to gather the evidence, as I share links to these two videos with you. I particularly love the line, “While other students are talking nerdy, we’re getting dirty.”

You may also want to check out the Six Nations Iroquois Cultural Center. Here’s their website:

In the epilogue from The Curse of Conchobar, an elderly matriarch tells her secret version of the Haudenosaunee creation story to her great-grandson. It will probably take scientists and historians much longer to prove the wisdom of the mystical tale she tells.

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Meet David Fitz-Gerald

David Fitz-Gerald writes fiction that is grounded in history and soars with the spirits. Dave enjoys getting lost in the settings he imagines and spending time with the characters he creates. Writing historical fiction is like making paintings of the past. He loves to weave fact and fiction together, stirring in action, adventure, romance, and a heavy dose of the supernatural with the hope of transporting the reader to another time and place. He is an Adirondack 46-er, which means he has hiked all of the highest peaks in New York State, so it should not be surprising when Dave attempts to glorify hikers as swashbuckling superheroes in his writing.

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