A Dark Gamble, a Western epic inspired by the great epic of Gilgamesh, is set in New Mexico during the era when gold and silver were being discovered and prospectors, miners and ranchers were pouring into the territory, the local Apaches consequently being hunted down and displaced. The novel is an attempt to explore an aspect of the American past, with its roots in an untamed land and the uneasy transition to the modern world. The action takes place in the town of Destiny, which shoots up when gold is discovered in the region. The story is told by a narrator who has heard tales of Gil Weston and Jack Cameron since his youth, men who still engage his imagination of those around him. Out of his own fascination and curiosity, he feels compelled to take up their story himself as part of his own quest for an understanding of the past and a meaning for his own life.
A Dark Gamble is the first novel in a triology that includes Ghost Dance: A Play of Voices and Ancestors, both of which will also be published by Serving House Books.
Gladys Swan has published two novels, Carnival for the Gods (Vintage Contemporaries Series) and Ghost Dance: A Play of Voices, nominated by LSU Press for the Pen/Faulkner Award. She has published six collections of short fiction, the most recent being A Garden Amid Fires. Her short fiction has appeared in such literary magazines as the Kenyon Review, Sewanee Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, Manoa, Ohio Review, and Prairie Schooner, where she was awarded the Lawrence Foundation Prize for Fiction. In 200l, she received the Tate Prize for Poetry from the Sewanee Review. She was awarded one of the first Open Fellowships from the Lilly Endowment for a study of Inuit art and mythology and has held residencies at Yaddo, the Fundacion Valpariso in Spain, and the Chateau de Lavigny in Switzerland, and the Martha’s Vineyard Writers’ Residency. She has received various fellowships for residencies in painting at the Vermont Studio Center, where she has also been a Guest Writer.
What a wild and wonderful novel this is—full of history and love of the American West but also of all western human culture. It’s a novel of quest, of the struggle between good and evil, the presence of the past, of heroism and identity. Gil Weston lives for us all. Hombre dies for us all.
—John M. Daniel, author of Hooper Man
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