In this poignant story of new found love and love discarded, reminiscent of some of Graham Greene’s novels, Tim Schell takes us to Central Africa where a young American, an African prostitute and the seventeen-year-old daughter of American Baptist missionaries are on the run from the police and other threats. The American, Jack Burke, has stabbed to death a Frenchman in the act of raping Mari, the prostitute and Jack’s former lover. She is the one arrested, but Jack confesses, then flees because of extreme fear of confinement, the result of childhood trauma. The daughter, Faith, joins their flight in her love for Jack. While the novel dramatizes a suspenseful adventure of danger, escape and death, the intense action engages questions of love, loyalty and belief.
About the Author
Tim Schell is the winner of the 2004 Mammoth Book Award for Prose for his novel The Drums of Africa which was published in the fall of 2007. In 2010, Tim’s novel The Memoir of Jake Weedsong was The Finalist in the AWP novel competition, and in 2011 it was published by Serving House Books. Tim is the co-author of Mooring Against the Tide: Writing Fiction and Poetry (Prentice Hall, 2nd edition, 2006) and the co-editor of the anthology A Writer’s Country (Prentice Hall, 2001). Currently, he is the Chair of the Writing, Literature and Foreign Language Department at Columbia Gorge Community College in Hood River, Oregon.
Sometimes a book just comes along and knocks down the door and grabs your sleeve with its big story and you read breathlessly for a couple of days, miss work, hide your phone, honest to god, to find out what happened. Road to the Sea is one of those books; I am thrilled at its appearance. Seriously: thrilled. Tim Schell is a sure-footed, fine writer, and this is his best. Just a warning to my friends: a book is coming to your house.
—R Ron Carlson, author of Five Skies
Road to the Sea, Tim Schell’s latest novel, though set in the Dark Continent, is not a journey into the heart of darkness but into the human spirit to endure and rise. As does life, the book shows us that the best of intentions do not always lead to the desired results and Jack Burke’s good intentions and rash act triggers the run to the sea, an odyssey involving an improbable trio, Jack, an African prostitute, and a seventeen-year-old-daughter of an American missionary. Along the way Jack, Mari and Faith discover each other and themselves in unexpected ways, and always in the spirit of love—Jack the cynic finds an unexpected ability to love again, Faith learns the fullness of love for the first time, and Mari discovers that she can leave lost love and still carry forward in friendship. The journey is also an adventure into the land and social landscape of Africa and Schell’s descriptions of the land, the people and the weather transport the reader into that world masterfully. This book belongs on the shelf and in readers’ heads alongside Heart of Darkness, Out of Africa, and The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories.
–H. Lee Barnes, author of The Gambler’s Apprentice.