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Journey To Eden

John York

May 2021 9780999387061


Winner of the 2022 Florida Author and Publisher's Association President's Award for historical fiction!

The year is 1842.  At age fifteen, Shadow leaves his Dakota village near Fort Snelling to pursue a vision quest.  His outward appearance causes others in his village to suspect he is a presage of evil, but his mother believes he is a gift from the spirit world.  The young brave will become known as Shadow the Wolf Spirit.

At fourteen, Archibald Weed is already taller and stronger than any other fully grown man.  He is also an albino.  He confronts two slave catchers brutally whipping runaway slaves on the docks of Ellsworth, Maine, but it is Archie’s own family who must ultimately flee when slave catchers are sent to capture his mulatto father. 

At age fifteen, Anna is sold as a Fancy Girl at a New Orleans slave market, and taken to serve as a sex-slave on a paddle wheel steamer, the Mississippi Belle. The man who bought her, the Belle’s captain, Phineas Morgan, has a change of heart, but before he can do anything to improve her prospects, the Belle explodes and burns to the waterline.

At sixteen, George Blackhorse lives a sedentary life with his Indian mother in Cairo, Illinois.  His father is a black Indian, living and working in the northeast as a lawyer and abolitionist.  One night, while fishing on the river in his canoe, George witnesses a paddle wheel steamboat explode and burn. 

Five years later, in 1847, these four very different people meet and begin a journey on the wild upper Mississippi River to a place they call Eden.  They are seeking freedom, equality, and the opportunity to pursue their dreams.    And for Shadow, it is home, a home he and his people will soon lose.

They all have one thing in common.  They are all half-breeds.


The young woman was struggling to make her way down through the woods to the bottom of the bluffs. She was seventeen years old and in labor. Her name, Zi Zintkala, means Yellow Bird in English. The father of the child was a young Irish immigrant named James Mahoney, who was stationed at nearby Fort Snelling. Being fascinated with the indigenous people of the region, he had visited the Mdewakanton Dakota village several times, but Yellow Bird had not seen him for many months. He was an akicita, a white man’s warrior, so she knew she might never see him again.

The land of her people, the land white Americans were calling the Unorganized Territory, was becoming increasingly dangerous. Other native tribes from the north and east, people who were the Dakota’s traditional enemies, were being pushed out of their lands by the whites. Her people knew it was just a matter of time before the white man would pour across the Mississippi into their lands as well. Things were changing in her world; changes she knew would be difficult to endure in the future. But she could not dwell on those things now.


"What I like about John's books is that they may be fiction, but you can look up the places the story takes place in, they exist. Journey To Eden is no exception. Love the characters, the setting and the raw adventure the story brings to the reader. A great story about interracial struggles and those who look different, that dream of a better life and do something about it. I could not put the book down." Amazon Reader