The Weight of Smoke
  • Author: Minkoff, George Robert
  • Binding: Clothbound DJ
  • Pages: 392
  • Size: 6x9"
  • Pub. Year: 2006
  • ISBN: 0-929701-80-1
  • In Stock: Yes
Price: $24.95
ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year FINALIST for Historical Fiction


Four hundred years after the founding of Jamestown, the lives of Captain John Smith, Powhatan, and Pocahantas assume their true dimensions in a far-ranging saga of the beginnings of the British Empire, and in particular how the English came to the New World to create a Utopia, and instead founded a slave state....

Presented as the final work of the famous explorer and author, Captain John Smith, The Weight of Smoke recounts the disastrous first eighteen months of the Jamestown Colony, 1607-1609; but entwined with the colony's fractious beginnings are the adventures of Sir Francis Drake, retold around the campfires by an old alchemist, Jonas Profit, who sailed the Spanish main with Queen Elizabeth's pirate. Drake is the abiding spirit as Smith is initiated into greatness. In Jamestown, Smith finds himself at the center of a desperate struggle for survival, a struggle that will involve him in the mysteries of this unknown land. Appropriately, these tales are told in a language rich with metaphorical power and flavored with Elizabethan authenticity.

"Written by antiquarian expert George Robert Minkoff, The Weight of Smoke is the first of a three-volume historical fiction epic, In the Land of Whispers, set four hundred years ago on the shores of what would one day become the state of Virginia. Young Captain John Smith carried dedication and drive at the colony of Jamestown, yet one disaster after another beset the colonists: intrigue, avarice, corruption, disease, starvation, and violent war with the indigenous peoples. A prophecy is spoken concerning Captain John Smith: that his acts in this untamed world will be remembered not in terms of immortal glory, but rather in degrees of desperation. And deep inside, he carries a yearning desire for Powhattan's favorite daughter, Pocahontas. The Weight of Smoke reads with the flourish of an odyssey, and the dark reality of grim history. Enthusiastically recommended."--Midwest Book Review

Read a sample chapter: Chapter Eleven (PDF)

Watch the Book Trailer on vimeo: In the Land of Whispers

Watch the Book Trailer on YouTube: In the Land of Whispers

"The Weight of Smoke is an excellent, vivid evocation of the beginnings of the Jamestown Colony. There was a continent to be grabbed -- the great American middle, between the French in Canada and Spain in the Caribbean -- but the grabbing was not easy. And, in a broader sense, it's a story of Europeans encountering full-face the might of the American wilderness and the peoples who inhabited it." -- Larry McMurtry

George Robert Minkoff was raised on Long Island. He graduated from Clark University in 1965. For four decades he has been a noted antiquarian and rare book dealer living in the Berkshires of Massachusetts and New York City. Mr. Minkoff began writing plays in the late 1960s, but a decade later the publisher of Putnam, William Targ, urged him instead to write novels.

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