Posts Tagged ‘Mowachahts’

Morcan Books & Films

One book reviewer described our historical adventure INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story)  as being “like a motion picture in words.” Understandable given it’s set in the Pacific Northwest, which must surely be one of the most picturesque places on earth. 

Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island…where this true-life story is set.

 

Into the Americasis a tale of two vastly different cultures – indigenous North American and European civilization – colliding head on. It is also a Romeo and Juliet story set in the wilderness.

The storyline:

It’s 1802. Nineteen year-old English blacksmith John Jewitt is one of only two survivors after his crewmates clash with the fierce Mowachaht tribe in the Pacific Northwest.

John Jewitt…years later.

A life of slavery awaits John and his fellow survivor, a belligerent American sailmaker, in a village ruled by the iron fist of Maquina, the all-powerful chief…

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For some reason, the people of the Pacific Northwest considered rotten fish – salmon in particular – a delicacy, much preferring it to fresh fish. As a result, the odor of putrid fish filled the lodges at Nootka village, including the slaves’ quarters as it did on this occasion.

Toothie wandered over to the white slaves, holding two calabashes of food he’d prepared over the cooking fire. John Jewitt and Thompson accepted the offerings gratefully.

A quick inspection showed it consisted of fish grilled in seal oil. It looked appetizing enough, but the whites guessed the fish Toothie had used came from the small stockpile of putrid salmon the slaves kept in the lodge when supplies permitted.

So hungry were John and Thompson they crammed hand-fulls of the fish into their mouths as soon as it had cooled sufficiently.

It took all their self-control not to gag as they digested the putrid salmon, but they managed to keep it down. If nothing else, they found it was filling and would help them survive another day at least. They weren’t to know it was also very nutritious, and would sustain them until their next meal.

You have been reading an excerpt from INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story) – available via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Into-Americas-novel-based-story-ebook/dp/B00YJKM51E/

Into the Americas (A novel based on a true story) by [Morcan, Lance, Morcan, James]

Nineteen year-old blacksmith John Jewitt is one of only two survivors after his crewmates clash with the fierce Mowachaht tribe in the Pacific Northwest. A life of slavery awaits John and his fellow survivor, a belligerent American sailmaker, in a village ruled by the iron fist of Maquinna, the all-powerful chief. Desperate to taste freedom again, they make several doomed escape attempts over mountains and sea. Only their value to the tribe and John’s relationship with Maquinna prevents their captors from killing them.

 

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Sterling Gate Books has launched The Adventures of John Jewitt, the 19th Century public domain book that was the inspiration for Lance and James Morcan’s bestselling historical adventure novel Into the Americas.

 

THE ADVENTURES OF JOHN JEWITT: The true story that inspired Into the Americas (Illustrated) by [Jewitt, John Rodgers]

A book by Jewitt, about Jewitt.

 

Written by Jewitt himself, his story is a tale of two vastly different cultures – indigenous North American and European civilization – colliding head on; his adventures in the Pacific Northwest must surely rank as one of history’s greatest wilderness survival stories.

Sketch - Young John Jewitt

A young John Jewitt… Note the  forehead scar left by a Mowachaht warrior’s tomahawk. 

When the nineteen-year-old blacksmith boarded the brigantine The Boston in his home port of Hull, England, in 1802, he couldn’t have envisaged what awaited him upon arrival in Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, off the west coast of the country now known as Canada. Jewitt was one of only two survivors when fierce Mowachaht warriors slaughtered twenty-five crew members aboard the brig. He and his fellow survivor had to endure more than two years as slaves of the First Nations people of Nootka.

Sketch - The Boston arrives at Nootka

The Boston arrives at Nootka Sound.

According to Jewitt’s diary entries, the Mowachahts’ slaughter of his crewmates was quite premeditated. Unfortunately, his description of the events leading up to the massacre doesn’t tell the full story, which is that the Mowachahts – like most or all the tribes of the Pacific Northwest – had put up with many, many years of abuse by successive Spanish, English and American traders. History shows that the abuse ranged from unfair trades to the frequent rape of indigenous women and all too often to murder.

There’s no denying the Mowachahts were savage. Jewitt himself writes of their savagery. However, he also refers to the kindness and generosity of his captors and their love of family, and we note the examples he gives far outweigh references to their savagery.

Thanks to Jewitt’s fondness for the written word and his diligence in maintaining his diary entries throughout his captivity, we have been left with an intriguing insight into his life, and into the lives of First Nations people. His account is made all the more extraordinary by virtue of the fact that such interaction between whites and the tribes of the Pacific Northwest was virtually unheard of and certainly never before (and seldom since) written about in such detail.

In his self-effacing way, a modest Jewitt explains how his work ethic, his friendly nature and his willingness to accept the native peoples as his equal endeared him to many of his captors. He even married a local maiden who bore him a son – though he makes little mention of this in his writings other than admitting his wife was very pleasing on the eye. (Georgian era attitudes perhaps dissuaded him from revealing more).

Such was his eye for detail, John Jewitt leaves the reader with a clear understanding of the Mowachahts’ customs, language, daily work habits, hygiene, trading, hunting, whaling and fishing techniques, diet and food preparation, potlatches, housing (they lived in lodges left by Spanish visitors), tree-felling and canoe-making, toolmaking and weapons, worship, feuds and settlement of intertribal disputes. How Jewitt eventually engineered his freedom makes for entertaining reading.

Sketch - Mowachaht war canoe

Mowachaht warriors paddle to war.

All this, and more, will become evident as you read The Adventures of John Jewitt (The true story that inspired Into the Americas). The book also has 10 original illustrations.

 

The Adventures of John Jewitt: The true story that inspired Into the Americas (Illustrated) is available now via Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C36WL37

 

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The historical adventure Into the Americas (A novel based on a true story), by New Zealand father-and-son writing team Lance & James Morcan, has been launched as a paperback – a natural progression from the Kindle ebook version, which is proving a popular title in Amazon’s Native American and Historical Fiction categories.

 

IntoTheAmericas ebook cover

Into the Americas paperback is available via Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Into-Americas-novel-based-story/dp/0473361280

 

In Into the Americas, nineteen year-old blacksmith John Jewitt is one of only two survivors after his crewmates clash with the fierce Mowachaht tribe in the Pacific Northwest. A life of slavery awaits John and his fellow survivor, a belligerent American sailmaker, in a village ruled by the iron fist of Maquina, the all-powerful chief. Desperate to taste freedom again, they make several doomed escape attempts over mountains and sea. Only their value to the tribe and John’s relationship with Maquina prevents their captors from killing them.

As the seasons pass, John ‘goes Indian’ after falling in love with Eu-stochee, a beautiful maiden. This further alienates him from his fellow captive whose defiance leads to violent consequences. In the bloodshed that follows, John discovers another side to himself – a side he never knew existed and a side he detests. His desire to be reunited with the family and friends he left behind returns even stronger than before.

The stakes rise when John learns Eu-stochee is pregnant. When a final opportunity to escape arises, he must choose between returning to civilization or staying with Eu-stochee and their newborn son.

 

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INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story)  has entered Amazon’s bestseller lists in three categories this week – namely Action & Adventure (two) and Historical Fiction (one).

Book reviewers are resonating with the novel, giving it a 4.7 (out of 5 stars) rating on Amazon.

 

Examples of what reviewers are saying follow:

★★★★★ “I absolutely loved this book.”

★★★★    “Really good informative historical fiction”

★★★★★ “A fantastic story. One of the best historical novels i’ve read.”

★★★★★ “I thought it was something special.”

★★★★     “Before anyone visits Vancouver they should read this book!”

★★★★★  “Loved this book Very thought provoking.”

★★★★★  “Want a great historical fiction read? Here it is!”

★★★★★  “Must Read for Fans of this Genre.”

★★★★★  “Five Stars. A real page-turner.”

★★★★★  “I could not put the book down.”

★★★★★  “Of all the Morcan novels, this is by far my favourite.”

 

Into the Americas (A novel based on a true story)

A gritty, real-life adventure based on one of history’s greatest survival stories. It was inspired by the diary entries of young English blacksmith John Jewitt during his time aboard the brigantine The Boston and also during his sojourn at Nootka Sound, on North America’s western seaboard, from 1802 to 1805. 

 

INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story)  is available exclusively via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Into-Americas-novel-based-story-ebook/dp/B00YJKM51E/

 

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Historical Novel Review

Mirella Patzer, of Great Historical Fiction Book Reviews, has this to say about our historical adventure INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story):

I have been an avid follower of all books by these authors, thoroughly loving each book. This book was no exception. There is a beautiful cadence to the story, flowing at a perfect pace while striking an easy balance between detail and plot.

The characters, especially the protagonist and his cohort, are fascinating in every aspect. They are deeply complex with differing motivations as they struggle to survive as slaves of the native people. Of course there is a bit of a romance, although that is a small contribution to the plot. 

What I enjoyed most is that it is based on the true story of John Jewitt, the son of an English blacksmith who sailed on The Boston and was captured by the Indians and later escaped. Of all the Morcan novels, this is by far my favourite. It is understandable why this was chosen to be made into film! An awesome tale! 
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To read the full review go to Great Historical Fiction Book Reviews:  http://historicalnovelreview.blogspot.co.nz/2015/11/into-americas-by-lance-and-james-morcan.html
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IntoTheAmericas ebook cover
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Into the Americas  is available exclusively via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Into-Americas-novel-based-story-ebook/dp/B00YJKM51E/
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In the following excerpt from our historical adventure INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story)  young English seaman John Jewitt and American sailmaker Jonathan Thompson are pursued by Mowachaht savages as they cross Vancouver Island’s snow-covered mountain ranges in their attempt to reach the Strait of Georgia.

Anxious to catch sight of the escapees before nightfall, Maquina was keen to resume the chase. To his eyes, it was obvious their quarry had descended to the stream at the foot of the hill and then waded upstream, or possibly downstream, so as to leave no tracks. However, Katlahtik suspected otherwise. The tracker motioned to Maquina to study the false tracks more closely.

Mowachaht chief Maquina

Joining Katlahtik, the chief immediately saw what his tracker had noticed: on close inspection it was evident the borders of some of the tracks overlapped, signaling that whoever had made the tracks had stepped into the same tracks again.

Maquina smiled to himself. “The White-Faces have learnt much from us,” he said, looking eastward, “yet they still have much to learn.”

The chief set off after the escapees, his warriors in tow. They moved quickly now.

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John and Thompson fought their way through dense undergrowth as they entered the timberline of the mountain range they’d just crossed. Aware they’d soon run out of daylight, they made haste, anxious to find a place to overnight before darkness finally descended.

Englishman John Jewitt…in later life.

The escapees were unaware they’d entered the territory of the Ehattesaht tribe, a warlike people whose violent history of interaction with whites would not have brought the pair any joy had they been aware of it. Right now, the Ehattesahts were the least of their problems. Hungry and exhausted, they were resigned to spending at least one more night in the mountains before they reached their destination.

“We gotta find shelter,” Thompson gasped, stating the obvious.

John nodded. He was very aware of the dangers a night in the open presented. Even though they’d reached the shelter of trees, there was still snow underfoot and the temperature was close to freezing. Unless they kept moving, he doubted they’d survive a night in the open.

They descended via a forest trail carved out by generations of elk and other animals of the region. Steep in places, it caused them to slip and slide their way down the mountainside.

Thompson tripped and John hurried to help him to his feet. When they looked up, a cougar appeared on the trail barely thirty yards ahead of them.

“Holy shit!” Thompson muttered.

The escapees froze. So, too did the cougar. She stood looking at the pair through huge eyes that seemed to glow almost orange in the semi-dark of the forest.

John’s first thought was for the musket he’d lost in the ravine. Next to him, Thompson was already unshouldering his musket.

“Easy!” John whispered, anxious that his companion made no sudden movement that could prompt the cougar to attack.

Thompson didn’t need any such warning. He moved so slowly it took him an age to unshoulder his musket. As he did, the cougar bared her fangs and growled. It was a long, low growl that was barely audible, but it sent shivers through the pair. Both were convinced the feline was viewing them as dinner.

Still the cougar made no move. Which was just as well as Thompson had yet to prime his musket. A task he could normally perform in a few seconds took him another age – by which time both he and John were sweating profusely despite the cold.

Anxious not to spook the cougar, John resisted the temptation to ask Thompson whether he was loading a musket ball or shot into the musket. He prayed it was the latter as firing pellets required less accuracy than did firing a solitary musket ball.

The cougar suddenly emitted a bone-chilling scream and pounced, her charge so quick Thompson barely had time to raise his musket and pull the trigger.

Strait of Georgia…the escapees’ intended destination.

Thompson’s aim was true, and the musket ball he’d just loaded struck the cougar between the eyes, killing her instantly. She hit the ground hard just ten yards from them, rolling over and over until she stopped almost at their feet.

“Great shot!” John rejoiced, the relief evident in his voice.

Thompson was momentarily speechless. He looked down at his hands and saw they were trembling violently. Then he started laughing.

John joined in the laughter. Their delight was unrestrained. Neither thought it odd. It seemed a natural way of expressing their huge relief, and neither gave any thought to the possibility others may have heard the shot.

Finally, Thompson said, “Well, fuck me! I thought we were gonners.”

As their laughter subsided, John said, “At least we have meat on tonight’s menu.”

Thompson looked down at the cougar and smiled as he pictured himself tucking into a meal of barbecued cougar rump.

 

You have been reading an excerpt from Into the Americas — available exclusively via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Into-Americas-novel-based-story-ebook/dp/B00YJKM51E/

IntoTheAmericas ebook cover

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