River of Dust: A Novel

River of Dust: A Novel

by Virginia Pye

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Overview

On the windswept plains of northwestern China, Mongol bandits swoop down upon an American missionary couple and steal their small child. The Reverend sets out in search of the boy and becomes lost in the rugged, corrupt countryside populated by opium dens, sly nomadic warlords and traveling circuses. This upright Midwestern minister develops a following among the Chinese peasants and is christened Ghost Man for what they perceive are his otherworldly powers. Grace, his young ingénue wife, pregnant with their second child, takes to her sick bed in the mission compound, where visions of her stolen child and lost husband begin to beckon to her from across the plains. The foreign couple’s savvy and dedicated Chinese servants, Ahcho and Mai Lin, accompany and eventually lead them through dangerous territory to find one another again. With their Christian beliefs sorely tested, their concept of fate expanded, and their physical health rapidly deteriorating, the Reverend and Grace may finally discover an understanding between them that is greater than the vast distance they have come.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781609530938
Publisher: Unbridled Books
Publication date: 05/14/2013
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Virginia Pye holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and has taught writing at the University of Pennsylvania and New York University. A three-term president of James River Writers, a literary non-profit in Richmond, Virginia, she writes award-winning short stories that have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including The North American Review, Tampa Review and The Baltimore Review.

Read an Excerpt

The Reverend loomed over the barren plain. He stared at the blank horizon as if in search of something, although to Grace’s eyes, nothing of significance was out there. Sunset burned his silhouette into a vast and gaudy sky. Standing tall in his long coat on the porch above his wife and son, he appeared to be a giant—grand and otherworldly. Perhaps this was how the Chinese saw him, she thought.

Her husband spread his arms toward the blazing clouds and shadowed flatlands as if to say that all this was now in the Lord’s embrace.

The breeze shifted, and billows of smoke circled their way. Grace watched the Reverend’s outline waft and shimmer. She would not have been surprised if his body had gone up in flames right there before her eyes, ignited in a holy conflagration with only a pile of ash left behind to mark his time on this earth. Grace shook the strange notion from her mind, although she wondered how so good a man could appear so sinister in such glorious light.

As he started down the porch steps, Grace roused their sleeping child from beside her on the seat of the buckboard. “We’re here,” she whispered. “Our sweet vacation home.”

The boy opened his pale blue eyes and blinked. How would it appear to someone so young? Grace wondered. Desolate or full of potential—she could not know. The Reverend lifted the boy from her arms and swung him high on his shoulders, Wesley’s favorite perch. He rubbed his cheeks and surveyed the endless plain.

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