About the story …

Puck Magazine -April 6, 1901

With the return of Nolan and Josh in Chapter 38, our story will now begin to move forward like two trains traveling along parallel tracks. Are we headed toward a train wreck that leaves only sadness and perhaps a measure of wisdom in its wake or toward a common station where the passengers from the two different trains come together for the last leg of a shared journey? Or will the trains simply pass in the night on separate tracks that never meet?

All of this remains to be seen, of course, but hopefully the journey you take as a reader will be an exciting one. How many times in life do you get a chance to travel on two trains with such interesting characters?

As a practical matter, the way all of this will work is as follows. First, the two closely related stories being told will be narrated by two of our characters, Nolan and Andy. Typically, I will spend two or three chapters at a time letting one train move forward and then switch back to the other and move it forward as well.

As a result, the potential for confusion will be higher. As a reader, you will have to hold the two separate but closely related stories in your hands and try to keep track of both. I’ll do my best to assist you in various ways. When one train comes to a halt, for example, I may suggest that you go back and refresh your memory about some previous chapter where the other train had come to a temporary halt; and I’ll try to provide links back to whatever you may need to review or think about.

Even if you do not wish to review the entire chapter, you may want to look at the summaries I provide. I’ve spent a good amount of time writing up these summaries and I think you may find them more and more useful now as the story moves forward on two separate tracks. I am quite confident you are up to this as readers; and while there is potential for confusion, it’s important to proceed in this fashion if the stories of our four main characters are ever to be connected.

The backdrop for both stories is the political tale I began spinning earlier, that is, the fight that is about to take place over the McPherson amendment. But we’ll learn more about our characters along the way and about the kind of people they are.

I would like to think the McPherson amendment is important in itself, especially at this moment in time as the drums of war have begun to beat ever more loudly again in Washington. But the fight over the amendment is equally important for what it will tell us about our characters and about how human beings react when forced to make choices.

We are now into the final stretch of the story. There are still many chapters to come. But hopefully lights will begin to go off as we move forward and you begin to see how all of the dots connect.


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