An Outsider on Roanoke

Left in the Wind: A Novel of the Lost Colony: the Roanoke Journal of Emme Merrimoth, by Ed Gray, (Pegasus) 352 pages, release date 3 May, 2016

One might think that by now the tale of the lost colony of Roanoke had been done to death, but one would be wrong. Ed Gray’s Left in the Wind is a solid addition to the fictional explorations of this colony’s doomed history.

In this version of the story the expedition’s leader, Governor John White, realizing the project is failing, abandons the colonists and sails to England, claiming he is going to secure additional supplies. Meanwhile, the colonists face Indian tribes of varying levels of hostility—and often exacerbate the hostility through their own arrogance.

Emme Merrimoth records these events in her journal. Once White’s lover, she later was both accused of witchcraft and enslaved by one of the local tribes. As a single woman she is much freer than other women of the colony, but also more suspect. As the colony’s failure grows more certain, Emme allows us a viewpoint that is both grounded within the community, but also placed outside of it. She is both participant and observer at the same time, pursuing many of the same questions that readers will find rising in their own minds.

If you’re a fan of historical fiction. Left in the Wind will provide an enjoyable, thought-provoking read.

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