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Promised Valley Peace
Author: Ron Fritsch
Promised Valley Peace is the fourth and last novel in Ron Fritsch’s allegorical Promised Valley series. The conspirators and their allies from the first three novels give up on the gods, whose existence many of them doubt, and discover how to use horses in warfare. They prepare to employ them in a last battle to bring the prehistoric enemy hunters and farmers together as one people in a “new kingdom” and end warfare between them forever.
Individuals who partner with persons of the same gender are once again in the front lines, risking their lives for their peoples.
The first three novels—Promised Valley Rebellion, Promised Valley War, and Promised Valley Conspiracy—have won a number of awards.
Reviewers have included these comments about the series.
Reader Views: “It’s the story’s prehistoric setting that provides the basis for the intellectual question which binds the Promised Valley books together: ‘Could civilization and history, with their countless heaven-sanctioned wars and genocides, have begun differently?’ With that as his touchstone, Fritsch thoughtfully and compassionately offers answers through the story and its characters. While it’s an adventurous tale on its surface, it’s not what it seems to be; it’s much more. For me it was a book of revelations. For anyone who has never lost their child’s heart and imagination, Promised Valley War will compel them to consider all that the book has to say to them. That’s what unforgettable books do.”
Kirkus: “The author’s well-rendered descriptions of the creeping onslaught of war give the reader a visceral feel for the endangered paradise that can occur despite the best intentions of the best people, and readers will be surprised by the twists he gives his tale. Alongside the careful plotting and natural-sounding dialogue, there's a refreshing amount of deeper resonances in the Promised Valley series, a steady undercurrent of commentary on the present day.”
Feathered Quill: “An imaginative and well-crafted piece of fiction, featuring plenty of action and unexpected twists and turns. The suspenseful battles, sweeping scenery, and interpersonal drama would undoubtedly be a satisfying mix on the big screen. Are you listening, Hollywood?”
“Your people have let me know,” Blue Sky said, “they’re pleased with their new first teller. Now our sister has informed me you’re going to give them something else to cheer about.”
Wandering Star laughed. “It’s too bad we can’t reveal who made the people’s joy come true.”
Wandering Star became the hill people’s first teller two days after Blue Sky, the enemy hostage and farmer who was his lover, murdered the preceding first teller, Heaven’s Voice.
Blue Sky had acted secretly on behalf of what became known as Rose Leaf’s conspiracy. Rose Leaf, the hill people’s princess, was Wandering Star’s half-sister. Lightning Spear, the hill people’s king, was their father.
But because Dancing Song, who gave birth to Wandering Star, wasn’t the king’s wife and their people’s queen, her son could never be a legitimate prince.
Rose Leaf had grown to adulthood among the farmers in their promised valley. She and Blue Sky believed they were sister and brother and would’ve laughed at anybody even hinting she was their enemy’s princess.
Nor did they know Blue Sky’s father, Green Field, and Tall Oak, then the prince who was first in line to the valley people’s kingship, had abducted her in her infancy. They did it when they escaped from captivity in the previous war with the hill people. Seeking revenge on her father, Lightning Spear, for what he’d done to them, they intended to kill her.
But when they realized they couldn’t end the life of an innocent child, even a hill child, they and their wives thereafter did everything they could to keep Rose Leaf’s identity a secret.
They feared their people, discovering who she was, would instantly, and legally, kill her.
Tall Oak became the king of the valley people when his father died in battle in that war.
Morning Sun, Tall Oak’s only surviving child, grew up as Rose Leaf and Blue Sky’s best friend. And when the prince came of age, he decided to ask Rose Leaf to give birth to their children and live with him for the rest of their lives.
The intensity of his desire to be her mate didn’t diminish even after he learned she was the hill people’s princess.
The farmers in the villages, having fallen in love with both of them for taking their side against Tall Oak’s corrupt officials in the valley people’s town, overwhelmingly agreed to the marriage.
Blue Sky suspected Rose Leaf’s and Morning Sun’s innocent physical beauty hadn’t hurt their cause.
Before the mating ceremony could take place, though, a hill man called Long Arm, commanding his brothers and cousins, cleverly abducted Rose Leaf and Morning Sun and took them to the hills, where Lightning Spear reigned.
The hill people decided Long Arm was a hero greater than any they’d heard about in their stories.
Lightning Spear named him his chief warrior and placed Rose Leaf and Morning Sun in his custody. The king’s purpose was to prevent their escape and return to the valley.
Long Arm and his family, though, quickly sympathized with their captives. It was obvious to them their princess and the farmers’ prince were hopelessly in love.
Rose Leaf and Morning Sun, in return, not wishing to cause any trouble for their kind and generous captors, made no attempt to escape.
But their abduction—Rose Leaf’s second—began the most recent war between the hill people and the valley people. In the first battle of that war, on the hill people’s plain, the valley people lost almost all their able-bodied men, including their king, Tall Oak.
The hill people gave up many more warriors than the valley people did that cloudless late-summer day. But when the battle ended, Lightning Spear still had what the valley people no longer possessed—an army.
The valley people, under the charge of Green Field, their reluctant regent, could only surrender their lower valley without a fight and retreat to their smaller but more defensible upper valley. There they held off Lightning Spear’s army, slaughtering a grievous number of his warriors without losing a single warrior or auxiliary of their own.
The valley people’s warriors were mostly the men who’d come of age that autumn.
Their auxiliaries were the women, children, and older men who chose to assist the warriors. They had more to do with winning their people’s defensive battles than the warriors did.
The auxiliaries rolled rocks, tree parts, and even whole trees down from the cliff-top above the upper gorge and over the ridge at sunset pass, maiming and trapping a significant number of hill warriors.
The valley warriors, swinging their spears, following the instructions Blue Sky yelled at them, only had to suffer through slashing the throats of hill warriors whose eyes begged them for mercy.
Lightning Spear offered a truce: the farmers could stay in the upper valley in exchange for a hostage—their regent Green Field’s son, Blue Sky.
The original conspirators—Rose Leaf, Morning Sun, Long Arm, and Wandering Star—were behind that proposal. And Blue Sky eagerly consented to it.
Additionally, in order to keep the peace, for the time being at least, Morning Sun had agreed to die in the execution Lightning Spear ordered only because Morning Sun was the valley people’s prince.
Before he died, though—in Blue Sky’s arms—Morning Sun fatally injured the hill people’s appointed executioner, Dark Storm, the older son of Thunder Hunter, the brutal chieftain of the hill people’s second-most-powerful tribe.
Morning Sun also killed Thunder Hunter and injured his younger son, War Cloud. Although he was as cruel as his father, War Cloud had fought bravely in the battles with the farmers.
True Hunter—the third hill warrior to attempt the execution, after his cousins Dark Storm and War Cloud had failed—finally carried out Lightning Spear’s pointless order to kill his farmer prisoner and his daughter’s lover.
Morning Sun’s death unquestionably left Rose Leaf the highest-ranking person in the leadership of the conspiracy, which now consisted of herself, Long Arm, Wandering Star, and Blue Sky.
The latter two conspirators had brought down upon their peoples immense suffering. The “brothers” did it in a dark mountain gully with what both of their peoples later called a “kiss of treason.”
Having admitted their giving in to selfish desires had resulted in horror well beyond what their peoples had seen before, they readily promised Rose Leaf they’d only do what she ordered them to do to further her and their cause.
One of the leaders of the conspiracy had to make a final decision on every significant issue that came before them.
Blue Sky and Wandering Star were only too happy their sister was the one to do it.
As was Long Arm, who had good reason to blame himself for starting a senseless war only the gods of death, destruction, and sorrow could’ve welcomed.
prehistoric fiction, historical fiction - LGBTQ fiction
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I grew up in rural northern Illinois. My father and mother were hard-working tenant farmers who loved to read. So did my siblings (one older sister, one older brother, one younger sister) and I.
I obtained a bachelor's degree with honors from the University of Illinois (major: history; minor: English literature) and a law degree cum laude from Harvard Law School.
I became a public-service attorney representing indigent and disabled adults and abused and neglected children. All during my life as a lawyer, I spent most of my time writing arguments on behalf of my clients, in the trial courts as well as the higher appeals courts.
For many years now, I've lived in Chicago with my partner who has picked me up when I've fallen, and driven me home again, possibly as many times as I have him.
I'm writing and publishing a four-book series of novels asking whether history and civilization might've begun and proceeded differently than they did.
Promised Valley Rebellion is the first novel in the series, and Promised Valley War is the second. The titles of the two following novels will be Promised Valley Conspiracy and Promised Valley Peace.
Author's Book List
Promised Valley Conspiracy
Promised Valley Conspiracy is the third novel in Ron Fritsch’s four-book prehistoric Promised Valley series. Fritsch continues to ask if history and civilization, which prehistory gave birth to, could’ve begun differently. US Review of Books: “There is a traditional, epic tone to the book that is reminiscent of Homer’s Iliad or Odyssey. It is a story whose firm, relentless action is the narrative drive of this novel. It fascinates with pages filled with excitement and drama. Fritsch’s world is one filled with wondrous surprises, where there are no damaging thoughts among the people toward same-sex unions. It’s refreshing to see the disappearance of negative cultural trappings found in today’s world.”
Kirkus: Promised Valley Conspiracy “explores the ongoing conflict between the valley people, who are prosperous farmers occupying all the richest Promised Valley lands, and the hill people, who inhabit the sparser uplands and live bitterly, believing that their gods promised the valley and its comforts to them. Since the valley people have a similar belief about themselves, a state of dangerous friction exists between the two groups. Savage warfare and desperate diplomacy marked the well-orchestrated events of the first two books, and tensions continue to boil to the surface in this volume.
These books continue to be an intelligent and involving look at the personal sacrifices of making war and keeping peace.” Reader Views: “The author’s creativity in writing a series such as this is to be admired. I noticed as the two different peoples learned to see similarities amongst their differences, it is the same in our world today. Lack of understanding of the beliefs of others creates a disconnection and fear among people. Learning to understand and respect the differences makes for a better world whether it is prehistoric or current. There are many valuable lessons to be learned in this story.” Feathered Quill: “I highly recommend the captivating and interesting Promised Valley series. Quill says: A thought-provoking tale of intrigue and ‘what ifs’ had life played out in Promised Valley fashion.”
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Promised Valley War
In Promised Valley War, the individuals among two prehistoric peoples most curious about their “eternal” enemies, and most willing to treat them as their equals, nevertheless set the stage for what they’ve feared more than anything else: another horrifying war. Promised Valley War is the second in Ron Fritsch’s Promised Valley four-novel series, in which prehistoric farmers inhabit a fertile river valley they believe their gods promised them in return for their good behavior and obedience. Their enemies, hunters roaming the mostly barren hills beyond the mountains enclosing the valley, believe their gods gave it to them.
In the first book in the series, Promised Valley Rebellion, the farmers’ king refused to allow the marriage of the coming-of-age prince to the daughter of the farmer who’d saved the king’s life in the last war with the hunters. The daughter’s outspoken brother decided he had to help his sister and the prince, his boyhood friend, correct the flagrant injustice. That decision led them and their youthful allies into a rebellion against the king and his officials who ruled the kingdom from their bluff-top town. The far more numerous farmers in the villages below, who despised the highest officials but not the king, and who admired the prince, were in a position to determine whether the rebels would succeed or face execution for treason.
Kirkus said this about Promised Valley Rebellion: "Fritsch's debut novel . . . encourages the reader to ponder the universal elements of the tale. . . . Fritsch . . . grant[s] his characters an easy, unforced humanity that is instantly inviting. His people . . . sound like individuals, and . . . make the story memorable. A strange, primitive world that feels winningly real." Kirkus said this about Promised Valley War: "War erupts in a peaceful prehistoric valley. Tensions were already brewing in Fritsch's Promised Valley Rebellion (2010), in which a group of young people living in the relatively benign and loosely organized prehistoric community of Promised Valley rebelled against their king and his council in reaction to a seemingly arbitrary, tyrannical ruling the king had made. That rebellion revolved around the hidden past of Rose Leaf, the beautiful young daughter of war-hero farmer Green Field, and it led to war with the hill people whose marauding ways are a constant threat to the inhabitants of Promised Valley.
In Fritsch's latest novel (which is given depth by a reading of the first book but can be enjoyed as a stand-alone book), despite the best efforts of that same group of young people, war between the valley people and the hill people has erupted again. The author’s well-rendered descriptions of the creeping onslaught of war and winter give the reader a visceral feel for the endangered paradise that can occur despite the best intentions of the best people, and readers will be surprised by the twists he gives his tale. Alongside the careful plotting and natural-sounding dialogue, there's a refreshing amount of deeper resonances in the Promised Valley series, a steady undercurrent of commentary of the present day. The treatment of the young hero Blue Sky's attraction to other men, for instance, is straightforward but nonconfrontational, and characters at several points grapple with their society's primitive theology. “Could gods who were good-hearted … allow humans to go to war with one another?” the narrative at one point asks. '[I]f they, like humans, had no choice in the matter, why did humans call them gods?' The novel will leave readers eager to find out what happens next in Promised Valley. Luckily, Fritsch has plans to add two more volumes to the series. A captivating novel that will transport readers back to prehistory times—while reminding them of their own."
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Promised Valley Rebellion
Prehistoric farmers inhabit a fertile river valley they believe their gods promised them in return for their good behavior and obedience. Their enemies, hunters roaming the mostly barren hills beyond the mountains enclosing the valley, believe their gods gave it to them. When the farmers’ king refuses to allow the marriage of the coming-of-age prince to the daughter of the farmer who saved the king’s life in the last war with the hunters, her brother decides he has to help his sister and the prince, his boyhood friend, correct the flagrant injustice. That decision leads them and their youthful allies into a rebellion against the king and his officials, who rule the kingdom from their bluff-top town. The far more numerous farmers in the villages below, who despise most of the officials but not the king, and who admire the prince, are in a position to determine whether the rebels will succeed or face execution for treason. As the story unfolds, the world in which it takes place reveals itself more …
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