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What’s this book about?
Sixteen-year-old John Proud discovers his family’s dark secret—in 1854 an ancestral namesake confessed to being a demon. Now John finds himself battling his ancestor who is trying to use John for an evil purpose. Mounting suspense and the sure draw of occult horror will keep readers turning the pages.
Story Behind the Story
There was a time I did a lot of backpacking. I often hiked along the Appalachian Trail, which went through a part of Pennsylvania called St. Anthony’s Wilderness. Considering St. Anthony is the patron of lost things, it was well named. The area had once been a place where towns, farms, and mines existed. When I hiked there all this was long gone—save for bits and pieces of homes, farms, roads—and a cemetery. It was strange to hike through the forest with all those ghostly remains peeping through the trees. In that cemetery—an old one—there was a gravestone for someone named John Proud. All of these things came together in Devil’s Race. I must say, I never did like the title. It was chosen by my editor—and in those days I didn’t have much say. I would have used St. Anthony’s Wilderness, but that was lost. When the book was published, my backpacking friends and I hiked back to St. Anthony’s Wilderness. That night we sat around John Proud’s gravestone and toasted him and the book.
Awards and Recognition
- ALA Best Books Hi-Lo, 1984
- Library of Congress Children’s Books