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Devil’s Race

Devil's Race

Lip­pin­cott, 1984

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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.

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Awards and Recognition

  • ALA Best Books Hi-Lo, 1984
  • Library of Con­gress Children’s Books
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