New Historical Fiction by Richard Kigel

About the Book:

NORTH ON THE WIND tells the improbable story of history’s first flight. According to Josiah Brantley, born a slave in Virginia, it wasn’t the Wright Brothers who did it.

In his handwritten narrative Josiah reveals that he was twelve in 1858 when he and two slave children mounted the flier and pushed off a mountaintop. Suddenly the children found themselves riding on air, defying death, gravity, cruel overseers and vicious dogs. They sailed over fields, roads, rivers and towns until finally crashing into a tree in the free state of Pennsylvania.

Josiah informs us that the makeshift flying machine was built by a slave named Mose, the plantation mechanic. Sneaking out of the slave quarters at night to his secret workshop in the woods, it took Mose twelve years to create his crude ingenious flier. But it worked, enabling Josiah Brantley and his two young friends to become the first humans to fly.

The story weaves together two narratives a hundred and fifty years apart. It begins in today’s world of computers and space travel when a young reporter interviews the sixth African-American woman to fly in space. When our fictional astronaut reveals that one of her relatives escaped from slavery on history’s first flying machine the intrigued reporter begins her quest to corroborate her claim. The search for Josiah Brantley’s lost manuscript is on.

NORTH ON THE WIND is pure historical fiction. Imaginary characters from invented places face life-altering situations that never really happened. But the novel also offers a profound view of legitimate history because the fictional characters experience incidents and circumstances that actually occurred.

In the finest tradition of historical fiction NORTH ON THE WIND presents the lived experiences of those who were enslaved embedded in the voice of our fictional narrator. Much of the narrative and dialogue describing day-to-day life in slavery was taken from actual interviews with men and women who lived and worked as slaves in America.
These experiences, described in vivid and harrowing detail, sound convincing and all-too real because they come from the words of ex-slaves themselves.

The research for NORTH ON THE WIND is thorough and impeccable, using such primary sources such as The Federal Writer’s Project Slave Narrative Collection, and previously published slave narratives, including those by Frederick Douglass and Solomon Northup among others. Such strict adherence to authenticity and academic rigor will surely be noted by scholars, historians and critics and assure readers that the narratives they are reading offer a true window into the real horrors of slavery.

The real main character of the novel is Black History itself.

Blending fiction and history, science and fantasy, NORTH ON THE WIND offers a genre-bending adventure through the darkest corners of our American past. It is an inspiring tale of accomplishment against all odds, a celebration of ingenuity, perseverance and courage, a triumph of the human spirit.