ALABAMA EMPIRE by Welbourn Kelley


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With barely a nod to fiction (there is a deceptive foreword), this novel traces the larger than life career of a Dr. Fyfe in the young U.S.A. and is the first part of a prospective trilogy. It also traces his love for a part-Indian girl and his concern for her people, and his struggles against the evil Bowles. A complete blackguard, Bowles is responsible for the narrator's imprisonment as a debtor. This is just after Fyfe has become famous for a craniectomy performed on a child as well as surgery on the recently inaugurated George Washington. Released, he serves as personal physician to the Creek leader, and there is the threat of open hostilities between the Creeks and the citizens of Georgia. Fyfe serves well- to such a degree that when the leader dies, he almost replaces him. Dorcas also appears on the tribal scene- incredibly, she has a knowledge of classical languages and arrives as a tutor! But the main action concerns Fyfe's own true love, and the nefarious Bowles who is a constant agitator among the Creeks. Somehow, Fyfe ends this phase of his adventures fighting yellow fever in Philadelphia, and Dorcas succumbs to the plague... For all its territorial and narrative ramifications, it's a slow, uphill story- with only a few good moments.

Publisher: Rinehart