Broken Branch (Novella)

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Penguin, May 7, 2013 - Fiction - 126 pages
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Broken Branch, Alabama, serves as a refuge for the God-fearing, a shelter from the evils of the outside world. But who will protect them from the evil within?

Trudy first met Otto and James after World War I, two traveling ministers, preaching the good word to anyone who’d take the time to listen. Together, they founded Broken Branch, a hideaway in Alabama where the faithful would be able to isolate themselves from the impurity of the rest of the world and live blessed lives in the eyes of God.

But then the storms came, tearing apart their small compound, God’s punishment for hidden wickedness in their hearts. And when an old man wanders into Broken Branch, ranting about a secret hideaway and uncovers an old storm cellar that’s been hidden for years, Trudy begins to wonder what other secrets lie under the surface of their safe haven…

Includes a preview of The Year of the Storm

Praise for Broken Branch

"The community of Broken Branch in John Mantooth's fine novella enacts the familiar American quest to found a religiously-pure settlement whose members might escape the evils and ills of the larger world—in this case, Depression-era America. A descendant of Hawthorne's Blithedale Farm, not to mention Puritan Plymouth, its inhabitants come the same discovery as their forebearers, namely, that they themselves contain more than sufficient darkness to undo their enterprise.  Through a tight focus on the woman whose largesse has made Broken Branch possible, Mantooth portrays the movement from willful ignorance to painful wisdom.  In these pages, tornadoes churn, stars fall burning from the sky, and a strange storm shelter offers a glimpse of another world full of awful beauty.  Broken Branch offers compelling evidence of John Mantooth's ambitions and abilities as a writer."—John Langan, author of The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies

"John Mantooth's Broken Branch is filled with claustrophobic, creeping dread. It's a story of lies and belief, fear and deception, and it will stay with you long after you've finished the last page."—Damien Walters Grintalis, author of Ink
 

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Contents

Chapter
1
Chapter
2
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3
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4
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31
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Chapter
38

Chapter
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Copyright

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About the author (2013)

John Mantooth is an award-winning author, middle school teacher, former school bus driver, and basketball junkie. His first collection of stories, Shoebox Train Wreck, was released in 2012. He lives in Alabama with his wife and children.

Bibliographic information