Night of the axe [by] William Mulvihill. MULVIHILL. WILLIAM.

Night of the axe [by] William Mulvihill. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1972. 20.5 cm, pp. [i-vi] [1-2] 3-184 [185] [186: blank], cloth. First edition. An allegorical novel, set in an unspecified part of the Sierra Nevada. A party of American emigrants, attempting to cross the Sierra into California in the fall of 1846, come across a huge, solitary tree on the eastern slope. Some members of the party wish to stop and cut down the tree, despite the urgent need to press on before the winter storms arrive. Differences which have been smoldering beneath the surface break into the open, and the emigrant party fragments. Part of the company continues on over the Sierra crest while the remainder attempt to fell the tree, which proves more difficult than anticipated. Predictably, a snow storm arrives and most of those who have stayed behind die. As the remainder of the emigrants descend the western slope they pass through a grove of Sequoia gigantea and are amazed by countless trees larger than the one that attracted their earlier attention. The novel invites "comparison to other novels, such as Golding's Lord of the Flies and William Faulkner's world in which evil is neither denied or explained but exists, powerful and dreadful, for no reason whatsoever. The night of Mulvihill's novel is the malevolent darkness of the human soul torn between the twin lusts of destruction and survival." - publisher's flap copy. The only High Sierra Gothic. A fine copy in nearly fine dust jacket with some internal tanning. (#168502).

Printing identification statement for this book:
"First Printing c" on copyright page.