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The Battle for the Black Fen (Infinite Games) Paperback – August 7, 2017
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From previous books in the Infinite Games series:
As time rolls on, America’s wetlands are more and more threatened. The Marshlanders tells the story of a clash between those who love the wetlands and their unique state and those who want to see them drained for development and other uses. A story of accepting nature and defending it against those who would defile it, The Marshlanders should prove to be a fascinating read with much to think about. -Helen Dumont (Midwest Book Review)
It’s the story of conflict between self-sustaining communities and others who want to drain the wetlands for agricultural development. Pratt’s previous nonfiction books, “Archetypal Patterns in Women’s Fiction” and “Dancing with Goddesses,” won awards. Pratt taught English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 20 years, commuting from Michigan each week." -Books in Brief
The Marshlanders by Annis Pratt is a cleverly woven tale about the interaction of two very different worlds. She draws heavily on her background knowledge of the world of the riverbank and fills her story with characters, who live in and love the natural world of the marshlands. They struggle to save their environment from the advances of those who seek to change it for monetary gain. -Linda Watson
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I hadn’t read the first 3 books in awhile but was able to follow along with the characters, places, themes with ease. The introduction helped bridge the gap. Dr. Pratt’s knowledge and research into ecology and the Anglian Fens is quite evident in the abundance of plants, food choices, and geography of marshes.
I enjoyed this ecofiction/historical novel, which is a new genre for me. As ecofiction it reflects the reliance of a people who live in close harmony with their surroundings; in this case the marshes of the Anglian Fen. As history, the novel is based on the 17th - 20th century struggle of people oppressed by those interested only in using the land for their profit - and surprisingly current - the environmentalists versus the corporations.
One phrase remains with me: As leaders Margaret and Richard, separate before the battle they agree they are going ‘about the business of the world.’ And so might we.
My favorite parts of the book were the loving descriptions of the natural world. I could picture the author in a small boat rowing amongst the reeds. This book, this story, seems to be a love letter to nature and protecting the environment.
The author has juggled a few dozen characters, and has set a mood in a whole different time. Bravo!
Although the book has a good cover, I have a couple negatives, and they have to do with the publisher. Publishers take a large percentage of the income from a book—for that their job is to hire professional proof-readers, copy editors, and a professional designer for the books interior. On those counts the publisher would only get one star, if any.