An eight year old boy named James, aka the wannabe Cisco Kid, nearly lost his life as he searched for precious metal in a bone dry southwest Arizona gulley. He retrieved only pyrite before a desert flood swept away his world. Over the course of half a century James acquired several additional nicknames. They were reflections of his multiple personalities. His dad called him Traveler or Trav. Some coworkers referred to him as Point Man. A few colleagues labeled him Knowledge Navigator or Nav. Under the cool, shimmering waters of Dutch Buffalo Creek, in 2014 A.D., Trav came upon a rusty bayonet. It was buried long ago in the Carolina Piedmont. This discovery is no coincidence; indeed, this bayonet is a symbol of the abundant riches found in the river of history that connects both the past and future. The blade reminded Point Man that all that glitters is not gold. Nav expanded the search for real treasure beyond the water’s edge. The blade was a catalyst that drove James to sift through a lifetime of artifacts and bittersweet memories. He found riches from the past and caught a glimpse of the future. Just as the bayonet glimmered in the depths of the water, so does the ongoing work of his family’s unseen witnesses, the Neverborn. They reveal ancient treasures that go far beyond mere gold and silver. James is guided into a deeper understanding that he and countless loved ones have been called by name as spoken by the prophet Isaiah: I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.
Otherworldly ghostwriters (the “Neverborn”) compose biographies for ordinary people in this playfully metafictional novel. James is a strong central character whose memories from the 1950s through the present give a sense of history’s sweep, while vivid descriptive language enlivens the settings. Although well written, the book as a whole is an unusual amalgam of spiritualism, historical nostalgia, and technology. James’s story might have been better told as a simple coming-of-age novel with flashbacks.
The Hidden Treasure of Buffalo Creek is a wonderful book to read. If you are a historical fiction or historical fan this book may be for you. You learn about history or some events as you go though the adventures with James. It a sweet it tells you about family history and about some of the history of the eras you may have not lived it or want to learn about.
It goes though some of the lives of a few people and how they got here. You learn to grow and follow faith along the way. James is the main one. You go along for an adventures. You may learn about some things that have been going on in the Germany or the USA.
The structure of The Hidden Treasure of Dutch Buffalo Creek reminds me of the movie Her. Reminiscent of a computer operating system that assumes life in that movie, Neverborn ghost writers become entwined in the plot of this novel.
As the narrative unfolds, the ghost writers assume an identity as Badge-no-one, a play on words reminder that they were never born. And yet they dialogue with each other and with ten characters they are assigned to observe.
The story unfolds when the principal character finds a bayonet buried in the creek bed. In an attempt to describe the purpose of the blade, the lead narrator selects sanitized chapters from each of ten books.
This inventive construction demanded my full attention. My book club was energized by questions posed in a thought provoking final chapter. History and science fiction meet memoir punctuated by a spiritual message without becoming didactic.
The book is a fun read, one that brought me back for a second sitting.
The Hidden Treasure of Dutch Buffalo Creek is a wonderful masterpiece of writing. A historical account as well as an adventure of a family woven across four centuries and a man’s journey of finding the treasure of life. Jackson Badgenoone edits several authors, none of which have ever walked the earth in physical form, but only observing the lives of living individuals, into a historical, unforgettable event. The novel begins with James finding an old bayonet with a very unique past. The story continues looking back to the past, with an eye to the present revealing the “high water” marks of a creek, people’s lives, and the world as a whole. This masterpiece is excitingly complex with a spiritual thread tying the past to the present and weaving together a tapestry that will last well into the future. The reader’s attention is held on the cliff of life looking across a vast valley in need of making a decision which will affect the rest of his or her life as the reader journeys with Badgenoone throughout this life-changing adventure. The pathway leads through a place where good versus evil; right versus wrong; and truth versus fiction. This a wonderful adventuresome journey that will change your life and live within your being a lifetime.