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Shade of the Tree
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Shade of the Tree

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Author: Piers Anthony
Publisher: Grafton, 1987
Tor, 1986

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Book Type: Novel
Genre: Fantasy
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New York had nearly destroyed Joshua Pinson. He had rejected his puritanical religious background for a high-powered urban career and the love of his wife, Mina. Now Mina was dead, murdered by a mugger; and Josh was left with their two small children, two large dogs, and a wealth of bad dreams. Suddenly, Josh was named sole heir to his eccentric Uncle Elijah's estate in rural Florida. Josh had never known his uncle, or seen the property, but it seemed a providential chance to take Sue and Chris away and begin like fresh.

Elijah's estate was at the end of a country road: thirty acres of forest and field, and abandoned mine, hidden caches of gold and gems, a warehouse of survivalist rations, chickens and a pony, and a solar house built beside a giant, ancient live-oak. There were just two problems. The house was only half built. And the land was rumored to be haunted - by animals and machines, by creatures which couldn't exist, by ghosts of the dead... and ghosts of the living.

Strange phenomena soon began - some eerie, some benign, all uncanny. A phantom train that ran on spectral tracks... a "possessed" chain saw... a specter washing dishes in a newly installed sink... a solar water tank that heated without sunlight. Then events turned darker, more menacing: an elderly neighbor found dead at the base of the tree; the pony turned murderous; a dog gored to death; hordes of hallucinatory, flesh-eating insects. Then skeletons rose from the earth to threaten the children; the Bigfoot-like Skunk Ape attacked Josh; and Sue fell victim to a weird, malignant disease.

But Josh refused to run, to abandon his family's new life, new friends... and his own new-found love. Not until he learned what pattern lay beneath the power, what force was in the land. Whether it could be reasoned with, or was beyond comprehension. Whether it was good, or evil; magic or necromancy. Whether he and his children had stumbled upon and confronted a horror... or a miracle.


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