By Ed Montgomery

Transcript Staff Writer

As Oklahoma’s statehood centennial approaches, a novel by an Oklahoma author about the land run of 1889 and events leading up to statehood has been published by the University of Oklahoma Press.

The author of “Dreams to Dust” ($26.95, hardcover, 296 pages) is Sheldon Russell of Guthrie. This is his fourth book.

The protagonist is Creed McReynolds, a half-Kiowa forced out of his home in the Indian Territory and returning to make the run and then a lot of money. He’s a lawyer now but plans to start by selling three car loads of lumber in the train he rides to the starting point.

Abaddon Damon, who plans to be the most powerful newspaper publisher in the future state, is willing to steal Creed’s money and brutally beat a railroad guard to further his dream.

Both men are headed for Guthrie Station where Creed plans to cash in on the building boom that will start as soon as the settlers arrive. Damon believes Guthrie will become the state capital and proper site for his newspaper.

Alida and Bram Deventer are teen-agers lost in a strange land after they bury their father who dies during the run. Another well-drawn character is a black former cavalryman who becomes a deputy U.S. marshal but is more interested in reports of an all-black community east of Guthrie.

Creed falls in love with Aida, but it appears he will lose her because, with the help of the corrupt publisher, he spends all his time getting richer.

After statehood, when voters angered by Damon’s vicious editorials move the capital to Oklahoma City, his kingdom collapses.

This is a good story with believable characters and events that could have happened. Here’s a statement from author Lawrence Rogers:

“‘Dreams to Dust’ brings to life significant moments in frontier history, the taming of lawlessness, the persistent specter of violence, the promise of new land, the allure of get-rich schemes and the challenge of environmental hardships.” Well said.

The fictitious use of real places and events may confuse some Oklahoma readers. An afterword dealing with some of the real history helps.

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