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Nathan McQueen

English lecturer publishes new novel The Blood of Bones

Hawai‘i Community College English lecturer Nathan McQueen has a new novel out this month that is described as a “mythic, coming-of-age tale that speaks to the struggles of humanity across cultural boundaries.” 

Titled The Blood of Bones, the novel’s main character is Tesfahun, a boy who is a member of an ancient tribe in Ethiopia “untouched by modern civilization.”

blood of bones coverThe summary of the book states: 

“His people live an isolated life where revenge killings are required and ruled by superstitions where mingi or cursed babies are thrown into the river for the sake of the tribe.

As friends are forced to avenge the tribe and children disappear in the night, Tesfahun begins to question his people and his beliefs, growing further from his grief stricken mother and hardened father. After his initiation into manhood, Tesfahun discovers a terrible secret about his family and himself.

This revelation forces him to flee his people into the harsh territory of his enemies who reside across the river. Near starvation and death, he is rescued by an old recluse and the two form a strange bond, hiding from their people and their demons. Needing food, they march to the river to hunt but soon discover they are the ones being hunted. But not by beasts. Fearing for his life and the demons he tried to flee, Tesfahun crashes headlong into his blood-soaked fears and must come to terms with the violence inherent in his bones in order to find salvation.

The Blood of Bones is a mythic, coming-of-age tale that speaks to the struggles of humanity across cultural boundaries. Themes of belief vs. violence, community vs. the individual, and, above all, the quest for peace are imbued in the narrative.”

The book, published by Adelaide Books, Inc., is McQueen’s second published novel. 

McQueen, 37, acknowledges the book is “not an easy beach read because of the concepts.” But part of the reason he is a writer, he said, is to tackle tough subjects and help better understand the world. 

“For me as a writer to engage in these types of stories where it’s not necessarily just fluff, but it’s impactful, more serious subject matter, it helps me come to terms with that sort of thing,” said McQueen. “Like with this book there’s a heavy emphasis on violence, and if you read Lord of the Flies or Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, there’s that aspect of violence that it’s trying to address. Is it instinctual? Is it a natural thing that happens within us? Or is it more environmental? So it helps me to try to tackle those issues. It doesn’t give me answers all the time, but at least it helps me to bring it out and address it in some way.” 

The book can be found at the Adelaide Books website and on Amazon.