Honoring The 100-Year-Anniversary Of The Extinction Of The Passenger Pigeon --- 2014
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Quick Fall Of Light
A Novel By Sherrida Woodley
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In this suspenseful tale a global virus sets the tone, but it's a one-pound bird that determines who lives and who doesn't.
In this novel of a near-future pandemic, the time has come when humanity is enduring one of the worst devastations imaginable. Yet, Quick Fall of Light looks less at the worldwide outbreak of bird flu than it does at the lives of three people caught in its wake.


The story begins with Josephine Russo searching for the crash site of her newly deceased husband in the mist-shrouded Olympic Rain Forest of Washington State. As she finds herself lost and getting sick, she meets a logger, Gary Sterns, who not only has a history of logging, but who has also discovered a medical lab hidden deep within the forest’s interior. From this mysterious realm the story reveals an experiment unknown, except for traces left behind on a computer and Josephine’s remembrances of the fading love between herself and her late husband. And it is from this experiment that a bird, at one time one of America’s most breathtaking, emerges as a source of radically advanced medical technology.


Quick Fall of Light has its roots in the great influenza epidemic of 1918. Based, in part, on the reported mysterious “grippe” that spread around the globe early in the last century, the novel tells of a world largely stunned by a similar modern tragedy, withdrawn, sequestered, and desperate for the availability of an anti-virus, Pass-Flu. The business of manufacturing the drug is a thriving one despite the staggering loss of human life, and no one questions its efficiency until Josephine reads the confession her husband left behind on his computer. . .


That as leading ornithologist for the pharmaceutical, Colzer-Bremen, he had personally witnessed the deadly exploitation of his birds for the sake of production and that he considered the drug as dangerous as the disease. In one final act of retribution he planned to release the bird most likely to survive, a passenger pigeon named Gem-X. It is, without a doubt, his dying hope that the bird will not only survive, but triumph over mankind and the dreaded outbreak that’s wiped out millions of birds as well. This is what takes the story well beyond the rain forest, and into the sites of a hitman who pursues Josephine and Sterns and the elusive Gem-X through the wilderness of Montana, a dying town in Wyoming, and a plains fire as big as any our nation has ever seen.


Oddly enough, the novel is neither dark nor apocalyptic. Rather, it centers on a time of turmoil, looking at nature not as a way out but as a remnant of our past that will always see us through.
Quick Fall of Light tells of a time yet to come and yet brings us face to face with our past. We can only hope what it describes never comes to be.
Audubon Observing The Passenger Pigeon

By Norman Rockwell
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"This book has everything! Great characters, vivid language, a shocking resurrection, and birds. I loved it!"
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April 08, 2014
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An inside look at how I created this award winning novel
"A profound, and profoundly affecting novel. I don't think anybody could read it without being deeply touched. I was. I found it hard to resist--the ideas, the writing, the passion, the message. All resonated for me. A wonderful reading experience. . . I think anyone who picks up this book will be changed by it." Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Ph.D., Author of When Elephants Weep and Dogs Never Lie About Love

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A special thank you to Joel Greenberg, author of A Feathered River Across the Sky, The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction. Unbeknownst to me, Joel included reference to Quick Fall of Light in his book in a section he devoted to recently written novels with the passenger pigeon as part of their structure or plot line. His comment about Quick Fall is that it is “a superb science fiction novel dealing with a number of environmental themes.” I’m extremely honored to be mentioned in this new, definitive book about the bird that compelled me to write a novel. It is a joy I can never quite give adequate description to. Suffice it to say, it will change the course of history for Quick Fall, bringing it ever closer to the source of one of my deepest connections to the bird world.
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