A Chronicle of IS is a "G-rated"
short, fantasy novel appropriate for readers from about age 12 through
adult. Set on an Earth-like world in pre-industrial cultures, it
the story of Arm, a young man who receives a mysterious message that
him on a complicated quest into the unknown. First, he must cross a
carrying a pail of water that he dare not drink. Then, in the land of
River, he faces the even more difficult task of persuading the people
that region to forgo their dreams of prosperity in order to save the
and the lives of distant strangers, depending on his word alone that
sacrifice is necessary. Among the hills of Marsh River, his arrival
up trouble and hope. The community leaders do not believe his story and
are reluctant to give up projects that promise growth and wealth. But
finds allies among people who, like the family of Rye Grass, Peachtree
and their daughters, value a rich communal life. To them, Arm brings a
gift that touches their hearts - the gift of songs that connect them
each other, with their environment, and ultimately with the cosmos.
It may be helpful for readers to understand
before beginning that the novel consists of a set of documents with
narrators. The documents are labeled at the beginning of each chapter,
so the reader should not have too much difficulty noticing who is
Sometimes it is important to know which point of view a text
- The first chapter and several later
chapters are narrated by an anonymous historian who recounts parts of
story from a distant past.
- The second chapter is the first of several
told by Arm himself, coming from his own account of his journey.
- Most other chapters are from cultural
documents of the religions of the Marsh River culture: the Cult of
the Cult of the Martyr, the Church of Carlo and others. These include
creation stories, moral dialogues.
- There are a few chapters from other
texts, such as The Life of Rye Grass.
- You may print out the novel for personal
- If you are preparing multiple copies
for non-commercial group use, I would appreciate the courtesy of being
- You must gain permission to use any
part of this text for commercial purposes. Contact theller at coe dot
Many people have had a hand in my work
on this novel. Foremost are Linda and Gabe who inspired me and
have read and commented on it over the years I’ve worked on it.
students from my Introduction to Creative Writing classes since 1991
read and commented on sections, offering very helpful responses.
Three stories from the novel have been
"The Wake-up Bird," Lime Green Bulldozers
"Rye Grass Dancing," Philae 2:8
"Throat of Flame," Coe Review
25 (1995), 146-150.