Welcome to adderinthepath.net

My name is William (Bill) R. Jensen.  I created this website to introduce you to a book I have written and explain why I think it is unique and why you may enjoy it.  The book, Adder in the Path is a historical novel dealing with the Mormon War in Missouri, 1833-1838.

The Mormon War is an intriguing historical event because it is one of the few actual religious wars fought in the United States.  It is also interesting to note that the Mormon War in Missouri was one of a series of conflicts that the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) fought with residents of areas where they attempted to settle until they eventually fled to the seclusion of the Great Basin. Why the members of the church, (Saints) suffered persecution on the frontier, the very region that gave birth to the church is a dichotomy that has never been adequately answered or studied. 

I became interested in the Mormon War while studying History at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.  Manhattan is only one hundred and fifty miles from Independence, Missouri, the site of Zion, the holy city that the Mormons sought to establish on the then frontier.  Originally, I planned to write a history of the war or a biography of Alexander Doniphan, one of the main characters involved in the war.  However, I became bogged down in responsibilities of life and the dream of writing a history of the war was put on hold. 

Eventually, I retired and found myself with time on my hands after considering my options; I decided to write a historical novel.  I have always enjoyed Irving Stone’s novels because the reader not only learns history, but can get into the thoughts, attitudes and emotions of the characters. 

I would never compare myself to Irving Stone, but his skill with developing characters and letting the reader feel their passion, grief, euphoria and desperation is the main reason I decided to write a historical novel. 

The facts, many of the characters and the chronology of “Adder” follow the actual events of the Mormon War very closely, so the reader should get a good understanding of the causes, issues and events of the war, hopefully they will also feel the fears, passions and struggles and the pain the main characters feel. 

The book chronicles the life of Jake Devine, a young man coming of age and coping with the vicious abuse of his father, finding God in his own way and discovering the joy of love between a man and a woman for the first time.  He also suffers the heart rending grief of losing his lover, his mother and his beloved dog to the ravages of war.  He had promised himself he would kill his father to avenge the abuse he poured on Jake, his mother and his beloved dog Rufe.  In the end, he watches a Mormon fanatic hack his father to pieces with a cutlass at the battle of Crooked River.   All alone he crosses the wide Missouri seeking a mysterious Indian girl and disappears into the setting sun.

This book touches most of the raw emotions that arise in life, jealousy, love, hate, abuse, spirituality and redemption; I think you will like it. 

Bill Jensen