Immortality . . .
"If I have any firm beliefs about immortality, it is that certain hunting dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few...
WITH SETTERS: BONNIE, SAM, MOLLY - SPANIELS: HALLE, SHAD, MORGAN and SUTTON, a few of a beloved many from a thrilling lifetime with field dogs.
A Tale of Two Warriors
Beautifully drawn from the upland sporting life, DUEL ON TABERNACLE MOUNTAIN is a newly published, iconic and riveting novella by Mike Gaddis, long-time Senior Editor and First Light Columnist of Sporting Classics magazine, and celebrated author of Jenny Willow, Zip Zap, Legend's Legacy, Turning For Home and From A Higher Hill.
Seventy-plus dog years in the making, beautifully told with the soulful intensity that is the author's celebrated signature, and crafted with the insight only a life in which sporting dogs have been central and supreme could endow, here is the novella Mike Gaddis was honor-bound to write.
A tale true-to-life, where dog and bird reign foremost, and man takes his place gratefully and incidentally as a by-stander in their aura. A battle of two indomitable warriors that were from the minute of birth and blood destined to clash.
A comfortable evening's read by the fireplace, but an infinite study in timeless upland pageantry, Duel On Tabernacle Mountain ascends spectacularly as the riveting story of setter and grouse, each extraordinarily gifted within their time, each bound inextricably within the mission they were born for: to best the other.
In the vein of the author's celebrated novel Jenny Willow, Duel On Tabernacle Mountain is unique in presentation, steeped in the spiritual wonder of a great dog, and anointed with the astounding wiles which make the ruffed grouse the undisputable "King of Game Birds."
Altogether, here is a literary adventure any dyed-and-true disciple of the sporting life is sure to relish. An opportunity to own one of the most beautifully penned and appointed books ever published on the grouse legacy, and a collector's volume in the making.
For years I have had on the back burners of desire the yearning to do a story which plays out over several seasons, and heralds the head-on clash between a truly great grouse dog, and an equally wily and gifted old wisdom bird grouse. Which, in fiction or fact, is spectacular. Arguably the most spectacular of any genre in upland sporting lore. A story told by the dog and the bird, by the antagonists themselves. A story told blow-by-blow as two indomitable warriors battle it out amid the splendor of the grouse woods, so equally matched that they fall to a draw time and again. Until comes the day, hour and minute the duel is finally brought to a crashing climax, where one at last prevails and one succumbs. A story in which a human presence is incidental, as truthfully it is when such warriors meet, and a man or woman simply watches in awe as the play unfolds, just thankful to be there, just thankful to hold a ticket to see the show.
The yearning gained irresistible impetus one evening a few years back in Minnesota at Steve Grossman's venerable and legendary little cover-bird chapel, Little Moran, as - after everyone else had retired - Steve and I sat before a flickering fire, and he related an iconic match between Mack, one of the five greatest dogs in the 30 year history of his Grouse Camp, and the similarly incredible and canny old swamp grouse that tried his mettle as no other. So much that watching it unfold, as Steve said, "was like watching two all-time great antagonists duke it out on the brink of a cliff, so evenly matched you held your breath to see which of the two would ultimately topple, while admiring each so supremely you really hoped it could be neither."
From a few such thoughts a timeless story is sometimes born, and taking this small tale as a nucleus, I set out to attempt the task, knowing the time was at hand to plot and set it fully to word and paper. The humble effort is DUEL ON TABERNACLE MOUNTAIN, written for dog people especially. Particularly seasoned grouse hunters who know intimately the genius of a great dog and the superlative wit of the "King of Game Birds," the ruffed grouse, and will know as acutely how closely I have succeeded in telling their story. Though I believe it to be, as well, a tale that anyone who loves dogs, birds, and the upland shooting life will relish, anyone who loves the magic and mystery that happen when the trilogy finds its finest hour.
I wanted to bind it to a small, heirloom quality, limited edition that could comfortably be read fireside in one evening, should this be one's desire, or savored over the expanse of several.
As a final note, Duel On Tabernacle Mountain was printed in preview, in greatly condensed version, in Sporting Classics magazine. This is the full, unabridged novella.
SUPERBLY PRINTED AND BOUND IN BELGIUM BY GRAPHIUS
EACH COPY INDIVIDUALLY NUMBERED, SIGNED, AND INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR WITH A PERSONALIZED NOTATION TO THE BUYER OR GIFT RECIPIENT
FULL PAGE, FULL-COLOR INSIDE ARTISTRY, ACCENT SKETCHES, CHAPTER HEADINGS, AND MORE BY ROD CROSSMAN, LYNN BOGUE HUNT, JIM KASPER, AND THE AUTHOR
TO ALL THE DOGS WE'VE LOVED, AND TO GROUSE DOGS, MEN, AND WISDOM BIRDS IN EVERY CHURCH AND KINGDOM
IN WORD, IMAGE AND SONG, AN UNPARALLELED ODE CAPTURING THE HEART AND SOUL OF THE GROUSE WOODS
Also included as an original and exclusive feature in DUEL ON TABERNACLE MOUNTAIN is a previously unpublished verse by the author, "Before We Knew," which perceptively and poignantly chronicles the birth to death eras of a gun dog's life, and a parting wish for the afterlife.
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