Debut Novel: The Turtle Warrior
- Lauréat 2009 (in the novel category), Prix littéraire deslycéens ett apprentis de la region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur for Wisconsin (The Turtle Warrior in the U.S.), editions Buchet Chastel, 2007;editions 10/18, 2008.
- 2004 Finalist for Great Lakes Book Awards
- BookSense 76 pick for January-February 2004
- Amazon.com’s top 25 fiction picks of 2004
- An Official Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection
- The Heartland Independent Bestseller List
- 2005 Banta Award for Literary Achievement
Mary Relindes Ellis’s extraordinary first novel, The Turtle Warrior, exhibits a depth and range rare in contemporary fiction. Set in rural northern Wisconsin, the story ranges over the Vietnam War, World War II, and most important the vast and unsettled terrain of the human heart.
Second Novel: The Bohemian Flats
Mary Relindes Ellis’s second novel was sold to Editions Belfond (French rights) in early June. Editions Belfond is the French publisher of Haruki Murakami, Harlan Coben, Douglas Kennedy, Khaled Hosseini and many other celebrated authors of our times.
The novel is currently under consideration by U.S. and other foreign publishers.
The Bohemian Flats Synopsis:
Material: manuscript available, 329 pp.
Rights Holder: Anna Jarota Agency
Catholic Bavaria. 1888.
Ten-year old Raimund Kaufmann does the unthinkable one evening: he asks his father why he is always late and why the family has to wait for him to be able to eat at the dinner table. But the whipping his father subsequently gives him does not bring any tears to his young eyes as he imagines his and his brother Albert’s life beyond childhood.
As the second and third sons of Heinrich Kaufmann, a successful beer master in Augsburg, their hopes for an independent life in a culturally and religious oppressive Germany are slim. In accordance with the law of primogeniture, the oldest son, tyrannical and dimwitted Otto, nicknamed Die Pfeffernuss, will inherit the farm and the brewery, leaving Raimund and Albert with two choices: Join the priesthood or risk being conscripted into the German military.
As they come of age, however, they are presented with an alternative by their teacher, the wealthy and prominent liberal scholar, Herr Professor Immanuel Richter: Get educated and leave for the United States. A desire shared by Richter’s oldest daughter Magdalena, who inherited her mother’s dark beauty and unsettling gift of prophecy.
Fifteen-year-old Raimund is the first to leave after their father’s death in 1896, as Otto insists that Raimund enter the priesthood as their father demanded. He steals money and a horse, gallops to Bremen, and boards a ship to America. Leaving his childhood behind at sea, he changes his name to Raymond and he settles in the Mississippi River village known as the Bohemian Flats in the heart of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the poorest of European immigrant mill and brewery workers live and that can only be reached by walking down the 79 wooden steps of a steep bluff. Albert and Magdalena eventually join him there and manage to make new lives, until events of WWI reveal the heart-breaking truths about how difficult it is to leave the past and how much it will always implicate the future.