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A Truly Great Work

We want to take a minute and talk again about the book we talked about a few
days ago, Lee Miller's Roanoke.  We were far enough into it at that point to think it was an amazing book, but having finished it, we had to reconsider. It's actually closer to genius.


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Telling the whole of a book is inconsiderate to those who haven't read it,
but it's such an astonishing work that it's hard to do it justice without really
explaining part of it.  On a literary level, it's competent, though not
remarkable.  But on an intellectual level, in some ways you could compare
the breadth of the work to Nabokov or Eco.

It's hard to imagine being smart enough to understand Elizabethan politics,
European balances of power of that era, or being able to re-interpret Native
American languages centuries after they have departed the scene, much less to
correlate ancient maps with mineral deposits and so forth.  She also does a
fine job of breathing life into the nations which were here when the English
arrived.

Her explanation of what happened to the Lost Colony, while based to some
extent (and necessarily so) on conjecture, is nonetheless highly logical and
very difficult to refute, and there is much more evidence than we ever dreamed
of.   Certainly the placid romance of the Lost Colony, to our mind,
has been shattered forever.

Not being professional historians, we're not aware of what the trends or
fashions in the field are, but we're not aware of anyone else who brings such
skills to the table (note - Miller is an anthropologist by training, not a
historian).

Anyway, we won't say much about what unfolds in the book, other than to say
the story is much darker in many ways than we thought it would be.  It's a
huge accomplishment, and to our mind, the finest answer to the question that
anyone has come up with.  We look forward to seeing what else she might
come up with.  A mind this fertile, nimble, and energetic is destined, we
should think, for greatness.