Authors: Jennifer Bradbury
Sometimes, I love it when my husband is right.
While this story is fictional, the place, circumstances, and some of the people who inspired it were very real. As an author, the fun of writing for me often comes in muddling around in the spaces between the facts, inventing things that might have been, while staying relatively faithful to the established record. If you'd like to learn more about what's real and made up, you can do your own digging.
My first recommendation would be to visit Mammoth Cave. There you can see firsthand the wonders of the largest cave system in the world; speak with the amazing, dedicated park rangers and historians; and walk paths forged by Stephen Bishop, Mat Bransford, and Nick Bransford. But if traveling there in person isn't possible, reading provides excellent alternatives. Any of the following resources offer wonderful insights into the cave itself; people like Dr. Croghan and others who waged the battle against consumption; or the extraordinary lives of Stephen, Nick, and Mat.
Invisible Enemies, Revised Edition: Stories of Infectious Diseases.
New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.
This is a wonderful book about the history of infectious diseases. The chapter on tuberculosis (also called “consumption” or “phthisis” at the time of the book's setting) includes a fantastically gruesome listing of the treatments various doctors attempted to cure the disease.
Hovey, H. C.
One Hundred Miles in Mammoth CaveâIn 1880.
H. C. Hovey was the state geologist of Kentucky. He wrote this lengthy article describing explorations in the cave for
magazine. Wonderful illustrations accompany the text, and it does an excellent job of recreating what the original tours in the cave (which have been offered since 1816) might have been like.
Lyons, Joy Medley.
Making Their Mark: The Signature of Slavery at Mammoth Cave.
Fort Washington, PA: Eastern National, 2006.
Writing about real people in a fictional story is always a bit tricky, particularly when those people are as unique and brave as Stephen Bishop, Nick Bransford, and Mat Bransford. All three are integral parts of the rich history and exploration of Mammoth Cave. All three remained at Mammoth Cave until their deathsâeven after they'd been freed. While I made up some details about their personalities, I did my best to honor their stories and build on what we do know about them. This was my favorite resource in that regard. Beautiful and insightful, it offers a riveting account of the African-American experience at the cave predating that of Nick and Stephen and Mat, all the way up to the present day, when an actual descendent of Mat Bransford works as a ranger (and yes, guide) at Mammoth Cave National Park.
Mammoth Cave National Park.
http://www.nps.gov/maca/index.html. National Park Service. 2010â2014.
An excellent resource for anyone wishing to learn about the cave. There is wonderful information about the cave, its history, and exploration, as well as articles about many of the main characters in the story.
Murphy, Jim, and Allison Blank.
Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-ending Search for a Cure.
New York: Clarion Books, 2012.
Tuberculosis has been around for centuries, and Murphy and Blank's book does a phenomenal job of chronicling the history of this devastating illness. At the time of Croghan's experimental hospital in the cave, they had no idea the disease was transmissible and had no real understanding regarding its treatment. This meant that Dr. Croghan did indeed allow visitors on the tour to interact with patients, and sadly this also meant that both Dr. Croghan and Stephen Bishop later died as a result of having contracted tuberculosis at some point. The book is an engaging, revealing account for those interested in learning why some were able to recover from the disease while others were not, and how modern medicine eventually began to win the battle against the illness.
O'Connor Olson, Colleen, and Charles Hanion.
Scary Stories of Mammoth Cave.
Dayton, OH: Cave Books, 2002.
This book was one of my favorites. It speaks to the spookiness and mystery of the cave, recounting the many legends of ghosts and hauntings that visitors are drawn to, as well as the dangers and perils faced by some early explorers. There is a brief chapter about the hospital as well, which informed my story and set me imagining what it might have been like to live underground, desperate to get well.
O'Connor Olson, Colleen.
Mammoth Cave by Lantern Light: Visiting America's Most Famous Cave in the 1800s.
Dayton, OH: Cave Books, 2010.
O'Connor Olson is a ranger and historian at Mammoth Cave. This book is indispensable for learning more about the cave at the time of the novel's setting, the hospital experiment, and the celebrated guides. It also recounts many of the cave's famous visitors and anecdotes that could inspire entire novels of their own.
I am grateful to many, many people for their support and interest in this book. To Angie WrightÂ .Â .Â . just because. Jacqueline and Josh Hawkins, for your friendship and reading of the manuscript at just the right moment. Stephanie Guerra, thank you for reading this book countless times, and for always finding the right ways to challenge me. To the ladies of the Sunday writing group, thanks for hearing those early chapters and asking for more. Thanks to my mom for asking when I was going to write a Kentucky book, and for reading repeatedly without complaint when I did. To Ron Spoelstra for teaching me about carrier pigeons and sharing your story with me.
This book would not exist (or at least the historical portions would be far less rich!) without the help of the many talented National Park rangers and historians who were kind enough to respond to my e-mails and phone calls. Special thanks to Joe Williams and Gabe Esters for the tour and for letting me hang back and furiously scribble notes. Thanks to Joy Medley Lyonsâboth for her beautiful book and for answering my questions about Nick, Mat, and Stephen. Many, many thanks to Colleen O'Connor Olson for answering my e-mails, for the chance to talk and walk the cave with you, and for offering such helpful feedback on the innumerable details of the cave, the history, and this story.
And I'm so thankful to the many people who helped this story become a real live book. Thanks to Rick Britton for the painstakingly created map, to Grady McFerrin for the just-right cover, and to Michael McCartney for making this book (and all the others) so beautiful. A whole cave full of thanks to Beth Miller and Robin Rueâthere's no other team I'd rather be on this adventure with. And, of course, to Caitlyn Dlouhy, for being the best guide a writer could hope for.
Most of all, thanks to Evie and Arun for your patience when the writing was hard and your encouragement when it was working. Your stories are still my favorites to tell. And finally to Jimmy, for taking all those tours with me, for never minding when I asked you to read it again, and for always being the light that led me back home.
is the author of
A Moment Comes, Wrapped
, and her debut novel,
gave a starred review, calling it “fresh, absorbing, compelling”âwas picked as an ALA and a
School Library Journal
Best Book for Young Adults and is also on numerous state reading lists. A former English teacher and one-day
champ, she lives with her family in Burlington, Washington.
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Simon & Schuster * New York
Meet the author, watch videos, and get extras at
A Moment Comes * Shift * Wrapped
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* This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and events are products of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. * Text copyright Â© 2015 by Jennifer Bradbury * Jacket illustration copyright Â© 2015 by Grady McFerrin * Map on pages
âvii by Rick Britton * All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. * A
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. * The text for this book is set in Dante
. * Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data * Bradbury, Jennifer. * River runs deep / Jennifer Bradbury. â First edition. * pages cm * Summary: Twelve-year-old Elias is sent to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky to fight a case of consumptionâand ends up fighting for the lives of a secret community of escaped slaves traveling along the Underground Railroad. * ISBN 978-1-4424-6824-5 (hardcover) * ISBN 978-1-4424-6826-9 (eBook) * 1.Â Mammoth Cave (Ky.)âJuvenile fiction. [1.Â Mammoth Cave (Ky.)âFiction. 2.Â TuberculosisâFiction. 3.Â SlaveryâFiction. 4.Â Fugitive slavesâFiction. 5.Â Underground RailroadâFiction. 6.Â African AmericansâFiction.] I.Â Title. * PZ7.B71643Ri 2015 * [Fic]âdc23 * 2014049034