Heathen Valley, Romulus Linney’s haunting and original novel, was born from the church histories of the Valle Crucis mission in western North Carolina. Told in four parts, it is a story set in an almost unknown valley, “Heathen, a valley That Forgot God.” With a quiet, muscular violence and biblical grace that readers of Cormac McCarthy will recognize, Linney takes us into the 1850s, where an idealistic Bishop from New England and a life–whipped, sorrowful transient named Starns, struggle to win souls and transform the valley. Widely reviewed when it was first published in 1962 and selected as an alternate for the Book of the Month Club, Romulus Linney’s first novel Heathen Valley was never reprinted and has never before been in paperback.
“Starns was thirty–two years old that night, but he looked fifty. He was like a much older man who comes late in life to what learning he possesses, and therefore has no fear of what he knows he will never understand.” from Heathen Valley