David Dick

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A historical novel of prejudice and plague, The Scourges of Heaven sweeps gracefully, joyfully, painfully across centuries and generations. Through Cynthia Anne Ferguson, orphaned aboard a vessel carrying immigrants, hopes, dreams, and cholera from the Old World to the New, David Dick paints a world where the causes of disease are little understood, where faith is not always a comfort, where human questioning often goes unanswered, and where unexpected death is frequently attributed to the wrath of an angry God. Cynthia's story unfolds in the midst of the first of four great cholera epidemics to sweep America in the mid-nineteenth century, and her journey through life, from New Orleans up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and across the Bluegrass to Lexington, parallels the track followed by the deadly scourge. More powerfully told than any factual, statistical, or scientific account could ever manage, yet based upon historical events, this tale of disease, ignorance, and narrow-mindedness is supported by a central theme of hope that ultimately brings redemption.

"The timeless questions related to the presence of evil and God's involvement in the suffering of man are asked and answered by a variety of the well-developed characters Dick creates."—Ace Magazine

"Dick writes with an easy authority, a sense of humor in the midst of horrors, and the book promises a bright new career for a man of many achievements."—G21 Books

"A novel about a woman's tremendous journey from the old world to the new, from youth to womanhood, all tainted by the ill-effects of the cholera epidemic."—Kentucky Alumni

"The cholera epidemic of the 1830s is the background for an examination of the science vs. religion debate in this first novel."—Library Journal

"David Dick, more noted for contributions as a journalist, has crafted a fine novel based on the historical facts of the cholera epidemics in the New World."—Roanoke (VA) Times

"Dick weaves his tale hither and yon, keeping the reader interested, not only by the story but by the unimaginable characters he dreams up."—The Louisville Courier-Journal

"Brings the scourge of cholera into clearer perspective than anybody who has written on the subject."—Thomas D. Clark

"Like a latter-day Voltaire, Dick takes us on a Candide-like adventure through the violence, prejudices, injustices, superstitions, greed and occasional enlightenments and reforms of the mid-19th Century."—Wade Hall

"Dick has created a strong, independent woman to stand with Kentucky literature's best, from Harriette Simpson Arnow's Gertie Nevels and Elizabeth Madox Robert's Ellen Chesser to Bobbie Ann Mason's Samantha Hughes and Betty Layman Receveur's Kitty Gentry."—Wade Hall

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Cholera, Kentucky, Kentucky in literature


Literature in English, North America

The Scourges of Heaven: A Novel
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