David Howell: An Excerpt from His New Novel, "Buried Dreamer"

Buried Dreamer by David B. Howell

Foreword by Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry

(Newly arrived from Scotland due to a shipwreck, The Reverend Charles Stuart and Samantha Stuart sit on the front porch of Claire McFadden's house in Kilmarnock, Virginia on November 4, 1849.)

Two white men on horses come down the street. The first man wears a white, brimmed hat, dark brown vest under a black jacket. His long-pointed beard is striking, and his large green eyes glare at the porch observers. His scowling demeanor communicates that he doesn’t care what they think. A black brimmed hat sits on the head of the second rider. The right side of his face disfigured by something like a horse kick. He is smaller and doesn’t communicate authority like the first rider who rides like a proud general who has just conquered new territory.

“Look!” Brody says. “They’re pulling people, black people, with ropes.”

“What’s that about?” Samantha asks about the man and woman with hands tied and ropes around their necks. The ropes are tied to the saddle horns on the horses, and the two people must walk fast to keep from being pulled to the ground. The woman looks like she fell to the ground at least once. Her dirt-stained clothes are torn, face bruised and bloody.

“They’re no doubt runaways from somewhere down south,” Claire says. “This is one of the escape routes for runaways. Just to the north, they can cross over into Maryland. But the big plantation owners to the south join together and keep bounty hunters here to capture them.”

“What will they do with them?” Samantha asks.

“Well, it depends. They return some to their plantations. But they don’t know where to take them if the runaways won’t talk. Those hang,” Claire says.

“Oh my God!” Samantha says.

“They wouldn’t hang that woman, would they?” Samantha asks.

“Oh yeah. If she won’t talk, she’ll hang soon, yeah, both of them,” Claire says.

“I’m goin’ follow them. See what I can do,” Samantha says.

“Ain’t nothing you can do,” Claire says. “If they stop at the hanging-tree on the edge of town,” she points down the street, “they good as dead.”

Ignoring Claire, Samantha steps off the porch, with Reverend Stuart behind her, and into the street.


Buried Dreamer, a historical novel about an exiled Scottish minister who assists with the Underground Railroad in Virginia in the 1800's, is available on Amazon. A descendant of the minister seeks to prevent a threat to democracy in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2021. 

From the Foreword by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal Church: "Author David Howell welcomes the reader into a story of another place, another time, introduces us to fascinating characters… We quickly become fellow travelers from a nineteenth-century courtroom and jail cell in Scotland to a battlefield in Afghanistan, from an old ship making the arduous trek across the Atlantic to a refugee center today. Along the way, we learn about the harsh realities of slavery and the perilous work of the Underground Railroad, and we discover ways in which our own time is influenced by what has come before… Embrace the story and perhaps discover more about your own along the way."

Peter Marty, editor/publisher of The Christian Century: "A cross-cultural historical novel that crosses several centuries. It's layered with Bible, theology, and plenty of intrigue. Amazingly intricate."

Peter Mayer, lead guitarist for Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer's Band: "If Indiana Jones was a kindhearted, progressive minister banished from nineteenth century Scotland along with his cadre of fellow disciples: the bereaved, the benevolent, the bandit, and the beautiful, you might have some idea where Buried Dreamer will lead you. With imagination and engaging characters, David Howell points to the Creator's timeless song that calls us to live into the ways of justice, purpose, and place, and to never quit the courageous fight for all who have been denied their own."

David Howell's Tethered to an Appalachian Curse: A Surprise Calling was released in 2021 and available on Amazon. He is the founder of the Festival of Homiletics.


Book Links:

Buried Dreamer: A Historical Novel: Howell, David Brown, Curry, Michael B.: 9781666770452: Amazon.com: Books


Buried Dreamer- Wipf and Stock Publishers