Tooth of the Covenant

288 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $16.99
ISBN: 9781942658832


ISBN: 9781942658849

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“Splendid. . . . Lock masters the interplay between nineteenth-century Hawthorne and his fictional surrogate, Isaac, as he travels through Puritan New England. The historical details are immersive and meticulous.”

Foreword Reviews (starred review)

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“Bold and imaginative. . . . Probing into the dark corners of fear, guilt, and morality, Lock produces something unexpected.”

Fine Books Magazine

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“A distinctive and ambitious foray into literary history.”

Kirkus Reviews

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“A reflective and subtly poignant look at Nathaniel Hawthorne. . . . Lock displays a nimble virtuosity as he captures the speech of the time while demonstrating how the implicit bias, bigotry, and hypocrisy of Puritanism became the cancel culture of its day.”


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“The novel’s somber exploration of American cruelty and religious intolerance is balanced by its nimble prose, sly wit, and engaging glimpse of a literary figure. Lock’s latest ambitious look at America’s history will delight fans of the series and earn new converts.”

Publishers Weekly

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“To say that American Follies involves Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Feast Day of the Cannibals involves Herman Melville, and The Wreckage of Eden involves Emily Dickinson makes for an accurate statement that nevertheless fails utterly to convey the unfettered imagination and narrative energy that drives each novel. In the series’ eighth novel, Tooth of the Covenant, Lock explores the weight of familial legacy, the intersection of individuals with their eras, and the power of storytelling. . . . Lock’s clever voice, shapely prose and shrewd observations help lighten the story’s mood, and the novel’s look at intolerance couldn’t be more timely.”

Society Nineteen

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Best known for his novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne was burdened by familial shame, which began with his great-great-grandfather John Hathorne, the infamously unrepentant Salem witch trial judge. In this, the eighth stand-alone book in The American Novels series, we witness Hawthorne writing a tale entitled Tooth of the Covenant, in which he sends his fictional surrogate, Isaac Page, back to the year 1692 to save Bridget Bishop, the first person executed for witchcraft, and rescue the other victims from execution. But when Page puts on Hathorne’s spectacles, his worldview is transformed and he loses his resolve. As he battles his conscience, he finds that it is his own life hanging in the balance.

An ingenious and profound investigation into the very notion of universal truth and morality, Tooth of the Covenant probes storytelling’s depths to raise history’s dead and assuage the persistent ghost of guilt.

Big Other Book Award Finalist

Fine Books Magazine “Editor’s Shelf” selection

Foreword Reviews “Book of the Day” selection

Billerica Public Library “Book Buzz” selection

MacPhaidin Library at Stonehill College “Hibernate with a Good Book” selection

Excerpt from Tooth of the Covenant