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French Gold is a tale of murder and its solving, of life in the colonial village of Ste. Anne in the Illinois country, of buried treasure and its eventual unearthing. It is of a keelboat voyage from St. Louis to New Orleans and of the tender star-crossed love shared by the French woman Julie Coussat and young Auguste Chouteau along the way. Their journey is full of action - first an encounter with river pirates, then savage Indians, and finally a brutal attack upon Julie by supposed friends. This story tells of the present-day rebuilding of a wall at historic Fort de Chartres and how it came about. Fast paced, its action shifts back and forth and back again between Springfield, Illinois in the 1980s, the French Illinois country of 1764 and life on the river, and Paris in the bloody days of the French Revolution. Local historians demanded historical accuracy in the rebuilding of the wall at Fort de Chartres. It seemed necessary for research to be done in France and Spain. A professor of French language and literature was employed to conduct that inquiry while he was in Europe on a sabbatical leave.His findings in Seville and Paris led to the solution of an ancient murder, to the recovery of a long buried treasure in gold and silver from the bluffs along the Mississippi, and to the account written long ago by the French woman, Julie Coussat, of her time upon the river.
Essentially, this a romantic tale of how a strong-willed woman was caused to become the binding link between past and present, and the means of our recreating a bit of the past for our time and the future.