Local author launches ‘In the Shadow of Elephants’ in Kimberley and Cranbrook

Author and publisher Keith G. Powell is pleased to announce the launch of his fourth and newest Kootenay-based historical novel, In the Shadow of Elephants. You are invited to attend a slide show, book reading/signing and Q&A with the author. In celebration of the book’s central theme of the “Great Elephant Escape” of 1926, come enjoy a glass of Elephant Run IPA from Fisher Peak Brewing.

Wednesday, June 12, 7:00 pm

Huckleberry Books

16 – 9th Ave S

Cranbrook, B.C.

Seating is limited at both venues, so come early.

Thursday, June 13, 7:00 pm

Kimberley Public Library

115 Spokane St

Kimberley, B.C.

Seating is limited at both venues, so come early.

The historical novel In the Shadow of Elephants is a book about stampeding elephants, baseball-playing lumbermen, hockey-loving miners, women’s hockey jerseys sporting swastikas, titans of industry and the winds of war. All play an integral part in the life of young Jimmie Peever as he struggles to overcome the odds stacked against him.

Jimmie Peever was a championship goaltender for the Kimberley Intermediates (predecessors to the famed Kimberley Dynamiters), and a notable baseball player in the 1920s. His hometown of Kimberley, British Columbia, was the site of the world’s largest zinc and lead mine, and one of the thriving economic engines of a region rich in mining and lumbering resources.

Jimmie and his teammates captured the Coy Cup in 1926, a symbol of B.C.’s provincial hockey supremacy, beating the highly touted Vancouver Seaforths. Jimmie was known more for his cat-like agility between the goalposts and his stellar, reliable play on the ball field rather than the fact that he was missing his left arm.

In this new historical novel, the central character leads readers throughout the Kootenays as he encounters significant historical events at every turn, from the super-secretive P-9 heavy-water project in Trail to the Japanese internment camps of the Slocan Valley.

Keith G. Powell is also author/publisher of Living in the Shadow of Fisher Peak; Raising Kain: The Adventurous Life of Conrad Kain; and Fisher Peak Chronicles: Real Stories from a Tall Mountain. His newest historical novel, In the Shadow of Elephants, in now available at local bookstores throughout the Kootenays.

Additional background information/synopsis….

In the new historical novel, In the Shadow of Elephants, set in 1926, young, one-armed goaltender Jimmie Peever wins the prestigious Coy Cup, emblematic of the hockey supremacy of British Columbia, as a member of the Kimberley Intermediates.

Later that same year, he also triggers the largest elephant escape in the circus’s history in North America when 13 elephants bolt from the Sells Floto circus train visiting Cranbrook, B.C. – all because of his Jack Russell terrier’s shrill bark, spooking the massive elephants and setting them off on a wild rampage into the Canadian wilderness. The escape creates an international sensation with local reporters penning some 30,000 words for newspapers from as far away as Toronto, Los Angeles and even Cuba, as the world clamours for news of “”he great elephant escape.” Calls for the most famous elephant handler of the day are issued and Frank “Cheerful” Gardner finally arrives in the Kootenays to head up the search for the escaped elephant, valued at $10,000 each, despite his airplane crash landing en route in Wyoming.

Jimmie Peever lost his arm in a local sawmill accident when B.C.’s early lumber industry was in its heyday. When he was hospitalized, Jimmie befriends a young First Nation boy who suffers the day-to-day harsh treatment and physical punishment of the headmaster at the nearby St. Eugene residential school. Despite having only one arm, Jimmie excels at both hockey, as goaltender, and baseball, as a pitcher and right fielder. In his travels around the Kootenays he encounters many of the region most memorable events.

On one of his hockey excursions he comes across the bombed-out wreckage of the train carrying Peter “Lordly” Verigin, leader of the Doukhobors in the Kootenays; he pitches an exhibition game against the Sultan of Swat, Babe Ruth; he plays against the Pacific Coast Champions, the Vancouver Asahi’s Japanese baseball team, best known for their smart style of baseball nicknamed “brain ball;” he takes goaltending lessons from future Hockey Hall of Fame goalie “Tiny” Thompson of nearby Sandon, B.C.; and he meets B.C.’s hockey royalty, Frank and Lester Patrick and Fred “Cyclone” Taylor.

Jimmie also works his way up the ladder of the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company (CM&S) to become security boss, gaining the confidence of one of Canada’s leading industrialists Selwyn Blaylock; his love of baseball takes him to the Japanese internments camps of the Slocan Valley where he is re-acquainted with the incarcerated members of the Vancouver Asahi baseball team; on another occasion his hockey team is hosted by the Fernie Swastikas, one of the best women’s hockey teams in Western Canada, he witnesses the genesis of the famed CM&S/Cominco Elephant brand of fertilizer; he keeps a watchful eye on the development of the super-secretive P-9 project in Trail which sees the growing industrial mining giant CM&S produce heavy water in the frantic race to create the world’s first atomic bomb; and he investigates the bombing of the longest electric cable in the world spanning Kootenay Lake by the radical Sons of Freedom.

In the golden era of company town baseball and hockey teams, Jimmie Peever leads a life of action and intrigue. The new historical novel, In the Shadow of Elephants by author Keith G. Powell follows the rollicking adventures of young Jimmie Peever as he encounters excitement and historically significant events

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