PLATTSBURGH - Author Douglas Kashorek of Beekmantown was so inspired by an epic poem, he felt compelled to continue the story it told hundreds of years ago.
In his latest book, "Kin of Cain," Kashorek tells what he considers the "Christian sequel" to "Beowulf," written by an unknown author during the Dark Ages.
"Beowulf is the early roots of fantasy and has served as inspiration for writers from Tolkien to Lawhead," said Kashorek.
In Beowulf, he explained, a warrior of early Scandinavian tradition comes to the rescue of Hrothgar, a king, whose mead-hall is nightly attacked and warriors slaughtered and eaten by a terrible monster. Kin of Cain merges Beowulf with the Bible, setting it in Silver Lake Mountain and Lyon Mountain areas during the post-Civil War and Great Depression times.
"In the tradition of the epic hero, Beowulf alone is able to kill the monster and then takes on Grendel's mother in their lair," said Kashorek, "which I have made the entrance to Enoch, the city build by Cain in Nod, east of Eden, in rebellion to God's curse on him to be a restless wanderer on the earth. Later, Beowulf battles a dragon, which, of course, I needed to honor by working biblical leviathan into Kin of Cain."
The bard who penned Beowulf, said Kashorek, was evidently influenced by the spread of Christianity as the poem is filled with allusions to Christian themes.
"Kin of Cain follows that tradition, speaking of love, sacrifice, the consequences of sin, and our ability to choose to overcome or be overcome by life's circumstances," said Kashorek. "The novel seeks to explain why, according to Scripture, giants existed before and after the worldwide flood, neanderthal man, and legends such as Bigfoot."
The book - which has been called a "twisted 'Beauty and the Beast' tale" - draws upon the North Country's "rich railroad and mining history," said Kashorek, featuring "prominent and colorful figures" such as Smith Weed, J.R. Linney, and Nat Collins.