The Lost Colony of Roanoke—even having written a novel inspired by this piece
of history, which happened hundreds of years ago, typing the words still gives
me a shiver. And why not? It's shivery stuff. In the 1580s, Sir Walter Raleigh
got Queen Elizabeth I's permission to found a permanent colony in the New World.
After an initial failed attempt, more than 100 men, women, and children signed
on to a 1587 voyage—only to find themselves in dire conditions before long.
Their leader, Governor John White, was sent back to England for help. He
returned three years later to find no trace of the colonists, save the legendary
CROATOAN carved into the bark of a tree.
There are few stories in American history that hold more allure than this
one. So it's no wonder that it's a mystery people are still trying to
definitively solve. In fact, just this year a new potential clue was found
embedded in one of White's painted maps. And I wanted to solve the mystery, too.
As I did research, I came across the name John Dee, a famed alchemist and
advisor to the Queen, who it turns out was involved in planning the colonists'
voyage… My story clicked into place. But my solution didn't involve going into
the past. Instead I decided to bring the past to us. In Blackwood, when
a mass disappearance occurs on modern day Roanoke Island it turns out two very
smart—and very modern—17-year-olds are tied to the original mystery, and that
they're the only ones who can uncover the truth, at last.