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Secret of the Satilfa

Ted M. Dunagan

NewSouth Books
$21.95 hardcover
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
208 pages
June 2010

Ted Dunagan continues the saga of two adventuresome boys, Ted and Poudlum, in Secret of the Satilfa, the sequel to Dunagan's debut novel A Yellow Watermelon.

In the fall of 1948, young Ted and Poudlum have their post-Thanksgiving fishing trip to the Cypress Hole on the Satilfa Creek interrupted by unwelcome visitors—fugitive bank robbers. They manage to escape and return to the Satilfa to search for money rumored to have been hidden by the criminals—along with seemingly half the locals of their town. However, Ted and Poudlum have a clue no one else possesses, which leads to a triumph they never could have expected.

Secret of the Satilfa is set squarely in the Southern literary tradition, revealing the friendship between Ted and Poudlum despite the racial divide in rural Alabama in the late 1940s. Ted's questioning of why he and Poudlum attend separate schools must go unanswered, while the boys imagine a future without such barriers.

Dunagan again demonstrates his ability to weave a strong narrative with easy-going prose. Peppered with vignettes of rural life,Secret of the Satilfa evokes a simpler time, but before Southern society had come to grips with racial segregation.


"Secret of the Satilfa is a terrific and beautifully-written story of the friendship of two boys, one white and one black. Their bond of respect, courage, loyalty, and hope comes alive within the pages. Their adventure will keep readers of all ages turning the pages." —S.A. Harazin, author of Blood Brothers
"Secret of the Satilfa captures the grace, spirit, and grand adventure of an Alabama childhood. Set in 1948, the friendship between two young boys shows a steadfast alliance that transcends a world of meanness and looks to a future of hope." —Kerry Madden, author of Up Close: Harper Lee
"Secret of the Satilfa is a welcome return to the rural Alabama of the late 1940s that Ted Dunagan made vivid in his award-winning first novel, A Yellow Watermelon. Once again readers will gladly tag along with Ted and his buddy Poudlum, this time for a tale of high adventure, intrigue, and thwarted fishing trips—all wrapped around a daring bank robbery. This tale will cause readers to slow down and savor the pop of catfish frying in a pan, the fear-shiver of the sudden appearance of a cottonmouth moccasin, and the shudder of an old pickup shifting gear. I highly recommend this big-hearted book for any reader, young or old." —Adrian Fogelin, Crossing Jordan and The Sorta Sisters
"Ted Dunagan is a natural storyteller, and his characters and situations will keep readers of all ages balanced on the edge of their seats. Mark Twain, move over." —Raymond Atkins, The Front Porch Prophet