Descent of Kings

Aaron E. Donovon Hull, University of Colorado at Boulder


The seal of the Territory of Wisconsin of 1836 contends: “Civilitas successit barbarum.” Robert Frost’s poem “The Flood” answers: “[P]ower of blood itself releases blood…Oh, blood will out. It cannot be contained.” This novel is a meditation on the juxtaposition of those two claims. It opens with a battle on the Baltic Sea circa 1000 and closes on the Wisconsin River in the aftermath of the Second World War. Between, the novel crisscrosses the Atlantic several times over, stalking the doomed blood of kings as it branches and roams and reconverges.