Drawn into the savage clashes of the French and Indian War, Jakob Hochstetler faces an impossible choice—and the irreversible consequences.
In 1738 Jakob Hochstetler and his family arrived in America, seeking sanctuary from religious persecution in Europe and the freedom to live and worship according to their Anabaptist beliefs. Along with other members of their church, they settled in the Northkill Amish Mennonite community on the Pennsylvania frontier between civilization and wilderness and built a home near Northkill Creek.
For eighteen years the community lived at peace. Then, with the French and Indian War raging, the Hochstetlers’ way of life was brutally shattered. Early on the morning of September 20, 1757, their home was attacked by a party of Delaware and Shawnee warriors allied with the French. Facing certain death with his wife and children, Jakob made a wrenching choice that tore apart his family and changed all of their lives forever.
Northkill is closely based on an inspiring true story well-known among the Amish and Mennonites. It has been documented in many publications and in contemporary accounts preserved in the Pennsylvania State Archives and in private collections.
“A deeply moving, even life-changing book, Northkill brings an actual event in American history to life with such skill and poignancy I could hardly bear to read on yet could not put it down. J. M. Hochstetler and Bob Hostetler have brought the pathos and beauty of the American frontier to the page with rare authenticity and depth, crafting a story from their family legacy that will stay with you long after you finish. This historical novel is among the finest I have ever read.” —Laura Frantz, Christy Award finalist and author of The Frontiersman’s Daughter and Love’s Reckoning
“There are few better ways to learn history than through the well-told story. Northkill is one such incredible story of my family torn asunder by massacre and kidnapping, barely patched back together by faith, fortitude, and sheer luck. Read this book if you love suspense and survival against the odds. Read this book to learn about the settling and unsettling of America at the time of the French and Indian War. Read this book to discover how one family’s commitment to peace was tested beyond measure, whose legacy lives on in a trail of descendants who still ponder what the cost of such peaceful convictions mean for us today. Read this book!” —James Hostetler Brenneman, President, Goshen College
“A riveting tale based closely on the life of the authors’ eighteenth-century Amish ancestors during the French and Indian war, Northkill kept me up nights unable to stop reading. The terror, grief, and peril faced by Jakob Hochstetler and his extended family and community are unflinchingly portrayed. Some cling to the hope that even through the most tragic and bewildering of circumstances a loving God has not abandoned them. Others struggle with doubt. Every character’s journey rings with authenticity. I look forward to the conclusion of this thrilling and absorbing story with great anticipation.” —Lori Benton, author of Burning Sky