Search for the Lost Colony

Press Release

Meet author Andrew Lawler @ Ocracoke Library on Wednesday, July 10th at 7pm.

Search for the Lost Colony

All are welcome to this special program sponsored by Ocracoke Friends of the Library and Books to Be Red. Andrew Lawler, author of The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke, will give a presentation about the Lost Colony and sign copies of his book. Copies are available at Books to Be Red and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Ocracoke Friends of the Library. There'll be refreshments and door prizes, too! 

A sweeping account of Americaoldest unsolved mystery, The Secret Token (Doubleday; 6/5/2018) tells the riveting tale of the disappearance of America’s first settlers and examines how the Lost Colony has come to haunt our national consciousness.

In 1587, 115 men, women, and children arrived at Roanoke Island on the coast of North Carolina to establish the first English settlement in the New World. But when the new colony’s leader returned to Roanoke from a resupply mission, his settlers had vanished, leaving behind only a single clue—a “secret token” etched into a tree.

What happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke? That question has consumed historians, archaeologists, and amateur sleuths for four hundred years. In The Secret Token, Lawler sets and out to gather clues of the fate of the missing settlers at archaeological digs, in European archives, and among the people living today in the Carolina swamps. Along the way he discovers that the story of the lost Elizabethans shines fresh light on the issues of race, gender, and immigration consuming present-day America, and introduces readers to a host of characters—from Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth to Virginia Dare, the first English baby born in America, whose image has recently resurfaced as a symbol of ethnic purity by the alt-right. Lawler writes:

Our 400-year-old obsession with the Lost Colony isn’t just about what happened to a group of English migrants on a remote island. In a nation fractured by views on race, gender, and immigration, we are still struggling with what it means to be American.

Lawler’s deftly researched and absorbing book offers a surprising answer to the old question of the colonists’ fate, as well as a new understanding of how this story continues to haunt and define America. This quote from New York Times bestselling author Rinker Buck hits the nail on the head: Plumbing the depths of the Lost Colony at Roanoke, the most enduring riddle of American history, reveals more about who we are today than the actual fate of the doomed expedition of 1587....[Lawler] deftly shows that the drama of burrowing down rabbit holes and chasing false leads is not simply entertaining but deeply informative about our past."

Andrew Lawler is the author of Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?: The Epic Saga of the Bird That Powers Civilization. He has written more than a thousand newspaper and magazine articles from more than two dozen countries; his byline has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic, Smithsonian, and many other publications. He is a contributing writer for Science and a contributing editor for Archaeology. His work has appeared in The Best American Science and Nature Writing.


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