OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – The allotment era and Tulsa’s rise as the “Oil Capital of the World” is a sensitive topic among Muscogee (Creek) families whose ancestors lost their allotments to outsiders. It is also the setting for J.D. Colbert’s new novel, “Between Two Fires.”
Colbert describes the book as a historical fiction thriller. Readers are taken back in time to the early inception of Tulsa, or as Creeks called it, Tvlahasse.
“I would say approximately 90% of what I write about, both in terms of the characters and the events that are portrayed in my book, actually happened,” Colbert said. “I took a little bit of editorial license to keep the story moving at a pace readers tend to enjoy.”
The book centers on Sam Davis, a fictional character living in the allotment era during the 1920s. Davis is a biracial descendent of white and Muscogee ancestry. He brokers real estate between illiterate Muscogee people and outsiders looking to obtain their oil-rich real estate by any means necessary. Although Davis becomes successful at what he does, many Muscogee allotment owners are reported missing or murdered.
When Davis begins to see the error of his ways, he starts to uncover a massive conspiracy to steal Muscogee allotments. As the plot thickens, Davis must bring to light the nefarious schemes to obtain Muscogee-owned lands in Tulsa and confront his role.
Published in November of 2022, the book follows “Killers of the Flower Moon,” a nonfiction book about the Osage murders and the formation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In that story, citizens of the Osage tribe were also murdered for their land due to oil resources.
“Killers of the Flower Moon” is also being adapted into a Martin Scorsese film and is expected to be released in 2023. Colbert said it is possible that “Between Two Fires” could also be adapted into a film someday.
“I do have a connection of three degrees of separation from movie producer Taylor Sheridan of Yellowstone fame,” Colbert said. “I am hoping it gets in the right hands.”
When it came to editorial license, Colbert made sure that he had as much control as he could over the story, given the sensitive subject matter. He wanted to ensure that the story of the stolen Muscogee allotments was authentically written and not embellished.
“I feel to a certain degree that I am the voice of those original allottees,” Colbert said. “I didn’t want that voice diminished.”
Colbert intends to write a sequel. He said the story’s focus would be on the Indian guardianship system that allowed Muscogee-owned lands to be taken by non-natives.
“Between Two Fires” currently holds an overall 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. It is available in hardcover, paperback, and Amazon Kindle e-readers.
If you want to learn more about “Between Two Fires” or where to purchase it, you can visit Colbert’s website, jdcolbert.com.