During the 1990s, two Connecticut Indian tribes opened the world’s two biggest gambling casinos in the southeastern corner of the state, resulting in what has been termed a “gambling Chernobyl.” The Curse is a novel based on those events. It begins in 1637 with the massacre of the Pequot Indians and a curse delivered by a Pequot sachem to the young English soldier who is about to kill him. The story then jumps 350 years as the soldier’s thirteenth-generation descendant, Josh Williams, becomes embroiled in a battle to stop a newly-minted Indian tribe from building a third casino that threatens his town and ancestral home. The lure of easy money drives everyone from the tribe’s fraudulent chief to a shadowy Miami billionaire, venal politicians, and Providence mobsters, while a small, quintessential New England town must choose between preserving its character or accepting an extraordinary proposal that will change it forever. As the battle over the casino reaches a climax, Josh discovers startling truths about his family’s past including centuries-old events that appear to be impacting the present with devastating effect.
Connecticut author Martin Shapiro has described the novel as “an epic story of politics, identity and greed that will leave you wondering where America is headed.”
ROBERT H. STEELE is vice chairman of an international retail marketing agency and has been a director of numerous companies. A graduate of Amherst College and Columbia University, he served in Congress and was a candidate for governor of Connecticut. He lives with his wife in Essex, Connecticut.