As the sequel to Morkan’s Quarry, The Teeth of the Souls tells the story of a marriage betrayed, a lifelong and secret love, and an Ozarks city riven by an Easter lynching.
The story begins just after the Civil War when Leighton Shea Morkan, son of Irish immigrants, marries Patricia Grünhaagen Weitzer, daughter of a German banking family. Yet he can’t let go of his childhood love and wartime confidante, the house hand and former slave, Judith. Both unions produce children, one a shrouded secret, and one the heir to the Morkan legacy: the limestone quarries of Springfield, Missouri, and the bloody past, what Judith calls “The Teeth of the Souls.”
Grounded in broad historical research and spanning Missouri’s reconstruction, vigilantism, and fall from grace, The Teeth of the Souls chronicles the violent melding of immigrant strains—Irish, German, Scots-Irish, and African American—into the fabric of the Ozarks.
Steve Yates talked to Kyle Kellums about The Teeth of the Souls on Ozarks at Large, taped April 20, 2015. Steve comes in at 24:13.
“Steve Yates’s The Teeth of the Souls is gripping, well-plotted, and frighteningly authentic. Yates shows great courage as a writer who is not afraid to travel into dark places. With each new work, his craftsmanship matures, and he shows himself to be a true Son of the Border. I believe it time he be acknowledged as one of our premier contemporary historical novelists.”
—Howard Bahr, author of Pelican Road, The Judas Field, The Year of Jubilo, and The Black Flower
“Steve Yates searches out the hidden stories from our regional history. Those events that were murky in the shadows, forgotten, or simply not spoken about are in his hands turned into powerful and fresh fiction. Yates has scope to his ambitions, and talent to match. An exciting new voice.”
—Daniel Woodrell, author of The Maid’s Version: A Novel, Winter’s Bone, Outlaw’s Album: Stories, and Woe to Live On
“Steve Yates has been one of my favorite short story writers for years. But now, with The Teeth of the Souls, he’s becoming one of my favorite novelists. I can’t recommend him highly enough.”
—Tom Franklin, author of Poachers, Hell at the Breech, Smonk, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, and (with poet Beth Ann Fennelly) The Tilted World
“Through beautiful language, sharply-etched characters, and keen detail, The Teeth of the Souls brings back to life a forgotten nightmare episode of American history. And in the telling, compels its readers not to repeat the sins of our fathers—and mothers.”
—Matthew Guinn, author of The Resurrectionist