Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process
Four Fires is a 90,000-word novel about coming of age in a military family. The
story follows three generations of American veterans, capturing the nature of military
tradition and our obsession with war.
After Elijah Alcott’s father, an Army Ranger, falls from a helicopter in a fatal
training accident in 1993, Elijah is sent to live with his paternal grandfather, Papa, in
rural Washington. There he meets his cousins, Eric and John, and the girl next door,
Simone. Together they navigate the pitfalls of love, friendship, loss, and things left
unfinished, all under the specter of military heritage, of past wars, and of future wars that
will tear them apart.
Four Fires examines the full extent of war’s impact on its participants and
observers, both before and after battle. But it goes beyond the retelling of wartime
experience, seeking the root of war’s influence as its stories and myths pass from one
generation to the next.
Lance, Brian T., "Four Fires" (2015). Master of Fine Arts in Professional Writing Theses. 3.