For immediate release | May 10, 2016

'Valley of the Shadow' wins W.Y. Boyd Award for excellence in military fiction

CHICAGO — The novel "Valley of the Shadow" by Ralph Peters, published by Forge Books is the winner of the 2015 W. Y. Boyd Literary Award honoring the best fiction set in a period when the United States was at war. The $5,000 award and citation, donated by author W.Y. Boyd II, recognizes the service of American veterans and encourages the writing and publishing of outstanding war-related fiction. The author, Ralph Peters, is the first three-time winner of the W. Y. Boyd Literary Award

"Valley of the Shadow" details the military action that took place in the Shenandoah Valley during the critical year of 1864, when the armies of the North and South met in bitter conflict for control of the valley. The Shenandoah Valley was the breadbasket for the South and was a constant source of concern to the North, as it was within 100 miles of Washington, D.C. This “back door” to the capitol proved to be great concern in the summer of 1864, when Confederate General Jubal Early led a raid that almost reached Washington before being turned back by Union General Lew Wallace.

The author’s retelling of the military campaign in the Shenandoah Valley is rich in detail and examines some of the personalities of the major and minor characters who took part in this bloody campaign. The description of the military tactics, military leadership and battles fought is outstanding. Peters has the ability to write superb historical military fiction. Perhaps his strongest trait is to bring the history and historical figures to life on the pages of his novels.

"Valley of the Shadow" is a major contribution to Military Fiction on the Civil War.

The members of the W. Y. Boyd Jury overwhelmingly selected Valley of the Shadows for this year’s award. The annual award will be presented on June 26 at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Members of the 2016 W. Y. Boyd Literary Award Jury are the chair, Robert Schnare, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island (retired), Lawrence Clemens, United States Naval Academy, Nimitz Library, Annapolis, Maryland, Jay Johnston, Farmington Public Library, Beth McGuire, middle school librarian, Hempfield Area School district, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, Maxine Reneker, Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, California, (retired), and Ronald Steensland, Lexington (Kentucky) Public Library (retired) residing in Panama City, Florida.

For more information on the W.Y. Boyd Literary Award and how to submit a nomination is available on the ALA website (


Cheryl Malden

Program Officer