A Personal Gamble

Former U.S. Congressman Bob Steele's new novel 'The Curse'



After he left Greenwich more than two decades ago, former U.S. Congressman Robert Steele settled in Ledyard, right on the edge of the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Reservation. The Southeastern hamlet gave him a front row seat for witnessing the remarkable development of two mega-casinos by the descendants of once rival Native American tribes. From the inherent political controversies to gambling’s sometimes addictive allure, Steele found the impact the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos had on his adopted corner of Connecticut fascinating. “It occurred to me I was living through one of the most remarkable stories in the state’s history. Really, it was the stuff of a novel.” So he wrote one.

The former gubernatorial candidate spent five years researching, writing and imagining The Curse, a multigenerational epic that takes readers from Connecticut’s Puritan beginnings and the Pequot Wars of 1637 and spins its ways to the roulette wheels of a fictional third casino. Bob, who has returned to Greenwich and its environs as part of his ongoing book tour, explains the novel became a creative way to express his fascination with the history, politics and conflict that brought casino gambling to Connecticut in the ’90s. He sets the stage for his yarn with a poignantly brutal account of the real-life Indian attack on Puritans at Wethersfield—and an equally violent retaliatory attack—but quickly moves forward 350 years to explore casino development through fictional descendants of these early clashes. “What many people don’t realize is that our early Indian and Puritan history impacts us to this present day,” says Bob. Beyond looking to the past to inform the present, “I wanted to write a riveting and engrossing novel that would also set the stage for what is about to happen here.”  For Bob imagines the drama that unfolds in The Curse as a sort of prequel to a bleak future he envisions for the state’s gaming industry. He notes that growing efforts to bring casino gaming to neighboring New England states and New York are encroaching threats. “The dynamics will never be quite the same. The market is saturated. Once a new casino is built, it will be successful the first year, but after that I expect they will all struggle,” he says. He notes that slot revenues in Connecticut casinos—once the two biggest in the world—have already dipped from an annual peak of $430 million down to $300 million and counting. Does that mean he’s penning a doomsday sequel? “No, no, no,” laughs Bob, who says his inaugural effort was so consuming he needs a creative hiatus. Still, expect the casino story to continue to be a page-turner. —Beth Cooney Fitzpatrick

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • Cool and Collected ‘14

    2014.07.10
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    (Gallery 1) Featuring artists:  Carla Goldberg, Melanie Kozol, Francis Sills, and Eve Stockton Summer exhibition at Kenise Barnes...

  • Wine Time Social Hour

    2014.08.29
     @ Barcelona Wine Bar

    Fairfield Monday - Friday 3 - 6:30pm $5 select wines, $4 well drinks, $3 beers. 3 for $16 tapas Greenwich Monday - Friday 4 - 7...

  • TREEHOUSES: Look Who's Living in the Trees!

    2014.06.21
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Saturday, June 21 - Monday, September 1 Hidden in the leaves, snug in the trunk or burrowed under the roots, what types of animals actually...

  • Exhibit: Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.03
     @ Bruce Museum

    May 3 – August 31, 2014 Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing This exhibition focuses on two of the world’s leading...

  • Seaside Center: Arts and Crafts

    2014.07.18
     @ Seaside Center

    Let your creativity float free! Practice the art of Gyotaku fish prints; make a sundial, a shell wind chime, or fish bowl! Activities vary every...

  • Vals Free Weekly In-Store Wine Tasting | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.09
     @ Val's Putnam Wine And Liquors

    Each Friday we feature new wines just released and new to market for you to have an opportunity to taste and learn about through our sponsored...

  • Wine Time Social Hour | Greenwich, CT

    2014.01.27
     @ Barcelona Greenwich

    $4.00 select wines, $4.00 well drinks, and $3.00 beers.

  • Happy Hour | Greenwich, CT

    2014.01.26
     @ Morello Italian Bistro

    Refresh yourself with our famous Red & White Sangria! Don’t forget that during happy hour every day 4:30pm-6:30pm your 2nd drink...

  • Saturday Vals Free Weekly In-Store Wine Tasting | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.10
     @ Val's Putnam Wine And Liquors

    We will feature an array of new and different International wines that are selected by our staff as “Staff Picks Favorites” in...

  • Polo Benefit for Hope

    2014.08.31
     @ Greenwich Polo Club

    For the second year in a row, Virginia's House of Hope is having a fundraiser at the Greenwich Polo Club! Join us on Sunday, August...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • Animal Meet and Greet

    2014.06.22
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 22 - August 31, 3:30 - 4:00pm Stop by for a chance to meet one of our Overbrook Nature Center or Heckscher Farm animals up...

  • Bar: Live Music | Greenwich, CT

    2014.03.09
     @ Barcelona Greenwich

    Join us in Greenwich every Sunday for live music and half-priced bottles of wine!

  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

    The boat "Prudence" departs from the Delamar Hotel Dock on 500 Steamboat Rd. All the wine is sponsored through VALS with food...

  • Exclusive Tour of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery

    2014.09.09
     @ Yale University Art Gallery

    Join JCC Greenwich for an exclusive tour with museum curator Elizabeth Manekin. The collection is noteworthy for exemplary works from the...

  • Understanding the Gaza War: Strategic & Political Implications

    2014.09.09
     @ Greenwich Library, Cole Auditorium

    Dr. Efraim Inbar is a Professor in Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University and Director of its renowned Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic...

  • Bruce Museum: Look and See - Into the Deep

    2014.09.10
     @ Bruce Museum

    A program especially designed for children ages 3-5 years and their adult caregivers, who will explore the Museum’s exhibition through...

  • College Admissions Boot Camp | Greenwich, CT

    2014.09.13

    College Prep 360 will be offering two college admissions “boot camps” in their Greenwich office over the summer. The first workshop...


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. Best of Greenwich
    Delamar Greenwich Harbor
  2. 10 Things Greenwich Teens Can Do This Summer
    One Greenwich teen shares some suggestions for summer fun!
  3. Villa Maria School: Annual Spring Gala
    Richards of Greenwich
  4. Save the Children Benefit
    Riverside Yacht Club
  5. Twelfth Annual New York Smile Event
    Cipriani Wall Street