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New mystery book explores Bonaparte legend

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CANTON - Matthew J. Glavin is passionate about the Adirondack Mountains.

He also loves stories about hidden treasures and searches to find them.

The 59-year-old Cranberry Lake resident has combined his interests into a newly-released 237-page novel, “Adirondack Treasure, The Bonaparte Legacy.”

“It’s a present-day mystery story,” Mr. Glavin said. “The book itself is fictional, but there are a lot of facts weaved through it. It took a lot of research because I like history to be accurate.”

After retiring and moving to Cranberry Lake two years ago to be with his father, Mr. Glavin became intrigued by local lore about a missing treasure.

According to the legend, enormous amounts of gold, silver and jewels, were brought to Northern New York by Joseph Bonaparte, who was the brother of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, he said.

“The Bonaparte connection with the area fascinated me,” Mr. Glavin said. “I wanted to learn more.”

He learned that after briefly serving as king of Spain in the early 1800s, Joseph reportedly stole the Spanish Royal Treasury and fled to North America with his loot. He purchased 150,000 acres in the foothills of the Adirondacks that now encompasses the town of Diana, Lewis County. Some believe the treasure is somewhere in the bottom of Lake Bonaparte, halfway between Watertown and Cranberry Lake. Others believe it’s still hidden in Bonaparte Cave State Forest, town of Diana, Lewis County.

“The cache was never found and rumors of its location have been part of local lore ever since King Joseph returned to France in 1838,” Mr. Glavin wrotes in the book’s prologue. “To this day treasure hunters continue to search the caves of the state forest and the bottom of Lake Bonaparte.”

Set in the present day, the plot and characters are fictional. However, the story also manages to weave in current issues like the major resort development proposed for the Big Tupper Ski Area.

“I spent two months just on character development. I had to know these people,” Mr. Glavin said. “The Tupper Lake development project is a major story in the book. There is also a murder.”

The book is for sale at some area Kinney Drug stores, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York and the St. Lawrence County Historical Association. The St. Lawrence University library also has copies.

Mr. Glavin is hosting two book signings on Oct. 12. The first is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kinney Drug Store, Canton, and the second is from 4 to 7 p.m. at Kinney Drugs, Potsdam. He is also scheduled to speak at the Jan. 17 brown bag lunch at the St. Lawrence County Historical Association.

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