David Farland (who also writes under the pseudonym David Wolverton) is a former BYU professor, and has a varied career in Hollywood, writing Star Wars novels, and other original Sci-fi and Fantasy titles, in addition to this book about LDS history. He is the creator of the daily newsletter for writers, 'Daily Kick in The Pants," and speaks at lots of conferences all over the place.
He's currently in China working on a movie there--he can't give details about it right now, but I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more about it in the future. you can learn more about his books, his speaking engagements, and sign up for his newsletter on his website. His LDS historical book, In The Company of Angels has been getting great reviews.
Here's the blurb from Amazon:
Based on the true story of the Willie Handcart Company of 1856, In the Company of Angels unfolds the triumphant tale of pioneers who struggle against unendurable hardships—persecution, buffalo stampedes, rampaging Indians, lingering starvation, and the early onset of the coldest winter in US history—to find the gentle homeland of the soul.
David Farland’s moving masterpiece echoes the drama of Gone with the Wind and the glory of Ghandi, sweeping from the green fields of Denmark to the icy peaks of the Rockies in a saga that elevates and enriches those that it touches.
In the Company of Angels tells the story of three people Eliza Gadd, Captain James Willie, and Baline Mortensen.
Eliza Gadd is the feisty, sophisticated wife of a Mormon clergyman. When her husband answers his leader’s call to abandon his cottage in England and settle in the Rocky Mountains, Eliza’s world comes apart. She may help her husband pull a handcart with everything that they own across the plains of Utah, but she won’t bring herself to bow to a god she doesn’t believe in.
Stalled by setbacks, the pioneers find themselves forced to take their journey perilously late in the season. The lives of Eliza’s children hang in the balance. But how can she reason with people who believe they are in the hands of angels, and that their leaders, like the Apostles of old, have the power to raise the dead?
Captain James Willie has given a vast fortune, all that he owns, to bring “the poorest of the poor” Mormon saints from England to Utah. Yet as he watches his people starve and the tribulations begin to mount, he finds that his prayers begin to go unanswered and his faith is challenged like Abraham's of old.
Baline Mortensen is a nine-year-old girl fleeing the intense persecution of her home in Denmark. With a child’s pure love, her greatest hope is to learn to become a servant of god—speaking the words that the angels would speak, doing the things that a saint should do. Unexpectedly, she finds herself at the heart of a storm, becoming the glue that binds this band together.