August 1590, John White...found Roanoke deserted and its makeshift houses dismantled. The only clues were letters carved into a tree 'CRO' and a post with an inscription in capital letters 'CROATOAN'. Missing was the emblem of a cross, 'a secret token' that the colonists had earlier agreed to leave, if necessary, as a sign of distress ... The Secret Token spanning more than 400 years, offers the most authoritative account of the Lost Colony to date, if not the last word.
...focuses not just on the very sturdy evergreen mystery the lost colony of Roanoke (which, as he points out, historians and archeologists have for years been patiently pointing out was not actually 'lost') but also on the origin and growth of the legend itself. ... The story was once a familiar part of any elementary-school American history education: in 1587, the Roanoke colony was found deserted – even the houses and barricades were gone. The only clue was the 'secret token' of Lawler's title, carved into a tree at the settlement site ... Of course The Secret Token won't stop or even stall the outlandish speculation about Roanoke's fate (space aliens have, inevitably, been dragged into the whole thing many times), but readers who prefer the facts need look no further.
A sweeping account of America's oldest unsolved mystery, the people racing to unearth its answer and what the Lost Colony reveals about America today ... In The Secret Token, Andrew Lawler sets out on a quest to determine the fate of the settlers, finding fresh leads as he encounters a host of characters obsessed with resolving the enigma ... offers a new understanding not just of the Lost Colony and its fate, but of how its absence continues to define -and divide -America.