LEADING A DOUBLE LIFE, A SLAVE REBEL

I heard about Daniel Rasmussen’s book American Uprising, The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt listening to NPR a couple of years ago. What a story! I did some more research and was still spellbound by the events of 1811.

In particular, I’m fascinated with Charles Deslondes, credited with being the prime conspirator. He was a mixed-blood slave driver, which meant he functioned much the same as an overseer on the cane plantation about forty miles north of New Orleans. His master, Manuel Andry, trusted him and gave him extra responsibility and extra privileges – because Deslondes had convinced his master and all the other slaves that he was the white man’s creature.

To have convincingly worn the mask of loyal slave while plotting to overthrow the white man’s rule took extraordinary grit and determination. The only people who knew what was coming were the few other slaves in on the plot. Necessarily the leaders organized the rebels into small cells so that no one knew more than a very few others who were involved.

Two other leaders in particular interest me. Quamana and Kook were Asante warriors from Ghana. They were captured in battle, enslaved, and shipped to Louisiana. But these were not ordinary slaves. They were young, but they were experienced, hardened soldiers who knew tactics and weapons and how to lead men.

I’ve stuck to the facts as I’ve discovered and understood them – mostly – in writing a fictionalized account of this slave rebellion. I do recommend Rasmussen’s book to readers who like their history straight, but I love fiction and readers who prefer to invest in characters and motivations as well as in events may find my new book, The Lion’s Teeth, as exciting as it was for me to write.

The Lion’s Teeth is available on Amazon in both print and digital formats.

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About glcraig

Gretchen Craig’s lush, sweeping tales deliver edgy, compelling characters who test the boundaries of integrity, strength, and love. Told with sensitivity, the novels realistically portray the raw suffering of people in times of great upheaval. Gretchen was born and raised in Florida. She’s lived in climates and terrain as diverse as the white beaches of the Gulf Coast, the rocky shores of Maine, and the dusty plains of Texas. Her awareness of place imbues every page with the smell of the bayous of Louisiana, the taste of gumbo in New Orleans, or the grit of a desert storm. Rich in compelling characters and historical detail, Always and Forever is a sweeping saga of Josie and Cleo, mistress and slave. Amid Cajuns and Creoles, the bonds between these two remarkable women are tested by prejudice, tragedy, and passion for one extraordinary man. Gretchen’s first novel won the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence for Mainstream with Romantic Elements and was chosen as an Editor’s Pick in the Historical Novel Society reviews. Ever My Love, winner of the Booksellers Best Award from the Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America, continues the story of Cleo and Josie’s families, of their struggle for principle, justice, and love in a world where the underpinnings of the plantation culture are crumbling. Crimson Sky, inspired by the pueblos, mountains, and deserts of New Mexico, evokes the lives of people facing neighboring marauders and drought. Now the march of Spanish Conquistadors up the Rio Grande threatens their homeland, their culture, and their entire belief system.
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