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Guest Ed Protzel

"Something in Madness" Novel Illuminates Reconstruction, the Roots of America's Racial Divide

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Guest Ed Protzel
I am seeking a book review of my upcoming novel, Something in Madness, the gripping conclusion to my Southern historical DarkHorse Trilogy. Set in 1865 Mississippi, the story illuminates Reconstruction, one of the darkest and least understood periods in American history and the roots of America’s racial divide. I incorporated details of real events and attitudes from the era, as well as varied points of view — black, white, mixed-race, Native American, male and female — to ground both the characters and the story in reality.
Title: Something in Madness (DarkHorse Trilogy, Book 3)
Author: Ed Protzel
ISBN13: 978-1-952816-10-9
Publication date: Oct. 23, 2020
In Brief:
Appomattox ended the war with a penstroke…but the struggle for freedom had only begun.
After the Civil War, abolitionist Durksen Hurst and three black friends return home to a devastated Mississippi, the sole survivors of a Union colored cavalry regiment. But instead of peace, they find unregenerate Confederates who reject emancipation still in charge. Undeterred, Durk opens a law practice to help disenfranchised freedmen — only to be threatened by powerful planters and nightriders. A black school is burned; a petition march to Jackson is terrorized. And when one of his friends goes missing, Durk is horrified to discover Black Codes being used to force freedmen into brutal servitude. Clever Durk schemes to liberate them, but must contend with armed ruffians — and a rigged court system. Will fire and bullets prevail?
In the aftermath of Civil War, half-Seminole Durksen Hurst, his beloved Antoinette DuVallier, a mixed-race beauty, and his confidante, Big Josh Tyler, a former slave, return to Turkle, Mississippi, to begin their lives anew. But the devastation and chaos that greet them are the least of their challenges.

Determined to aid poor whites and blacks, Durk opens a law practice, while attempting to regain the rights to his lost DarkHorse land and Antoinette’s venerable FrenchAcres family plantation, now settled by its former slaves. Big Josh, meanwhile, is set on building a school to educate the town’s newly freed blacks, a practice prohibited during slave times.

But in Turkle, as in most Southern towns, unregenerate Confederates remain in charge. Powerful interests, led by diehard Colonel Rutherford who commands hired killers, use perverse Black Codes and a rigged court system to force freedmen back into virtual bondage.

Durk quickly discovers that Rutherford’s allies also seek Durk’s and Antoinette’s properties and plan to inflict mayhem upon the freedmen settlers. Rutherford, meanwhile, plots to eliminate Durk and Antoinette, who, in opposing the South’s Old Order, have become local pariahs. Further entangling Durk’s strategies, Antoinette’s delusional half-sister, Devereau French, appears in town to claim FrenchAcres — and Durk — for herself.

Can clever Durk, surrounded by the merciless forces of resentment, hatred and greed, outwit Colonel Rutherford and his henchmen? Can he prevail in a court stacked against him? Moreover, can his dream of equality take root — or be suffocated by ghosts of the past?

Bio: Screenwriter turned novelist Ed Protzel is the author of the Southern historical DarkHorse Trilogy (The Lies That Bind, Honor Among Outcasts, Something in Madness), and sci-fi thriller The Antiquities Dealer. A graduate of the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in English, Ed lives in St. Louis.
ARC, sell sheet, book image available. For full author bio and more, visit: http://www.edprotzel.com/

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