(Spring of 1813, is the second volume of the Beyond 1812 series, set in the War of 1812 in which General Brock survives the Battle of Queenston Heights.)
Avid readers of novels are familiar with the works of Stittsville author, John W. Egan. He has penned novels that burst with history and intrigue such as his Gaspunk Series and his series on Angel and Mercy who survived the civil war as child soldiers in Sierra Leone where readers are taken on a history trip – the second book in this series was co-written with Bakar Mansaray, a notable author himself. John has now published the second book in his historical fiction series Beyond 1812. His new novel is entitled Spring of 1813. At the Ottawa Public Library, ‘holds’ by people wanting to read John’s books of intrigue have kept them off of the shelf for almost a year.
Despite the trauma of battles that haunt him and an estranged family he struggles to accept, James Butler tries to do what is right, find love, and make his own way in the world. By saving one life, James takes history down a different path from ours. By following his premonitions, he will shape the events of this war, the lives of millions, and the map of a continent as winter edges into 1813.
John had published the first novel in this series, Winter of 1813, in 2018, we wanted to know why the gap of time in between novels. John told Stittsville Central, “It took me eight months to write the story. I wrote the early chapters in three months in 2019. Then I took a two-year break to revise the story’s and series’ outlines, do more research on the history of the 1812 era, and write two other novels. Once the story and the series felt right and complete, I was able pick up the 18,000 word partial draft in January and submit a completed 92,000 story to the editor in five months”.
The protagonists of the series are James Butler and George Macdonald, cousins on opposite sides of the war and a family division that goes back to the War of Independence. James is a company commander and a confidant of the British General, Sir Isaac Brock. George is the dedicated eyes and ears of the American General, William Harrison, keeping track of the general’s friends and foes. On top of the war and their generals, the cousins’ loves, friends, and families further complicate their lives.
In a tip of the hat to our region’s history, two new, recurring characters are introduced: Captain George Burke of the 100th Foot and Captain Bill Bradley of the 104th Foot. In our history, George Burke goes on to help establish Richmond while Bill Bradley helps settle Carleton County. But their fates are not yet set in this alternative history.
We know that our local Goulbourn Township history reaches back to this time – we asked John how was his decision made to introduce these two historical characters into the novel? “As part of building a consistent and plausible alternative history for this series, I tracked the positions of most British regiments in North America during the war, in both our history and my altered history. The 100th and 104th regiments were in the right place in my altered history for this story and they each had several officers who could do well as two important secondary characters in series. George Burke of the 100th Foot and William Bradley of the 104th Foot were among those who suited the needs of this novel and the series. And since they went on to later play a role in our local history, I chose them to be those characters as a tribute to the history of where I live.”
Many other historical figures also appear in the series, including Sophia Shaw, Hamilton Merritt, Richard Peirpoint, Tecumseh, John Norton, John Brant, Winfield Scott, Benjamin Forsyth, Betsy Pride, Pierre Navarre, and Joseph Willcocks.
Digging through first-hand accounts and histories of that era, the battles, and the people portrayed help make this altered history feel authentic. Tracking down the weather at critical points was a bigger challenge, but successful in most cases. Weather affected travel, communications, and decisions, more so than it does now. Three of the four battles in this volume match the details of the battles fought in our history as this altered timeline does not affect everything yet. Even the details about the smallpox variolations and vaccinations mentioned in the story are taken from our own history.
As this story begins where the last story ends, General Brock’s army is stretched between General Harrison’s army in Ohio and General Dearborn’s in New York. As winter melts away, the armies and the cousins each prepare for the campaigns both sides will launch when summer comes. But first, they must deal with what happens before then, in the spring of 1813.
The eBook edition of Spring of 1813 is sold by all major booksellers while Amazon sells both the ebook and the paperback edition. It was recently published at the end of July.
John is now working on a new novel, Empire’s Victory. It is set in Constantinople and will involve the Nika Riots, Roman airships, and Cillian. We look forward to the release of this next novel.