Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Francis Hamit, Author of The Shenandoah Spy, Publishes Second in Confederate Secret Service Series!

The Queen of Washington

By Francis Hamit

I never enjoyed history in school; however, I have found that learning more about early America, and, especially, about the women involved, has been a wonderfully refreshing experience. Hamit's first book, The Shenandoah Spy (Check out my review!) shared a little known story of Belle Boyd, a Confederate Army spy and scout...

His second novel is an alternative history story leading up to the Civil War! I'll be reading soon and providing my review, but here's some preliminary information:

From Brass Cannon Books
Pine Mountain Club
Frazier Park, CA
Brass Cannon Books.net

Brass Cannon Books Announces the Release of the Second Book in Francis Hamit's Confederate Secret Service Mega-Narrative

Socialite and political operative Rose Greenhow, a "proud Southern woman" was "The Queen of Washington" during the years immediately before the Civil War. As the country split apart, she used her connections to create a very effective spy ring that developed the intelligence that allowed the South to prevail at the first battle of Manassas (or Bull's Run).

The widow of a State Department official and the protege of such power players as John Calhoun and Colley Madison, Rose used her romantic relations with Union government officials to gather information for the South, until her arrest by Allan Pinkerton on August 23, 1861. She was then held under very adverse conditions in her own house and then in the Old Capitol prison until being sent South ten months later. Her ordeal was shared by her eight-year-old daughter.

Hamit's book is an alternative "what-if" history that asks when her spying career actually began. "There are indicators that she may have already been a spy and agent of influence for the French and British legations for years before, perhaps even before the Mexican War," Hamit said. "She was certainly involved in some shady attempts to bring Cuba into the United States as a Slave state through one or more 'filibustering' expeditions, and she was also involved in the Limantour land claims in California, testifying in support of them. These were finally dismissed by the Federal District Court as 'the most audacious fraud in history.'" Her husband's last job was as an Associate Law Counsel for the California Land Commission, and the record seems to indicate that he opposed these claims before he died under mysterious circumstances in San Francisco in 1854.

"This gave me an opportunity to look at the run-up to the Civil War and the geo-political game that was being played out between the forces of Manifest Destiny and the French and the British efforts to divide the Unites States and keep it from becoming a Great Power. This part of the conflict is usually overlooked now, but by starting this novel in 1850 and looking at possible alternative explanations, we can not just provide an entertaining novel but provoke some thoughtful discussions."

Hamit's first novel in this narrative is "The Shenandoah Spy" which examined the early career of Confederate Army spy and scout Belle Boyd, the first woman in American History to be commissioned an army officer. It was published in 2008 to widespread favorable reviews and is still in print.

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  1. This is new information for me. It sounds like a very interesting book. The research for it must have been fascinating.