Civil War is background for Hancock’s second novel

George Hancock’s second historical fiction novel, “A Killing At The Inn,” was released this spring. The book is set in Ridgefield during the Civil War and is the second of a three-part series.

George Hancock’s second historical fiction novel, “A Killing At The Inn,” was released this spring. The book is set in Ridgefield during the Civil War and is the second of a three-part series.

As the town marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Ridgefield writer and historical re-enactor George Hancock has released his second novel, reflecting how the war affected Ridgefield.

A Killing At The Inn is the sequel to Mr. Hancock’s first story, This Quiet Place, which appeared last July.

The story ranges from 1858 to New Year’s Day in 1863, explaining what town looked like in the years prior to the conflict and how things changed when southern states began to secede, beginning with South Carolina in December 1860.

“People here couldn’t understand why southern states were seceding, they didn’t see it coming until January 1861, and they didn’t think the war would last more than three to six months when it began in April 1861,” Mr. Hancock said. “This was a very sheltered town back then, with people minding their own business.”

Although the effects of the war on the town took nearly two years to be felt, Mr. Hancock believes the period was an important to write about.

“We were secluded here, but there’s enough history here to show that the war did affect us,” Mr. Hancock explained. “We had to bury sons who lost their lives and we displayed a tremendous amount of national pride in wanting to keep the Union together, no matter what the cost.”

Besides the backdrop of the Civil War, the main difference between the two works of historical fiction is that A Killing At The Inn has an inciting incident — murder — that takes place in 1859.

“I really wanted to get the history in there and have the Civil War be a part of the background,” Mr. Hancock said. “I also really wanted to include this story of espionage and deceit that expands on the fact that the town was changing from this quiet place to one that was a lot more noisy.”

While a murder triggers the plot, he said, the story doesn’t include much violence.

“The violence is just part of the plot — there’s nothing in there about a gun fight or anything like that,” he said. “It’s a device used to kill this character, Captain Joseph Nathan Hale, and it happens quickly.”

Mr. Hancock’s protagonist from the first book, Keeler Dauchy, has aged more than 30 years and now has a son Jacob, who has enlisted to fight.

“He has seen so much of the town’s history and learned a lot over the years,” he said. “He’s much more mature voice at this point in his life. He wants to make things right around town and be a good citizen, but he’s worried about his son, who’s fighting in this war and doesn’t know if he will return or not.”

Mr. Hancock doesn’t want to ruin the surprise, but a third novel is in the works to be released as early as the end of the year. Its tentative title is Until Jacob Comes Marching Home. 

“The first chapter is written along with the introduction,” he said. “I’d like to have it completed by the end of the year if I can get it written.”

The story will take place from 1863 to after the end of the war in June 1865, a eriod which saw the town take a lot more active role in the war, according to Mr. Hancock.

“The third book will focus on the aftermath of the war and how Ridgefield reacted to these guys’ coming home,” he said. “There were no parades or big celebrations, just a few quiet reunions and life continued on.”

Mr. Hancock  hopes the trilogy will give the town an oral legacy it can pass on, even if it’s based on a fictional story.

“I hope these stories become staples in the community,” Mr. Hancock said. “I am having fun with them. I really like writing about Ridgefield and I like to be a story teller whether its vocally in a theater performance or on the page…

“Oral tradition is important and it’s important for us to remember our history — the families who once lived here and their stories — and what has happened here over the past 200-300 years.”

Mr. Hancock will be dressed as Keeler Dauchy during the Soldier’s Fair on June 8  at the town’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

 A Killing At The Inn can be purchased at Bissell’s Pharmacy, the Keeler Tavern, Books on the Common, and Bella Home. 

About author

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© HAN Network. All rights reserved. The Ridgefield Press, 16 Bailey Avenue, Ridgefield, CT 06877

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress