In my last blog, we met Durk Hurst, aka “Dark Horse,” the main protagonist in my darkly ironic antebellum South mystery/drama, The Lies that Bind, Turkle, Mississippi, 1859-61. Now I want you to meet Devereau French, the novel’s second protagonist and Durk’s “reluctant” nemesis.
Second protagonist? Yes. The Lies that Bind is unique in many ways, and having two conflicting, sympathetic main characters is one of them. (Incidentally, the novel has been acquired by TouchPoint Press and is due to be published this year.)
The novel revolves around a cast of outsiders, and no one is more of an outsider than the enigmatic Devereau French—not even Durk. Because of Devereau’s position as, technically, the richest landowner with the most slaves in the region, you wouldn’t normally consider him an outsider. But Devereau isn’t living a “normal” life—as you will discover.
In fact, Devereau is more of a prisoner, more trapped, than his own slaves, whom he often envies! Lightly freckled and frail, with cropped auburn hair, Devereau, at thirty-one, has soft, rosy cheeks. Indeed, his “slight stature gives one the sense of an adolescent boy, not a mature man.”
It is with good reason that the Turkle townsfolk call Devereau “the loneliest man on Earth.” Yes, poor Devereau: his darkest secret—one of many—is tearing him apart, driving him to fits of severe melancholy, to contemplate both murder and suicide, and to desperate actions.
When we first see him he is in tears, about to bury the three-year-old child his mother “adopted” for him to ensure the family’s legacy. This is necessary because, according to rumor, Devereau has “never had a wife nor even a sweetheart.” Devereau needs love more than anything in the world, but the life he is trapped in makes that dream nearly impossible to achieve. As the novel’s tangled webs of deceit unravel, you will be surprised when you learn why—but maybe you’ll have suspected all along?
As owner of French Acres, Devereau rules the town by fear, but the townsfolk fear his mother, not him. When Durk Hurst appears, it is in the interest of the French family to eliminate him and steal the land Durk has swindled from a mad Chickasaw chief. So why is Devereau so reluctant to eliminate, perhaps even murder, the interloper? Hint: It may not be what you think.
Up Next: Given that last week was the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s death, I thought it fitting to pay homage to the man who inspired this country to its better angels—a struggle that continues to this day.
In Two Weeks: Meet Devereau’s mother, the reclusive Missus Marie Brussard French, the master manipulator who attempts to control his life.
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Publication date to be announced soon!
Watch for publication of Ed’s novel, The Lies that Bind (TouchPoint Press, 2015), a darkly ironic antebellum mystery/drama set in Turkle, Mississippi, 1859-61.
Ed Protzel’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone. Blog copyrighted by Ed Protzel © 2015.