Monday, June 25, 2007

Revenge and Redemption

Revenge & Redemption: A Novel of Love and Conflict in the Civil War

Brad E Hainsworth
This weeks guest was prolific LDS historical fictionist (and political commentator/aficianado) Brad Hainsworth, who has recently published his eagerly anticipated follow-up to the Heroes of Glorietta Pass, Revenge and Redemption. While we were thrilled to have Brad back on the show, we frankly were a little surprised he would return, what with everything Doug said in their interview from 2005. And we quote:
Doug: Now, this is co-authored--we have another author listed here--but Richard
Vetterli is no longer with us. Maybe you could tell us how all of this works.

Brad: ... early in the book's development, Richard passed away
...(you know Doug, when people die, they can't write books anymore.
Or host radio programs)

Doug: What a great thing.
And yet, in spite of that interchange, Brad returned to ELEV (which is a testament to the power of Doug Wright! WRIGHT ON, Doug).
Before getting into the book, a quick note on Brad's introduction. In a bold move that's sure to elicit an angry response from any Congressmen that gets their hands on this book (which is sure to include some of Washington D.C.'s premiere power brokers), Brad writes (or, Wrights) his introduction "from the Utah territory." Clearly unhappy with the nuisance that is the federal government's intervention in our fine state (you know, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other "socialized" evils), Brad fires the first shot in the volley (maybe not fatal, but stinging) that is sure to follow between the US government and the, ..., well, just Brad. Don't worry Brad, we've got your back! But on to the book.
It's rare to find an author not so versed in history (and politics), who is yet brave enough to stand up and write an entire series of historical fiction novels (and in a thrilling moment from the show, Brad revealed that he's got at least one more book in him, and possibly even two, as a part of this series). When asked by Doug about the difficulty in researching the history behind his books, Brad confidently declared that its not hard at all, since he doesn't do any research. And Brad, your book proves it! By putting Porter Rockwell in the thick of the Civil War, its as though you've said to your editors, "Accuracy be damned. These people just need to be entertained! And entertained we have been (both by your book, and Doug's interview with you). All this from an author who when listing the great battles of the Civil War, includes not just Gettysburg, Antietam, and Shiloh, but also the Mormon War of 1857, when President Buchanan sent federal troops to Utah to put down a non-existent rebellion among the Mormons.
Unlike other authors of LDS fiction (whom we shall call lazy?), Brad does not limit himself to just writing about Mormon characters. Instead, in an act of sheer genius, Brad writes about normal people (or at least as normal as you can be with a name like Wolf Striker) who just happen to cross paths with Mormons. Another brave move from a particularly daring author, but it pays off big time. While reading it, I almost forget that I'm reading a book published by our beloved Des Book (hereafter cited as DB).
During the interview, Doug asked Brad how he developed such complex and rich characters (with incredibly inventive names) in the book. And in a moment nearly approximating a testimony meeting, Brad confided to his listeners that "the characters just came to him." No doubt an individual as layered as Wolf Striker could not have simply been made up by Brad (especially that name, which rumor has it was originally slated to be Wolf Petter, but was changed by Brad after several visits from Wolf Striker himself). Based on Brad's detailed description of Mr. Striker, he is an ominous and imposing figure, and kudos to Brad for not shrinking from the task of confronting and writing about someone so dangerous that they don't just touch the wolves, they strike them! In this same vein, we can't help but wonder if the new details that Brad provides about Porter Rockwell's life might in fact have been dictated by Porter himself!?! Let's keep an open mind people - you know Doug does.
In conclusion, on a scale of 1 to 5, we rate the book a solid 5 (Wright on, Brad, Wright on!), and the show a 4.5 (not nearly enough stories from Doug's personal life - no references to celebrities he knows, and important people he is friends with). And now, for the question:
Did Doug read the book?
Superfan 1: No - a little too much history for Mr. Wright
Superfan 2: Absolutely - are you crazy, superfan 1? Doug was on during this show, and it was clear that this book was Doug-worthy in every way.

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