- N. N. Light
PRESIDENT HAMILTON: A Novel of Alternative History is a BHW pick #historicalfiction #hamilton #books
Title PRESIDENT HAMILTON: A Novel of Alternative History
Author Lewis Ben Smith
Genre Historical Fiction/Alternative History
Publisher Electio Publishing
On July 11, 1804, a single bullet changed the course of American history . . . BUT WHAT IF IT DIDN’T?
Alexander Hamilton lies wounded and feverish after a deadly duel that ended the life of Vice President Burr. Hovering near death, he catches a glimpse of what lies ahead – and sees a Civil War that will consume a generation and poison America’s future. This vision compels him to return to the political arena. He sets his eyes on the Senate, and then the White House, enlisting former allies and reconciling with old enemies in his quest to become President and crush slavery. Overcoming great odds while facing down enemies at home and abroad, Hamilton moves steadily toward his goal - but there are some who will stop at nothing to derail the President’s crusade for liberty. Will they succeed?
President Hamilton reintroduces us to the founding generation – the brilliant, crafty Thomas Jefferson, the diminutive genius James Madison, and professional curmudgeon John Adams – and brings on the next generation of American leaders – Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson – in a lively epic of alternative history that begins with the famous duel at Weehawken and rewrites the history of the Nineteenth Century. Can Hamilton persuade the Southern states to change their course? Can his powers of persuasion move the conscience of a nation? Can one man change history?
Turn the page and find out!
“A duel? Alex, how could you!?”
The smack of Eliza’s hand across his cheek echoed through the house like a thunderclap. They had been married for nearly twenty-five years, and Hamilton had seen his wife hurt, angry, mournful, happy, and excited, but the emotion that blazed from her eyes was one he had never seen before. It was pure rage; a towering fury that made him shrink back from her, combat veteran though he was. His cheek reddened from the resounding slap she’d given him, but her words hurt far worse than the blow he had taken.
“Our son died in one of those stupid, stupid ‘affairs of honor,’ and now you dare to go and engage in one yourself?” she shouted, her normally pale-tinted face flush with anger. “What would I have done if you had died? How could you even think about such a thing? To rob me of my husband, after fate has already stolen our sweet Philip from me? Do you think that I could possibly live without you?”
She burst into tears, but her gaze remained fixed on him and her anger did not relent.
“My dear Betsy,” he said, calling her by the pet name she loved. “Please forgive me. Honor required -”
“Bugger your honor!!” she shouted, and he flinched. He had never once, in all their years together, heard her use that phrase. She grabbed the sides of his head and tilted it downward so that their eyes were locked.
“I am sorry,” he began, but she placed her hand over his lips.
“I love you beyond all reason,” she said fervently. “I have borne your children, I have stood by your side even when you betrayed your vows to me. I have counted myself blessed to be wed to the most brilliant man on earth. I did not complain when you paid more attention to my sister than you did to me. I have endured, I have forgiven, and I have always been proud to be your wife. But I want you to swear a vow to me, here and now, Alex, that you will never fight in another duel. No matter what the provocation, no matter how deep the insult cuts, you will NEVER do this to me again. Because if you do, I will leave, and I will take our children with me. It will break my heart, and it will probably kill me – but I will do it. I cannot bear the thought of losing you. Am I clear? Will you promise me?”
“My dear heart, I could never refuse you,” he said. “This was the end. Enough is enough, as they say. I will toss these pistols into the Hudson tomorrow, and never own another set.”
She stared into his eyes for a long moment, trying to measure his words and the spirit behind them. Finally, she sighed deeply, and the anger in her eyes began to fade.
“Then we shall speak of this no more,” she said, “but I meant what I said. Do not forget that, my sweet, irreplaceable Hamilton!”
With that she threw her arms around him, and he winced even as he returned her embrace.
“Oh, Alex, you are hurt!” she said.
“Burr’s bullet grazed my ribs,” he said. “It is but a flesh wound.”
Doctor Hosack had bound the wound tightly before they left Weehawken, but the blood had soaked through the bandage and stained the clean shirt Alex had donned after the duel. The gash in his side was not deep, but it was painful.
“We’ll see about that,” Eliza said. “Up to the bedroom with you! Junior, fetch me hot water and some clean washcloths, please!”
Alex’s second son and namesake was eighteen years old and bore a distinct resemblance to his father, although he was not as much of a prodigy as his father and older brother had been. He had been listening to his parents’ quarrel from the door to the drawing room; and now he ran to the kitchen to follow his mother’s command.
Hamilton let himself be led upstairs. He was still shaken enough by the events of the morning and the unexpected fury his bride had directed at him that he dared not resist. Eliza set him down on the edge of the bed and used a sharp penknife to cut through the white linen that bound him around the chest, exposing the wound to the noonday light streaming in from the window.
The bullet wound was a bit worse than he realized at first – an ugly gash about four inches long, still seeping blood around its edges. The skin had been peeled back by the ball’s passage, and Hamilton realized that he could actually see the white bone of one of his ribs exposed.
“I’m sorry,” he managed to say before turning his head and throwing up the glass of brandy he’d accepted to steady his nerves after the duel. He had seen men killed, and done his share of killing, as a young man during the Revolution, but seeing one’s own bones shining in the light of day was a bit too much for him. As young Alex cleaned up the mess, Eliza busied herself wiping the wound down with hot water and new linens. There were tears streaming down her cheeks as she worked.
Buy Links (including Goodreads)
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/president-hamilton-lewis-ben-smith/1139787757?ean=9781632137104
Lewis Ben Smith’s many friends describe him as a man of numerous talents, and with good reason. As much at home behind the pulpit as he is in his classroom, where he teaches history to students of six different grades, Lewis also loves walking down ancient riverbeds seeking to add to his museum-like collection of stone artifacts left behind by Texas’ ancient inhabitants. He has even helped excavate the fossilized remains of a Mosasaur, a type of marine dinosaur that roamed the shallow seas that once covered his neck of the woods more than 70,000,000 years ago.
A true son of the Lone Star state with Texas roots that go back six generations, Lewis was born in the heart of Texas on December 13, 1963, and graduated from Ford High School in Quinlan in 1982.He is the father of daughters, Rachel and Rebecca, husband since 1984 to love of his life, Patty.
A veteran of four years in the US Navy during the Cold War, as a radioman with a top secret clearance, Lewis was involved in the USS Lockwood incident in December 1985, when the frigate on which Lewis was serving collided with a Filipino freighter near Yokosuka, Japan.
After serving his country, Lewis attended East Texas State University, from which he received his BA in 1990, and his Master’s in 1993. He is now in his third decade teaching history at Greenville Christian School, northeast of Dallas. Every spring as graduation draws near, Lewis takes occasion to hand-write a personalized letter to each senior, reflecting on their time together, and gifting each with a flint arrowhead, as an enduring token of affection toward the students who have passed through his classroom.
A voracious lifelong reader, Lewis saw his thrilling debut novel, The Testimonium, released by eLectio Publishing in the summer of 2014.
It was soon followed in the spring of 2015 by a historical title, The Redemption of Pontius Pilate, and then another modern archaeological mystery, Matthew’s Autograph, published that same autumn. Theophilus, which covers much of the Roman world in New Testament times, came out in 2017, and most recently his fifth novel The Gnostic Library, which sets its cast of archaeologists down amid the turmoil of present-day Egypt, hit bookshelves in May 2018.
Lewis loves the craft of writing and describes it as his mission “….to create fun stories that express a more accurate view of the origins of Christianity than do many popular works of fiction.”
Be that as it may, readers from all backgrounds have become fans of his fast-paced novels, that span the globe and step back and forth across time, seamlessly incorporating his own characters and historical figures alike.
Archeologist, pastor, teacher, third-degree black belt, world traveler, all-around nice guy, and of course novelist, Lewis Ben Smith is truly a man of broad experiences, but the title closest to his heart is one he has held proudly since childhood: follower of Jesus Christ.
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