In the Time of the Americans

Genre: Action Adventure, Historical Fiction

Book Summary

In 1898, during the Spanish American War, Naval Lieutenant Emile Walker lands with a small party of marines to secure the southeastern coastal town of Ponce in the Caribbean. He does not encounter the anticipated Spanish enemy garrison—since they’ve all deserted to the hills to propagate mixed-blood children of all races and types. Instead he encounters an indolent, lethargic town mired in myths, superstitions and traditions of a by-gone era. The town and its inhabitants had lived secured from the outside world. But now must contend with the coming of the American empire with its ideals of free markets, rugged individualism and ten cent cigars.

In this sleepy town he meets Maria Benítez Izquierdo, and his life is changed forever—and so is that of his forebears to come. The ill-fated romance does not end well, and its tragic impact will foreshadow the destinies of their descendants as they struggle to survive in an era of turmoil, alliances and ruptures, changing social mores and the advent of the American age.

From the mishandled invasion to the modern day, the fates of both the Benítez and the Walkers will be connected. Along the way you’ll meet an unusual cast of characters: Antonio Boglione, the mysterious immigrant from Napoli whose destiny becomes entwined with both families; Doña Saro, whose bootleg home-made rum provides Antonio with his first fortune; Jacobo Levy, the Scholarly Jew, who provides the moral center in a world in free-fall; Leticia Benítez, beautiful and self-centered, whose dalliance with Clayton Walker from the mainland will again revive ancient hatreds; Octavio Mendosa, whose radicalization and hatred of the Yanquis brings untold tragedy to the families and to the town; and the irascible Dixie Walker, a man trying to connect with an era he cannot understand. Through the decades we see the town and the protagonists grow and regress, and change, each controlled by their past and the complexity of time. It is a story imbued with passion, death, and family rivalries. It will all culminate when Maria, the great-granddaughter of both clans, will finally claim both their histories.

The book is a unique family saga rooted in the present, but anchored to the past. Important actions and historical events chronicle the changes of an age: from outhouses to cinemas, from horse carriages to the automobile, from apparitions floating on cobblestone streets to urban new-age housing; and each supplanted in turn by new dreams and illusions.

About the Author

As with most authors, people often ask the question: “Why do I write?” I don’t know about other writers, but for me, the answer is simple: I write to challenge the status quo. The British author, Evelyn Waugh, stated that a writer should be a bit of grit in the machinery, be it capitalism, communism, socialism or fascism. I want people to sit up and challenge the prevailing viewpoint, be it beneficent or repressive. In a small way, I want to contribute to the collective dialogue about ways to expand our social conscience and improve our collective good. I know that this philosophy of writing makes some people uncomfortable. I am aware that I am a sometimes unfashionable, but I am always true to myself and my attitudes and hopefully this authenticity is reflected in my fiction.

When it comes to my fiction, all is seldom happiness and light. I want my readers to consider alternatives, be they in the present or past. Those who want happy endings versus positive endings may well read my work from the perspective of a glass half empty. However, if they can move past this initial reaction, they will discover that the glass is actually half full, as revealed by some kind of positive transformation before the story ends.

I am a seeker, as we all are in our own ways. Personally, my writing seeks truth, including all its complications, complexities, and contradictions. What I believe is that there is always something better out there and it is up to us to find it.

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