Listen to the story Wednesday, Oct. 16, at noon at B.B. Comer Memorial Library in Sylacauga when Skip Tucker, the author of a new historical fiction book about Jackson, will relate the happenings of that fateful night when the Confederate leader suffered a mortal wound.
Tucker’s program, based on his Civil War novel “Pale Blue Light,” poses the question, “Did Stonewall Jackson really die of friendly fire, or was something more sinister at work?”
“Tucker dares to ask this question in his espionage thriller with a story that reviewers have called ‘historical fiction unlike anything that folks have read about that terrible conflict,’” library director Dr. Shirley Spears said.
“Most Southerners know the legend of Stonewall Jackson, who stood ‘like a stone wall’ and saved the Confederate day at first Manassas,” Spears said.
“The title of Tucker’s book, ‘Pale Blue Light,’ refers to a lesser known nickname for the central figure in the book since it has been said that Jackson’s ‘pale blue eyes shone with light before a battle when his adrenaline began to flow,’” Spears said.
The author set out to bring to readers a living, breathing Jackson, rather than a mere factual account of the circumstances of his death, Spears said.
One reviewer of his book said, “If anyone could write a murder mystery into the Civil War complete with a sexy spy worthy of a James Bond novel, Skip Tucker is the one. His story has more curves than a Smoky Mountains road has curves.”
Tucker’s energetic piece of historical fiction recounts the tale of Confederate soldier Rabe Canon, whose military prowess quickly raises him to become leader of the famed Black Horse Cavalry and brings him into the confidence of major figures in the upper echelons of the Confederacy.
When Gen. Jackson suffers a mortal wound at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Canon suspects foul play. He’s enlisted to undertake a cross-country journey both to secure a fortune for the Confederacy and to discover the truth behind Jackson’s death.
Canon’s journey entangles him with a beautiful Yankee spy as they both try to avoid capture in gold-rich California.
Spears urges everyone to come out to hear Skip Tucker relate his fictional version of the death of Stonewall Jackson.
“Skip Tucker is a lively presenter with a keen interest in Civil War history,” Spears said. “He will combine historical accuracy with an intriguing story to bring to life the tragic events of 150 years ago and to raise provocative questions about the nature of warfare.”
In April of this year, Tucker set out on a 1,500 mile drive to Chancellorsville, Va. for the purpose of promoting the national paperback release of his book. May 2 marked the 150th anniversary of Jackson’s mortal wounding, and over 30,000 people attended the battle re-enactment.
The author is recently back from a national tour with news conferences and book-signings at battle sites where Stonewall Jackson fought, Spears said.
Tucker followed the trail and rough-camped along the way, following the historic trail that Jackson took in his historic campaign through the Shenandoah Valley.
Tucker worked for the Jasper, Ala., Daily Mountain Eagle for 10 years as editor, and also as assistant publisher.
In recent years, he has served as director of Alabama Lawyers Against Lawsuit Abuse and was media director for Judge Charlie Graddick’s 2012 campaign for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Tucker lives in Montgomery.
The “Old Times Are Not Forgotten” brown bag lunch series is sponsored by SouthFirst Bank.
The refreshment room opens at 11 a.m. and participants are invited to bring a sandwich and enjoy drinks and desserts provided by the library.
Working people are invited to come by on their lunch break to enjoy the programs which will begin promptly at noon in the Harry I. Brown Auditorium.
Seating is limited, so groups must have approved reservations and may call 256-249-0961 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to attend brown bag programs.