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Thomas G. Moore, R.I.P

August 29, 2021

On April 13 we conducted a discussion with six “serious men” who write novels. It is my sad duty to inform you that one of these six, Tom Moore, has died.

A full profile of Thomas Moore Is posted at this “Amazon Author” page.

In anticipation of his participation in this discussion Mr. Moore wrote:

“Why write historical fiction?” Good novels are often built on a powerful “what-if” moment that inspires the author, whether contemporary of taken from history. 

CONTEMPORARY: What if a leading candidate for President, a secret alcoholic, caused a fatal traffic accident just as his campaign was getting started?  A great story idea, by the way!

HISTORICAL: What if a young Confederate scout found himself at the crucial time and place at Gettysburg but refused to shoot down an enemy from ambush, thus ensuring the South loses the battle? 

FUTURISTIC/FANTASY: A hugely successful 2012 novel in German, now a blockbuster film, is entitled LOOK WHO’S BACK, or in German, ER IST WIEDER DA.  What if Adolf Hitler was somehow transported back from the past into the present? If strong enough, the “what-if” proposition can be the seed that contains the potential for the entire tale — plot, character, setting, and tone (comic or tragic). 

Two of my three novels could be considered “pure” historical fiction. The other, THE HUNT FOR CONFEDERATE GOLD, is a hybrid — an historical backstory with a contemporary mystery/political thriller as the focus.

The main reason I like historical fiction, apart from a general interest in history per se, is that the drama of actual events imparts drama and suspense to my fictional scenario engrafted onto the historical framework.

If readers learn a little true history as a by-product, that’s fine, too.  But my principal goal is a good story that captures and holds readers’ interest, that fulfills the canons of good writing.

A Fatal Mercy: the Man Who Lost the Civil War, by Thomas Moore; Shotwell  Publishing LLC, Columbia, SC, 2019. 

Just before the American Civil War erupts in 1861, Drayton FitzHenry, the son of a prominent South Carolina rice planter, marries an Irish Catholic girl from the North over the objections of both families.  Drayton opposes slavery and secession and hates to leave his bride. Yet when the War erupts, he feels he must join his brothers in the Confederate Army in defense of his state. During the conflict’s most decisive battle, Gettysburg, Drayton makes a decision which he discovers years later caused the South to lose the battle. Losing at Gettysburg means eventual defeat in the War.  By an act of mercy, he is literally “the man who lost the Civil War.” After Appomattox he returns to South Carolina to find his wife and father have died and his home destroyed.  For 50 years Drayton wrestles with guilt and self-reproach until 1913, when he travels to Gettysburg for the 50th Anniversary Reunion of the Battle.  In this actual event, 50,000 Union and Confederate veterans returned to the battlefield for a time of national reconciliation. The Reunion helped heal the still-raw wounds of the War. It also brings Drayton’s story to a dramatic climax in which he sheds his burden to find peace and reconciliation with himself.  

Written in Ireland, A Fatal Mercy was described there as, “Gone with the Wind meets War and Peace.”  It won the Chapter One Contest at the West Cork Literary Festival and was Long-Listed for the 2017 British Bridport Prize for Fictio

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