Whatever happened to Tom & Huck? In his new novel released this month, Sawyer and Finn: The War Years, author Richard DeLong Adams offers one possible answer, revisiting two of our the most beloved characters in literature, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and placing them in Missouri at the dawn of the American Civil War.
There, they harmonize with historic characters, including Congressman Frank Blair, the outlaw Jesse James, and Confederate guerilla Wild Bill Anderson, along with those borrowed from Mark Twain's original stories, such as the Widow Douglas, Judge and Becky Thatcher, and Jim, with a few inventions of his own. With this fascinating new story featuring a unique blend of familiar characters, Adams has created a wonderful tour of one of the most tragic episodes in American history. The voices that emerge from this dark storm are potent reminders of who we Americans are, where we come from, and why.
With Sawyer and Finn: The War Years, Adams has created authentically American voices on both sides of our most terrible conflict and has traced to their sources the most intractable of U.S. paradoxes, including the Westward Expansion, slavery, miscegenation, agricultural versus urbanized society, North versus South, and commercial against patriotic interests.
Perhaps the most remarkable achievement of the book is a voice at once contemporary and authentic to the Missouri of the 1860s. The ever-changing aspects of America’s turn from rural to urban, from slavery to freedom resonate today. We see in Adams’s Huck and Tom not only Twain’s America, but our own, and the thunderous collisions of the ongoing ominous tragedy we still can feel today.
In an interview, Adams discussed the allure and challenges of imagining Tom and Huck approximately 15 years older, at the beginning of the Civil War. “If you’re a writer, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are in, a sense, sacred texts," Adams said. "I could feel a little bit of awe and fear in dealing with them, but I didn’t feel inhibited by what I was doing. I felt that Mark Twain was leading me on--especially after I ran across his quote saying it would be interesting to take these characters and visit them again when they’re grown up. I felt like that was Mark Twain welcoming me to do my best.”
This exceptional novel will delight readers and recall why we’re proud however silently, however provisionally to be Americans.
About The Author
Richard DeLong Adams was born in Columbia, Missouri, in 1933. He graduated from Cornell University in 1953 and served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army’s 505th Parachute Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, from 1954 to 1957.
In 1958 he moved to Hollywood, where he entered the film industry. He worked on numerous film and television projects, both as an original writer and as a behind-the-scenes script doctor. His teleplay Honor Thy Mother was nominated for an “Edgar” Award in 1993.
Richard’s extensive travels have taken him to Russia, Central and South America and Asia. He lived in Rome for five years, and spent several years in Mexico. Sawyer and Finn is his first novel.
SAWYER AND FINN: The War Years
A novel by Richard DeLong Adams
Publication: October 8, 2013
Paperback original 978-1-935212-46-1: $16.95
ebook 978-1-935212-45-4: $9.99
Published by Prospecta PressDistributed by Perseus Distribution.