Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Atlanta In the first novel ever written by a U.S. president, Jimmy Carter tells the story of the Revolutionary War in the South through the eyes of the farmers, British spies and American Indians.
"The Hornet's Nest," released Tuesday, weaves the lives of early Americans and the British into a bloody wartime narrative. It is his 18th book.
"It's almost impossible to find this information in one place," Carter said Monday from his home in Plains, Ga. "Almost all the impressions of the Revolutionary War are confined to Bunker Hill and Paul Revere's ride."
Carter's story follows the paths of Georgia militia leader Elijah Clarke, British commander Thomas Brown and independent frontiersman Ethan Pratt. He paints a South filled with deadly battlegrounds, changing allegiances, Indian massacres, political dissent and undecided colonists.
The 79-year-old Carter became interested in writing the novel when he found a dearth of reliable information about the Revolutionary War in the South, where important battles were fought in places such as Savannah and Augusta, Ga., and Charleston, S.C.
"Since my ancestors were involved in it, and I had some reports on what they had done and their experiences, I decided to put it together as a combination of historical figures and fictional characters," Carter said.
Carter spent seven years writing "The Hornet's Nest," which takes place in Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas. He read more than 35 books about the Revolutionary War and consulted with several professors to learn about creative writing. He painted the book jacket himself.