Mystery, adventure, spies, traitors, Patriots, Tories, and above all, romance, are interwoven in The Traitor’s Legacy Series. Book 1, award-winning historical romance novel, Enemy of the King, is my version of The Patriot with ghostly flavors of Daphne Dumaurier’s Rebecca. Pleasant Grove, the home featured in Enemy of the King, was drawn from Drayton Hall, the oldest preserved plantation in America that’s open to the public, located outside Charleston, SC. I also depicted parts of the old family homeplace in Virginia.
Part of the inspiration behind Enemy of the King came from research into my early American Scots-Irish and British ancestors who fought on both sides of the American Revolution. One direct forebear five generations removed from me, Sam Houston, uncle of the famous Sam, fought in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, NC and kept a diary used by historians today. I was also inspired by the Battle of Kings Mountain, in North Carolina, that helped turn the tide of the revolution in favor of the Patriots, and is featured in Enemy of the King. These accounts turned my focus to the Southern face of the war.
Another tie to the past is my grandfather, seven greats back, Sir George Augustus Elliott, a British general and Governor of Gibraltar during the American Revolution. He was awarded the title Lord Heathfield, Baron of Gibraltar, in honor of his bravery in its defense during the attack by the Spanish and French. While Sir George was giving his all for king and country, his grandson was fighting under George Washington as a commissary officer. There must have been quite a rift in that family. While I’m on the subject of ancestors and the past, I should add that the research for this series is staggering, and seemingly endless.
Story Description for Enemy of the King:
1780, South Carolina: While Loyalist Meriwether Steele recovers from illness in the stately home of her beloved guardian, Jeremiah Jordan, she senses the haunting presence of his late wife. When she learns that Jeremiah is a Patriot spy and shoots Captain Vaughan, the British officer sent to arrest him, she is caught up on a wild ride into Carolina back country, pursued both by the impassioned captain and the vindictive ghost. Will she remain loyal to her king and Tory twin brother or risk a traitor’s death fighting for Jeremiah? If Captain Vaughan snatches her away, he won’t give her a choice.
The sequel To Enemy of the King, entitled Traitor’s Curse, features the fascinating antagonist, British dragoon Captain Jacob Vaughan.
Inspiration behind Traitor’s Legacy:
I’d pondered the sequel, but couldn’t decide on the site. Then in spring, 2012, North Carolinian, Ann See, a big fan of Enemy of the King and colonial American enthusiast, contacted me about setting a sequel in the historically significant town of Halifax, NC. As Enemy of the King takes place in North and South Carolina, and I have strong ties to both states, this suggestion was appealing.
the Owens House
At Ann’s invitation, hubby Dennis and I made a trip to Halifax, and were given a royal tour of this carefully preserved glimpse into our nation’s dynamic past. The quaint town is like a mini colonial Williamsburg. Most impressive among Halifax’s claims to fame, in the spring of 1776, North Carolina’s Fourth Provincial Congress met there, and on April 12, unanimously adopted a document later called the ‘Halifax Resolves,’ the first official action by a colony proclaiming their independence from England. This made Halifax a nest of rebels and thorn in the side of the British––what I needed for my plot.
Much of Traitor’s Legacy takes place in and around Historic Halifax. Person’s Ordinary, featured in the novel, was an important stage-coach stop and is the oldest landmark in Halifax County. Located in Littleton, Person’s Ordinary is the oldest preserved structure of its kind in the East, and once served as a tavern owned by Thomas Person. The British occupied the Ordinary in May 1781 when they made their way through Halifax en route to Virginia.
The British Legion, also known as Tarleton’s Legion, headed by the infamous Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, were on horseback and out in front of the rest of the army under command of General Lord Cornwallis. Tarleton underestimated the harassment inflicted by the local militia, whose stubborn resistance resulted in an extended stay by the British and reprisals against the town. In fact, there was so much looting that when Lord Cornwallis arrived, he had to court-martial and execute one sergeant and a dragoon. Apparently, his lordship didn’t want to leave a trail of animosity everywhere his army went. .
Thornton Hall, the plantation home featured in Traitor’s Legacy, is inspired by a run down but once outstanding old house known as Little Manor. Located a mile or two from Person’s Ordinary, the original home was built by Thomas Person. He wouldn’t recognize it now. Dusk was falling when we drove to the overgrown site to see the derelict house. I knew at once I’d found the perfect home for the novel, and resurrected its glory days. The gardens are also lovely.
Mystery, intrigue, spies, a coded letter, and stirring romance fill the pages of Traitor’s Legacy, while bringing history to life. The story concludes in Williamsburg and Yorktown.
Story Description: 1781. On opposite sides of the War of Independence, British Captain Jacob Vaughan and Claire Monroe find themselves thrust together by chance and expediency.
Captain Vaughan comes to a stately North Carolina manor to catch a spy. Instead, he finds himself in bedlam: the head of the household is an old man ravaged by madness, the one sane male of the family is the very man he is hunting, and the household is overseen by his beguiling sister Claire.
Torn between duty, love, and allegiances, yearning desperately for peace, will Captain Vaughan and Claire Monroe forge a peace of their own against the vagaries of war and the betrayal of false friends?~
Back to the novel that started it all, Enemy of the King made the top ten Publisher’s Weekly BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009 and is on the 2010 Best Romance Novel List at Buzzle. The story received a five cup review from Coffee Time Romance & More and was voted book of the week at Long and Short Reviews.
The third novel in the Traitor’s Legacy Series, entitled Traitor’s Curse, takes place soon after the American Revolution. While also carefully researched historically, the novel has a ghostly element and a mysterious Gothic flavor. Traitor’s Curse came out out November, 2015.
Enemy of the King, Traitor’s Legacy, and Traitor’s Curse are available in print and kindle at Amazon, and in eBook from all major online booksellers.
My Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Beth-Trissel/e/B002BLLAJ6