I Pray the Lord My Soul to Keep

I Pray the Lord My Soul to Keep deals with the Civil War in Western Kentucky and Western Tennessee. The protagonist is Jerry Manning, who may be the son of a mad woman, the abandoned offspring of vagrants, or the supposedly murdered child of a well-known military man and planter. The novel details his attempts to discover and verify his identity amid the chaos of the War Between the States. In attempting to do so he confronts divided loyalties, violent hatred, a disintegrating society, and his own inner devils. Moreover, he finds himself drawn to a woman, who is to marry a man who might well be his brother.

Grant’s seizure of Paducah, Kentucky, the Union occupation of Mayfield, Kentucky, the Battle of Fort Donelson, and John Hunt Morgan’s Christmas raid upon Muldraugh Hill are among the historical events depicted.

Strangely enough, the novel is based on John Ford’s Jacobean play Perkin Warbeck, which deals with an historical claimant to the throne of England whose belief might have been sincere. Mary Shelley was also interested in this figure and wrote a novel entitled The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck. In the last decade, several fictional treatments of Warbeck’s career have appeared in England, but as far as I know, this is the first version to transplant to the story to the United States and to the era of the Civil War.

A tidbit of trivia: The segment dealing with the St. Valentine’s Day Battle of Fort Donelson was written before the notorious ice storm in Western Kentucky, with its resultant power outages, but having endured several days in an icy house helped me in revising that section.

“…an enduring tale about a young man’s search for identity and home.” –
Journey McAndrews, Kentucky Monthly Magazine.

I Pray the Lord My Soul to Keep is  available as an ebook for Kindle and other ebook readers.