One Drop--A Slave!
Eddie Price's first ever published book brings into the world a first-rate adventure with more history than fiction.
In 1815 a plot is hatched in the sultry French Quarter of New Orleans. Banker Jules Signet has found a way to acquire vast wealth, exploiting a new “science” that seems to justify racial superiority. He plans to take down some of New Orleans’ top citizens. His web ensnares “Doc” Thomas Applegate, a drunken but highly gifted physician, and John Harkness a weak, corruptible federal judge. Both men become partners in Signet’s scheme. Their first victim is Philippe Bouchard, protégé of Pierre Delacroix, one of New Orleans’ leading merchants. What happens in the courtroom ranks as one of the most appalling crimes in American history. Two people are ruined—Phillippe and Kayla, the beautiful quadroon carrying Judge Harkness’ child. Both are sold as slaves, to work the cane fields of inland Brazil.
Doc and the judge have a change of heart, but Signet is too powerful to resist, and he has already chosen another victim. Doc seeks the aid of Delacroix, a Catholic priest, and Emmett Barnett, a bandy-legged, one-eyed smuggler, leader of a band of bayou pirates. A dangerous sea voyage takes Doc and Emmett to Brazil and Martinique, where proof of Philippe’s ancestry might lie.
Signet casts his web into Kentucky where Craig Ridgeway and wife, Mary, struggle to deal with the “Year Without a Summer,” slave catchers, an epidemic, and shocking misfortune. Despite the hardships, they find themselves caught up in the commercial and political growth that defines the “Era of Good Feelings.” Whiskey distilling, tobacco and hemp farming, hog drives, and a new industry keep Craig and his in-laws busy. Surprise visitors enter their lives—and they may hold the answer to Craig’s slave problem.
Judge Wilfred Bozarth, the local militia commander, engages in an adulterous affair and risky financial speculation that could bring disaster. Despite his moral weakness, his fighting skills will be put to the ultimate test. Evil men descend upon the little settlement of Cottonwood Bend. Outgunned and confounded by new technology, neighbors must come together to defend their own.
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“Eddie Price continues the epic story of Widder's Landing in One Drop A Slave!, introducing a new subplot that takes the reader on a harrowing journey from Kentucky to New Orleans, Brazil to Martinique. Slavery, kidnapping, infidelity and deception are interwoven with historical research to paint a vivid picture of life during the "Era of Good Feelings" and the "Year Without a Summer". A non-stop frontier thriller!.”—James Ventrillo, President, Readers' Favorite Awards
“A spellbinding account of life and misdeeds in the early years of America's history, Eddie does another masterful job of holding the reader's attention with each turning page..”—Joe Bowen,State Senator, Kentucky District 8
"Beautifully written story vividly weaving intriguing trials of the early 1800's in America with love and family, perils and hardships.."—Kay Whitehouse, Award-Winning Author, Florida Authors & Publishers Association
Chapter 1: The French Quarter, New Orleans—September 15, 1815
A sluggish breeze wafted in from the northwest, sweetened with the aroma of sugar smoke from the brick refineries located upriver on the Mississippi floodplain. It stirred the solemn gray strands of Spanish moss that drooped from the big live oaks in the courtyard, making the night just bearable for two gentlemen dining outside on the upper gallery of an elegant townhouse. Another muggy evening was descending upon New Orleans.
Jules Marie Signet gestured for his slaves to clear the table. “Fetch those papers from my desk,” he ordered his negro butler. The men adjourned to a row of chairs arranged so they could view through wrought-iron grillwork the torchlit courtyard below. The butler brought a leather satchel containing Signet’s important papers.
“Cigar?” Signet offered.
“Thank you,” his guest replied.
“Please. You are not having any?”
“I have grown to prefer Kentucky whiskey. This decanter was drawn from the Pierre Delacroix reserve. He purchases his stock from a relative who lives on the Ohio. It is shipped downriver, directly to his warehouses.”
“Then I will have the same.” He watched as the butler poured the amber-colored liquor into balloon-shaped glasses.
Signet volunteered, “Delacroix hoped to manufacture the product here in New Orleans, but he claims we lack the pure limestone water for which Kentucky is famous.”
Alain Morel took a sip and rolled it in his mouth. “It is, quite simply, heaven.”
“Now to business, my friend.”
“The doctor is not coming? He is the critical element of our plan. Without him we stand little chance; if we fail, my reputation will be ruined. I will not proceed without him.”
"A riveting tale of intrigue, murder, duplicity, and gunfights. The maelstrom engulfs Craig Ridgeway and his family. He and his Breckinridge County neighbors battle conspirators. Eddie Price takes aim and hits the mark with the sequel to Widder's Landing."
Reviewed by J. Trace Kirkwood of Kentucky Department for Libraries & Archives
"A wonderful storyteller, Eddie Price interweaves early 19th Century Kentucky farming with the boisterous turmoil of New Orleans, adding in a good measure of life on board river boats and seagoing vessels!"
Review by Kathy Cummings of Pioneer Times USA
"What an amazing book!!! This book follows Widder's Landing. It is carefully researched and full of details and a wonderful story. We cannot keep it in our library. It is a page turner and a book not to be put down. Such a GREAT read!!!!"
"One drop a Slave continues the story from Widder's Landing. Beautifully written story that takes you from Kentucky to Louisiana to places I've never known. This is an amazing story that will make you laugh, cry, or get angry at the shenanigans happening. This is a must read!"