The Tower at Petite Vigne

IMG_1126The underlying reason for this blog’s existence is to track the progress toward publication of my novel, The Tower at Petite Vigne. I self-published the book back in 2010 but ultimately decided to re-write it, from the ground up.

Having finished that task, I’m confident that I have a much better “product” with which to attract a literary agent and, ultimately, a publisher for the manuscript. The artwork shown above, from the first edition, was a collaboration between me and a very talented designer I know. I like how the design captures elements of The Tower at Petite Vigne’s plot, and hope it will grace the new book.

The following paragraphs give a taste of what the novel is about. I hope it intrigues you, and that you’ll ask friends that like historical fiction to visit and follow my blog, as, nowadays publishers are keen to know an author’s online presence. Thanks!

Set in an occupied French village during World War II, the events described in The Tower at Petite Vigne are emblematic of historian Barbara W. Tuchman’s observation, “War is the unfolding of miscalculations.”

A unique aspect of my work is that Petite Vigne’s mayor Hadie Masson is a black man. Having come from North Africa to fight in the Great War, rootless Masson wanders the French countryside after the Armistice of 1918. The solace he seeks draws him to the quiet village. In time most of Petite Vigne’s inhabitants accept the unusual newcomer but a minority remain suspicious of the “foreigner.”

To the Petite Vignais’ relief they seem to have been overlooked during the German conquest of France in 1940. The arrival three years later of a German Organization Todt construction crew to undertake a mysterious project nearby alerts Masson to the fact that his old enemy’s presence threatens the future of his adopted home.

Supplying free building materials and room and board for his laborers are just two of the many demands made by German foreman Franz Deggendorf. Hoping to blunt the demands’ impact, Masson engages in running negotiations with Deggendorf: his checkered success leads to accusations that he is actually a collaborator. As signs point to the coming of the long-expected Allied invasion of France, Deggendorf is pushed to do whatever is necessary to complete his task. Forcing village boys and men to serve as laborers strains his uneasy relationship with the mayor to the breaking point.

When blueprints stolen by Petite Vigne’s amateurish Resistance cell reveal the nature of the occupier’s project, Masson knows he must act to preserve his village from destruction. What can he do to derail Deggendorf’s plans, even as he fights to maintain his compatriots’ trust?

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