Editor's Note: This story was written by Patch freelancer Lisa Lenkiewicz.
in the Civil War seems to be at an all-time high. The movie “Lincoln”
is a blockbuster in theaters, and the Avon Free Public Library is
hosting a national traveling exhibit entitled, “Lincoln: The
Constitution and the Civil War.”
is all good timing for Avon author Roland Hicks, who recently published
the first of a six-book series set during the Civil War.
book, “The Ceremony of Innocence,” which Hicks self-published on Amazon
under the byline R.R. Hicks, is a work of historical fiction. Written
in first-person, it is the personal narrative of William Hanlin, a West
Point graduate, who reluctantly is swept back into battle as he trains a
regiment of Connecticut soldiers who will fight in the Civil War, while
harboring a dark family secret.
It is a story of war, death, betrayal, intrigue—with a dash of Scott Turow, said Hicks.
“This is fiction, but all that happens is real,” explained Hicks, who noted his first book is set entirely in Hartford.
55, an attorney specializing in legal consulting and research, is
steeped in minute details of Civil War battles. Off the top of his head,
he referenced historical information about the Battle of Antietam and
the Battle of Fredericksburg, to name a few. He is also well-versed in
literature and has named the titles of his books by borrowing lines from
William Butler Yeats’ poem, “The Second Coming.”
example, his second book, due to be out in January, is titled “The
Falconer.” The third book in the series, scheduled for March, is called
“Things Fall Apart.” References to Poe, Hawthorne and Shakespeare,
popular during the Civil War era, are woven throughout his books.
about the Civil War resonates today,” said Hicks. He cited a fractured
political society then and now and acts of terror and destruction on
both sides of the battle between the Union and the Confederacy
juxtaposed with the world of terrorist activity and fear today.
Further, issues such as immigration, which were divisive in the
mid-1800s, are still issues in American society, noted Hicks.
writing gets darker and darker as the war goes on,” said Hicks. He
added that people today aren’t fully aware of the extent to which the
Civil War was a “bloodbath.” New historical research estimates more than
750,000 people died as the result of the battles of the war, said
has been searching for a Civil War equivalent to the war novels of
Patrick O’Brian or The Sharpe Series about the American Revolution. He
is critical of war films for their depiction of combat, which he claims
are devoid of the necessary character development to understand the
emotional impact of war.
Hicks: “Civil War fiction has become formulaic and sanitized. I wrote
this to show the Civil War as I have always wanted to see it portrayed:
a first-person narrative with real people—men and women—real dialogue,
real emotion. “
for the series has come from British documentary filmmaker and military
author Dominic Streatfeild, who wrote on the book jacket:
“Literary…compelling…a visceral, personal narrative of the Civil War…the
series is destined to be the ‘Band of Brothers’ of the Civil War
R.R. Hicks’ book, “The Ceremony of Innocence,” the first in a six-part series, is available at www.amazon.com.