In 701 B.C. the Assyrian empire was in its ascendancy. It had already vanquished the kingdom of Israel to the north including the capital at Samaria. It then prepared an assault on Judah and its capital at Jerusalem.
But in one of those significant events that changes the course of world history, Assyria was repelled. Jerusalem was saved until 586 B.C. when the Babylonians sacked the city, forcing its leadership class into exile.
Henry Aubin, in a major feat of scholarship, determines that Jerusalem was aided by a Kushite army from Africa which had marched northeast from the Nile valley. While the Bible attributes the Assyrian retreat to an angel and secular commentators cite pestilence, Aubin, in a meticulously documented work, demonstrates that an alliance with the African nation of Kush bolstered Jerusalem’s defences.
Kush, also known as Nubia, was located in what is now southern Egypt and northern Sudan. A monarchy that existed for more than 1000 years, from 900 B.C. to A.D. 350, Kushites held sway over Egypt from 712 B.C. to about 660 B.C. Of Egypt’s 31 dynasties, this, the 25th Dynasty, is the only one that all scholars agree, was black.
The commander of the Kushite expeditionary force was Taharqa (or as the Bible calls him Tirhakah). This Kushite prince, who had his own interests in halting Assyrian expansion, likely caught the aggressors by surprise as they prepared their siege of Jerusalem.
Aubin offers a thrilling military history and a stirring political analysis of the ancient world. He also sees the event as influential over the centuries.
The Kushite rescue of the Hebrew kingdom of Judah enabled the fragile, war-ravaged state to endure, to nurse itself back to economic and demographic health, and allowed the Hebrew religion, Yahwism, to evolve within the next several centuries into Judaism. Thus emerged the monotheistic trunk supporting Christianity and Islam.
Don Gutteridge, acclaimed poet and novelist, has completed 12 novels in this landmark series starring the dashing Marc Edwards. They will appeal to fans of Patrick O’Brian orBernard Cornwell.
“Don Gutteridge has taken up his quill and written a riveting yarn of 1830s Upper Canada, steeped in conspiracy and political intrigue. Gutteridge is not only master of this historical period, he writes like a veritable visitor from it. He put me right there alongside his young Ensign Marc Edwards on this first exciting adventure, and I’ll be with him for however many more there’ll be in this wonderful series. Canadian history has never been more gripping and enlightening. The story burns, the pages turn, and the reader learns. Fans of Bernard Cornwell and Patrick O’Brian will love Don Gutteridge and his Marc Edwards Mysteries.”
Leacock Award winning author of The Best Laid Plans
“The story sparkles with the rough-and-tumble life of hard-working locals caught in the insidious fight for their loyalty…written with understanding, compassion and wit. Writers of historical fiction have explored just about every period. Few have tackled the raw treasures in our own backyard. A well-written historical mystery should be both enlightening and entertaining. Turncoat is both.”
Simon & Schuster Canada 2012
On the History Behind the Rebellion Mysteries
In 2012, Canada and the US marked 200th anniversary of The War of 1812. Although the war was small by European comparison, it was particularly nasty, with atrocities on both sides. For Canada, though, (then Upper and Lower Canada) it was a watershed moment, when the people of these tiny colonies fought for their land and way of life against the more powerful United States.
The role of the militia, in support of the British redcoats, was as crucial to victory as was the contribution of Tecumseh and the Shawnees. Although the outcome was essentially a draw, our forces succeeded in driving the Americans back to their shores, and we gained a national hero in Sir Isaac Brock, whom we commemorate with a monument at Queenston Heights, where he fell leading his troops. In the course of the fighting, the Americans burned Fort York and the nearby capital, and the British retaliated by burning down the White House.
My own particular interest in the war is twofold: the story of Tecumseh and the suffering of the ordinary farmers of southern Ontario. My suite of poems, Tecumseh (Oberon Press, 1976) recounts the personal history of Tecumseh and his part in the Indian Wars and his last stand at the Battle of the Thames in 1813. The role of the pioneers in that story provides a counterpoint to Tecumseh’s narrative. Later I wrote a novel, How the World Began: A Parable of 1812 (Moonstone, 1991), in which I depict the heroic acts of the ordinary folk as they strove to maintain their farms and send their sons to battle. This epic struggle deserves to be celebrated widely throughout Canada in this and future years.
My interest in early Canadian history came in handy a few years later when, after I retired, I began writing an historical mystery or two. This was a genre which I had read and appreciated most of my life. Since I had already wrote about the War of 1812, I decided to focus on an equally contentious period, the rebellions of 1837.
My only problem was that there were no detectives in Canada or anywhere else (except perhaps France). In face, the word “detective” doesn’t come into the English language until 1841, when a squad a plain-clothes investigators was established in London, England. However, there was a nearby regiment of British regulars at Fort York, and I decided to create a dashing young ensign, Marc Edwards with a penchant for investigating crimes against the state. Eventually he is seconded to the Toronto five-man constabulary and hooks up with a sidekick, Horatio Cobb.
So far their proclivities have led them through four books, with at least two more to come. Readers can start with individual titles or by picking up The Rebellion Mysteries (Simon and Schuster/Touchstone), an omnibus of the first three books. Number four, Dubious Allegiance is recently released, and five and six are coming soon.