by Julie HaleJanuary, 2004
Hell at the Breech
Based on true events that took place near the author's childhood home in Alabama, this spirited historical novel, set in the 1890s, follows a group of poor white sharecroppers who wage war on upperclass landowners. The accidental shooting of politician Arch Bedsole causes his cousin Quincy, a poor cotton farmer, to seek revenge. Taking justice into his own hands, Quincy establishes the Hell-at-the-Breech gang and proceeds to harass the county, victimizing those he believes committed the murder and demanding money from dishonest landowners. The gang's violent crusade results in an all-out massacre, affecting everyone in the county especially Sheriff Billy Waite, who struggles to uphold the law. Recounting this unforgettable chapter in the annals of Alabama history, Franklin mixes fact and fiction to create a provocative and distinctly Southern tale. A reading group guide is available in print and online at www. harpercollins.com/readers.