William Dietrich’s new novel “The Emerald Storm” brings his daring, rogue character Ethan Gage back into the world of Napoleonic adventure.
Gage, a newly wed husband with a 3-year-old son, balances the responsibilities of family with his high seas escapades.
Dietrich, who lives in Anacortes, has now written five Ethan Gage novels. The historical fiction series begins in 1798 with Napoleon’s secret invasion of Europe, then hops across the globe, tossing the fictional Gage into the mix with historical figures and international political turmoil.
“A tremendous amount of research goes into these books,” Dietrich said. “I start with the timeline of real events and weave Ethan through that history.”
“The Emerald Storm” takes Ethan from the mountains of Europe to sordid Caribbean sugar plantations to rescue his son and uncover Aztec treasure.
Dietrich said his inspiration for the book came from the Haitian Slave Rebellion of 1791, which lasted more than a decade and was the first truly successful revolt of its kind, growing into the Haitian Revolution and a declaration of independence for the colony of Saint Domingue (present-day Haiti) in 1804.
Dietrich worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and the Pacific Northwest. His nonfiction books have been used in university classes, and his fiction has been published in 31 languages and included in the New York Times best-seller list.
He has been interested in history since his childhood, and admits he has several motives in writing historical fiction.
“It’s a serious attempt to develop this big canvas of how the world was at that time, and how that’s influenced our world,” he said.
The end of the 18th century brought with it the industrial revolution, scientific revolution and much political upheaval. But, he admitted, much of it is just good fun.
“I have to entertain,” he said, “or I don’t sell anything.”
Dietrich will talk about “The Emerald Storm” 7 p.m. Thursday at the Anacortes Public Library, 1220 10th Street.
He is already working on the next Ethan Gage novel, which will find Gage back in Europe.
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