April 1, 1875
Drunken Bride, Texas
A former slave named Persimmon Wilson is accused of the murder of his ex-master Joseph Wilson, and the kidnapping of Wilson’s wife. In the street below his cell carpenters build his gallows. In the town there is gathering excitement over the upcoming execution for Persimmon Wilson is notorious. Not only is he a black man who killed a white man, and “degraded” that man’s wife, but he is also the “black Indian” known as Twist Rope who rode, raided, and terrorized Texas settlements and farms with the Comanche Indians.
Now the Comanche are nearly subdued, the buffalo they based their livelihood on will soon be hunted out, railroads crisscross the nation, and the westward expansion is almost complete.
In the last days of his life this literate ex-slave and Comanche warrior requests paper and ink and begins to write a very different story from the one that is told about him. In it he admits to participating in the 1870 raid on Drunken Bride. He admits to running his spear through the man known as Joseph Wilson. He admits to riding off with the woman known throughout the town as oWilson’s wife. But he disputes her identity, claiming instead that she is his own wife, a light-skinned former house slave named Chloe.
The action of this magnificent historical novel travels from the 1860 slave pens of New Orleans to the cane fields of a sugar plantation to frontier Texas and finally into the band of Comanche Indians who capture Persy, and with whom he finds a home. Brilliantly written, action packed, and peopled with unforgettable characters The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson will haunt you from beginning to devastating end.
“The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson is a magnificent, immersive, breathtaking work of historical fiction. Nancy Peacock has written a beautifully crafted, richly detailed novel inhabited by morally complex and fully realized characters, enthralling and heartbreaking in equal measure.” – Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times bestselling author of Fates and Traitors and Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker
“…part Cold Mountain, part Dances With Wolves… a love story, a thriller, an epic adventure tale, and impossible to put down. … a tour de force of historical fiction.” -Henry Wiencek, author of Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and his Slaves
“From its riveting beginning to the last perfect word, Nancy Peacock grabs her reader by the throat and forces him to hang on for dear life. …as deeply moving and exciting an American saga as has ever been penned.” – Lee Smith, author of Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger and Guest on Earth
“… a gripping page turner, with a plot that never lets go.” – Anna Jean Mayhew, author of The Dry Grass of August