First-time author Kent Wascom's The Blood of Heaven
is a remarkable coming-of-age story set when the United States was struggling to form itself into a nation. The tale opens in New Orleans on January 26, 1861, at the time that the South secedes from the Union. This announcement compels 75-year-old Angel Woolsack to reminisce about his past and the changes to the country he's witnessed over the decades. He proceeds to narrate his life's story, beginning in 1799 when, as a thirteen-year-old boy, he accompanied his father throughout the American wilderness preaching the gospel to any settlers they could find. The book covers the next seven years of this young man's life years filled with violence and heartbreak, faith and betrayal, love and loss as he struggles to survive a harsh world in turn-of-the-century West Florida.
Wascom bases his...
Beyond the Book
The Blood of Heaven
is set primarily in West Florida during the early years of the 19th century. At the time, West Florida occupied part of what is now referred to as the Florida Panhandle, as well as sections of what are now Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama along the Gulf Coast. It was bordered by the Mississippi River to the west, and the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola Rivers to the East. The northern boundary was less well-defined, advancing into territories held by the Choctaw and Creek Nations.
Spanish colonists first attempted settlement in the mid-16th century, but no permanent outpost was established until 1698 when a fort was built in what would later become Pensacola, Florida. Its purpose was to deter the French from claiming the area, who at the time were...