I had to look up the word serendipity just now and I think it fits. This morning I was trying to figure out how to write a post about William Martin and how much I enjoy his stories. When I took a break to go to the transfer station I made my customary stop at the book exchange. Sitting right on top of everything was Cape Cod
by William Martin. I haven’t read it so I grabbed it.
As a kid I lived in Acton Massachusetts, close to Concord and the Old North Bridge where the American Revolution started. One of my favorite times of the year was April 19, Patriots Day. There was a march that left from the high school and followed the path the Minutemen took to Concord in April 1776. At the bridge a reenactment of the Shot Heard ‘Round the world took place and Red Coats and Minutemen made history come alive.
Even after a long walk ten year old boys aren’t much for sitting still. As soon as the reenactment was over we would head off towards the visitor center and explore the grounds. We played tag and hide and seek and generally acted our age. Some of the facts sank in but mostly I remember a sense of fascination and excitement. What those men did that day amazed me even back then.
William Martin brought those feelings back with his stories. The first one I read was The Lost Constitution and I absolutely loved it. Peter Fallon is a great character and I think there are many writers who would love to have a side profession of antique book dealer. More than that was how he took history and a plausible idea and ran with it. It’s the kind of fiction, and writing, that makes me stop and think “Hmm, that might actually be real.”
Most of my writing starts with ‘what if’ and William Martin is a master of ‘what if’ and history. What if there were a different version of the U. S. Constitution? What if Lincoln had written notes that could have changed the narrative about the civil war? There are so many things that could have happened but have simply disappeared over time.
After the The Lost Constitution I read Back Bay and Harvard Yard. Most recently I enjoyed The Lincoln Letterand now I have Cape Cod to look forward to. If you liked the National Treasure Movies or Dan Browns books, pick up a William Martin story and give him a try, you won’t be disappointed.