The core conflict in my second novel, “Crusaders of the Saltier – Book 2 or the Order of the Saltier Trilogy,” concerns an attempt by an ambitious politician to take total control over the government of the United States of America. I have been asked many times about what my inspiration was for this plot. Some have speculated that I based the plot on current headlines, and while there are parallels between the action in the book and what is happening around the country today, I actually had quite a different inspiration for the plot. At the urging of several of my readers, I thought I’d share from where the inspiration came.
I had actually been working on the story of “Crusaders of the Saltier” for several years – long before I started writing the “Order of the Saltier Trilogy” in 2009 – but I could never find the right way to tell the story in a new and fresh way.
The idea of a government being taken over from within is not new. The tactic of “slight of hand” (getting the population focused on one thing so they wont see the other thing) is the stuff that secret society conspiracy theorists live for. This idea was also used successfully in the “Babylon 5” TV series and in “Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace.” The roots of the story go all the way back to Absalom, the son of King David who corrupted the hearts of his countrymen in an attempt to overthrow his father.
As a Southerner and amateur historian specializing in the War Between the States (incorrectly referred to as the American Civil War), I am someone who believes Lincoln was the most successful practitioner of “slight of hand” politics, and that was the real inspiration for the book. There are many who believe that the War Between the States was initiated to keep the northern states so focused on the southern states being the “enemy” that they didn’t notice Lincoln’s real agenda – the changing of our constitutional form of government from a democratic republic where the central government was subordinate to the will of the people and the states, to a federal republic where the people and the states are subordinate to the will of the central government. Four years and over 500,000 military and civilian deaths later, Lincoln got what he wanted through an illegal force of arms – a new form of government that the people and the states were never allowed to ratify, shoved down their throats at the point of the bayonet and sword. It was only an assassin’s bullet that kept Lincoln from completing his work, but the damage was already done and we live with the results of that damage even today.
This is the story I decided to put into a modern setting, substituting the South with terrorists and foreigners living amongst us, and using terrorism, rather than secession, as the catalyst that allowed the President in the book to make changes to our form of government without the people taking notice until it was too late. Internment Camps replaced the POW camps and federal prisons where Lincoln illegally imprisoned private citizens, newspaper editors, businessmen, and politicians for the duration of the war without trial, without being charged for crimes, and in many cases without the prisoner having done anything at all (it was the fear that they might do something that got them imprisoned). The chance to place these themes in a modern setting was irresistible to me, and once I had created the fictional organization knows as the Order of the Saltier in “Knights of the Saltier – Book 1 of the Order of the Saltier Trilogy,” I had the platform to build the story upon without having to resort to a military civil war.
So, that’s the real story about how the central conflict in “Crusaders of the Saltier” came about. It is a modern retelling of the political maneuvering, plots, and agendas from the Lincoln administration during the War Between the States, and how a secret society of Knights thwarted the attempt to set aside America’s constitutional form of government in favor of a dictatorship. I hope the readers will enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.
To learn more about the novels of William Speir, please visit his web site at http://www.williamspeir.com. To order your copy of “Crusaders of the Saltier – Book 2 of the Order of the Saltier Trilogy,” go to Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com. You can also order the book through the publisher’s web site at http://sbpra.com/williamspeir/