Jefferson's Promise

Jefferson's Promise

by Gene Daniels


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Many historians believe that the author of the Declaration of Independence had an affair with his female slave, Sally Hemings. That she gave birth to six, maybe seven, children. Other scholars disavow any such relationship, pointing to the circumstantial nature of the evidence and emphasizing the obvious upright character of the Founding Father. The truth is of some significance both to Jefferson's legacy and to descendants of Jefferson and the Hemingses, but finding out what really happened between Jefferson and his slave would appear to be beyond reach. Or is it?
Detective Michael Chance is on leave from the Washington, D.C., police department following the tragic death of his wife. Moving in with his sister's family in Charlottesville, Virginia, he finds himself struggling with depression and the emotion-numbing psychological disorder of depersonalization. Reluctantly, Mike joins his partner, Justin Johnson, in an investigation seeking a letter said to be written by Sally's brother, James Hemings, revealing the nature of the relationship between Jefferson and his sister.
Who would want to see such a document? How much would someone pay to own it? Who would kill in order to get their hands on it?
The owner of the letter is found dead and the document missing. Racial tensions arise when an African-American minister with knowledge of the letter is subsequently murdered. The FBI enters the investigation when a collector of stolen historic artifacts and member of the Ku Klux Klan is implicated. Two more people are killed, an FBI agent shot, and a woman Mike draws into the investigation is brutally attacked before the letter is found and its contents revealed.
Jefferson's Promise is a mystery within a mystery. What exactly happened between Jefferson and Sally Hemings? Did he or didn't he?
Readers of historical mysteries, especially those curious about the Jefferson-Hemings relationship, will find numerous historical details concerning Jefferson and slavery at Monticello. The consequences of living with the dissociative disorder of depersonalization are exposed as Detective Chance struggles to put his life back on track.
Thomas Jefferson, slavery, sex, murder, racial tensions, and a frightening psychological illness, are the mix in this mystery set in contemporary central Virginia.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781499292817
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 05/16/2014
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

Gene Daniels is the pen name of Eugene Zechmeister, Ph.D., retired professor of psychology. The author of a half dozen nonfiction books in the field of psychology and numerous scientific articles, Jefferson's Promise is his first novel. He and his wife, Jeanne, also a psychologist and writer, moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, after a brief, initial retirement in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Gene spends part of his time doing research for the online Jefferson Encyclopedia, sponsored by the Jefferson Library at Monticello. Among his contributions to the encyclopedia is an article about James Hemings, Sally Hemings's brother, who is featured in Jefferson's Promise. (

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