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"That Dazzling Sun," Book 2 in The Tinsmith's Apprentice trilogy, continues the vivid coming-of-age story of Isaac Granger, slave to Thomas Jefferson, begun in Bechtel's marvelously adept debut novel, "A Partial Sun" in which Isaac begins his complicated apprenticeship at age fifteen as a tinsmith in Philadelphia in the fall of 1790. In this second book, Rachel Bringhouse, the tinsmith's daughter and Isaac's tutur, sails off to Englad to work alongside the famous social activist and poet, Hannah Moore, writing enthusiastic letters to Isaac and which Isaac answers back with assistance from the irrepressibly poetic cook's helper, Ovid. Meanwhile, Billey gardner, the feisty and opportunistic former slave of James Madison, pesters Isaac with notions of a business partnership; the charismatic Dr. Cornelius Sharp uses Isaac to confront Jefferson as a debt-ridden slaveowner; and the Reverend Richard Allen provides Isaac with a most surprising document. When an exuberant Rachel returns from England with a key insight and Isaac's hated nemesis Daniel Shady reappears, bent on revenge, the book rises to its crescendo, in which Isaac must rise to his own power and bargain at last with Thomas Jefferson on his own terms.
About the Author
Lawrence Reid Bechtel is a novelist and sculptor with a special interest in early American history, including the Federal Era following the Revolutionary War. His extensive reading about Thomas Jefferson led him to a 19th century image of Isaac Granger, a slave of Jefferson. This image, and Isaac's brief memoir---dictated to a Charles Campbell---so fascinated Bechtel that he did a full-blown portrait bust of Isaac based on that image. But that was not enough. He had a desire to write out Isaac's story, or imagine his story in fiction. One part of Bechtel said that he had no business writing the story about Isaac. But another part encouraged him to try anyway. According to Bechtel, that is when "Isaac took hold" of him. The Tinsmith's Apprentice trilogy is the result.