Oklahoma is known for being a dry, flat land where tornados cause most of the excitement. With his new novel, Silver Cross, B. Kent Anderson brings spy-thriller action to the state scene.
Silver Cross is his sixth novel, and the second to follow the adventures of small-town Oklahoman college professor Nick Journey and federal agent Meg Tolman as they unravel the secrets of the Civil War.
An Oklahoma City resident, Anderson began his love of Civil War history when he attended high school in Madill.
“I found this incredible time period in American history,” he said. “There are an awful lot of stories there to tell, and you can make the argument that, really, the Civil War era really shaped the country that the U.S. became.”
The first Journey novel, Cold Glory, saw the protagonists fighting a shadowy organization called the Glory Warriors, who threaten to pull the country into chaos in pursuit of a document showing a covert agreement between Generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox.
In the new novel, Journey and Tolman must once again team up to prevent the country’s secrets from tearing apart the future. Silver Cross opens with an anecdote about the real-life figure Rose Greenhow, a notorious Confederate spy. While returning from France, the ship that carried her ran aground in a storm off Cape Fear in North Carolina.
Greenhow, against the captain’s wishes, insisted on taking a lifeboat to shore — but capsized and drowned due to a bag of silver coins around her neck.
This incident is the jumping-off point for the characters’ adventures. Journey and Tolman investigate the suspicious death of a friend whose dying words were “the rose and the cross.” What they discover is a mysterious conspiracy surrounding a letter from Napoleon III to Confederate president Jefferson Davis.
Against a backdrop of domestic terrorism, Nick Journey also must manage life as a single father to a son with autism.
“There are not many dads in thriller fiction,” Anderson said. “I wanted to create this character who would have to stop and think when he makes choices. He’s not a tough guy, but he is what he has to be.”
Silver Cross is a stand-alone novel, rather than a direct sequel, so returning fans and new readers alike will be able to enjoy the read.
“It’s been a lot of fun to get to know these characters,” said Anderson. “There are a lot of stories out there from that time period that are begging to be told.”