One of the great joys (for me) of reading historical fiction is finding out about people, places and times I either never heard of or gave no previous thought to. No offense to those who spend their entire reading hours in the Civil War or dealing with the Tudors (the hell with it, offense meant. Change the menu on occasion, it’s good for you!) When I heard about Charles Ameringer’s novel of 1920s Venezuela, “The Sons of Hernan Garcia,” I figured it was worth speaking to him. It’s not like I have a shelf full of early 20th Century Latin American stories taking up space. What about you?
Charles Ameringer, born in Milwaukee, WI, September 19, 1926, is professor emeritus of Latin American History at Penn State University. During his academic career, he published eight scholarly books. Now, in retirement, he has drawn upon his travel and research and unleashed his imagination to produce works of fiction, namely, the spy/thriller, “The Old Spook” (2012), the urban drama, “Duke Wellington: East Harlem Lawyer ” (2015), and “The Sons of Hernan Garcia” (2018). (Editorial note, that makes him nearly ninety-freaking-one, and he’s still writing. I am out of excuses.)
What’s your novel about?
The book takes place during two years (1920-1921) within the rule of Juan Vicente Gomez of Venezuela (1907-1935) and Hernan Garcia’s tyrannical rule is based upon that of Gomez. It was a rule that was extremely cruel, and although the book is fiction it spares no details about the evils perpetrated by a dictatorship. That which the fictional characters endure and try to repay in kind makes for a thrilling game of cat and mouse.
What’s your favorite scene in the book?
The birthday party of the five sons wherein they express their hatred toward Garcia and the ways they would like to do him in. Although the sons were “blowing off steam,” the tyrant’s security force takes their remarks seriously and undertakes a deadly manhunt. The reader is taken for a journey across the great plain of Venezuela, populated by exotic birds and animals (egret, jaguar, and anaconda).
I can safely say that qualifies as a unique story, and one not often told. Where can we learn more about your books and your work?
You can find me on Amazon by clicking here
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