Saturday Snippet – I, John Culpepper

Culpepper_1My new book, I, John Culpepper, has just hit the shelves! I’m so excited.

If you haven’t heard anything about it yet, John Culpepper is my 10th great-grandfather, born in England in 1606 and the progenitor of the modern-day American Culpeppers. The book is the first of four in the Culpepper Saga, the story of John’s life, beginning on the day of his birth, through the settlement of the American colonies, the turbulence of the English Civil War, and the rebellions in Virginia and Carolina which one-hundred years later would lead to the Revolution. It is a series of historical fiction, filled with drama and danger. Yet, there are moments of lightness and humor in John’s life.

When John was fifteen, he attended law school in England, and he was under the understandable impression that his headmaster resembled a goat. The joke between him and his friends carries on for quite a few chapters, as young boys typically can’t let a good laugh go without beating it to death with a stick. At one point, they played a prank on the man just as John’s father stormed into the school, angry about John’s behavior.

Below is one of my favorite scenes featuring John, his brother Thomas, his father Johannes, and Headmaster Barnaby.

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Johannes Culpepper stomped in through the archway of the library door. His heavy boots echoed off the stone floor and paneled walls and disturbed the quiet room, causing every student to look up from their studies. Johannes’s sheer size was daunting, and in his broad-shouldered jerkin with his large hat, he looked even more intimidating. His face was red and his eyes were narrowed. His jaw twitched in anger. He marched straight to the table in the center of the room where John, Thomas, and their friends sat.

Thomas looked up in surprise. “Father! What brings you here?”

“I’ve gotten word in London that someone is misbehaving.” He glared across the table at John.

“No, Father, that’s not true,” countered John.

“We will discuss this outside. Both of you, come with me.” He marched out the back door and into Temple Garden with John and Thomas trailing close behind. By the time they reached the middle of the yard, faces of schoolboys had pressed against the diamond-shaped panes of glass, watching and listening for the heated argument that was surely to begin.

Johannes stood with his hands on his hips, chastising the boys about something, but the students inside the library couldn’t make out what he was saying. Johannes’s face was red and veins bulged from his temples, but John didn’t look angry. As a matter of fact, he looked quite amused.

John and Thomas faced their father, and directly behind him, picketed in the middle of the garden, was a white goat, dressed in a black robe with gold cords around its neck. Next to the goat stood Barnaby, his hands on his hips, his face purple with anger as he glared at the goat. The goat looked up at Barnaby and let out a loud “baaaa!” John couldn’t stifle his laughter. He turned away from his father and pretended to have a coughing fit.

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I, John Culpepper is available at Amazon.

Please stop by the Culpepper Saga Facebook page to see photos and to find more information about the settings and characters.

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2 responses to “Saturday Snippet – I, John Culpepper

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