The Savannah Betrayals

Enchanting and historical Savannah in 1836, a time when a gentleman’s honor might mean more than his life. Despite the city’s genteel appearance, pistols and rapiers continue to rule passions and perceived insults that are resolved on fields of honor, no more so than along the Southern coastal plains of Georgia.

The city is a thriving seaport, offering its residents every enticement from waterfront bars and brothels to lush city squares fronted by brick mansions and carriage houses. Living a quiet life with his father, Jesse Caine is dismayed when his closest friend is killed in a duel. Recovering from the shock, his life is turned upside down when a fraud of staggering proportions is committed. The massive scandal affects Savannah’s elite and most wealthy citizens, threatening the economic and social fabric of the quiet city.

To his shock, Jesse’s father is accused of perpetrating the swindle, setting off events that isolate Jesse from lifelong friends, placing his life in increasing danger. For the first time, he experiences the impact of being born a half-breed Cherokee among Savannah’s bluebloods.

Anger and prejudice escalate while his father sits helpless in a dank cell, his health rapidly deteriorating. Bound by a pledge to abstain from dueling, Jesse faces intensifying pressure from all sides as friends continue to fall away. Befriended only by Samuel Cohen, the city’s premier attorney, Jesse is reluctant to heed his advice, unwilling to gamble his father’s life on Cohen’s advice to refute the documents that incriminate him.  

Unable to find other means to help his father, Jesse has no choice but to accept Cohen’s advice and seek the help of Elizabeth Pendleton, a radical Boston abolitionist and expert in the fledgling science of forensic handwriting analysis. Attacked by an unknown assassin on his sailing voyage to Boston, Jesse manages to survive but finds Pendleton scornful of Jesse’s Southern heritage and his father’s innocence. Returning alone to Savannah, his fortunes suffer another disaster when is confronted by Randall Tyree, the city’s premier duelist. A deadly adversary, Jesse knows he must one day face him or be branded a coward forever. Rejected by the woman he loves, Jesse is surprised when Elizabeth unexpectedly arrives in Savannah to offer her controversial knowledge and assistance. As pressure mounts to respond to Tyree’s threats, he turns in desperation to a former Napoleonic fencing master for help. With time running out, he strives to master the sword as he and Lizzie face increasing prejudice and threats to their lives. Racing the clock to uncover the perpetrator of a crime turned deadly, they and Samuel Cohen believe they have solved the puzzle. But who really are their friends⸺and who has betrayed them?

“Wilmington Island Tidal Creek” Painting by Maggie Roof

Maggie Roof (b. 1996, Georgia) is a Savannah artist long fascinated by the marshes and tide water creeks surrounding the city and wandering through the coastal Low Country. The variations of reflection on water and dynamic impact of light in the area’s lush settings comprise major components of her work. A recent cum laude graduate of SCAD in Savannah Georgia where she grew up, she majored in Painting and Museum Studies. Working in oils applied with a palette knife, she recreates the visual magic of light and color variations on canvas, focusing on the unique landscape’s environmental surroundings. Her 2019 gallery exhibit in Savannah resulted in the sale of half her work.


“… well-written historical novel set during the 1800’s in Savannah. Well-drawn characters bring the plot to life with effective descriptions of Savannah, which will appeal to fans of Southern fiction and the art of handwriting analysis.”   

Meg Lelvis, author of “Bailey’s Law and “Blind Eye”

“The flow was excellent and attention to historical accuracy impressive… extremely pleasant read … didn’t want to put it down. Will Ottinger paints a brilliant picture.” 

Amazon Reader

“… gives a glimpse of the stratified society of this Southern city… engaging with unique characters that make them real… engaging, diverting. An enjoyable read.”

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