A Separate Country - In Stores Now!

A Separate Country will be released September 23Set in New Orleans in the years after the Civil War, A SEPARATE COUNTRY is a novel based on the incredible life of John Bell Hood, arguably one of the  most controversial generals of the Confederate Army--and one of its most tragic figures.  Robert E. Lee promoted him to major general after the Battle of Antietam.  But the Civil War would mark him forever. At Gettysburg, he lost the use of his left arm. At the Battle of Chickamauga, his right leg was amputated. Starting fresh after the war, he married Anna Marie Hennen and fathered 11 children with her, including three sets of twins.  But fate had other plans. Crippled by his war wounds and defeat, ravaged by financial misfortune, Hood had one last foe to battle: Yellow Fever.

A SEPARATE COUNTRY is the heartrending story of a decent and good man who struggled with his inability to admit his failures--and the story of those who taught him to love, and to be loved, and transformed him.




In an Author's Note at the end of his book The Widow of the South, Robert Hicks tells us that "when Oscar Wilde made his infamous tour of America in 1882, he told his hosts that his itinerary should include a visit to 'sunny Tennessee to meet the Widow McGavock, the high priestess of the temple of dead boys.'" Carrie McGavock, The Widow of the South, did indeed take it upon herself to grieve the loss of so many young men in the battle of Franklin, Tennessee, which took place on November 30, 1864. Nine thousand men lost their lives that day. She and her husband John eventually re-buried on their own land 1,481 Confederate soldiers killed at Franklin, when the family that owned the land on which the original shallow graves had been dug decided to plow it under and put it into cultivation.



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Reviews are Coming in...

“Robert Hicks's riveting new novel takes up Hood's life after the war.  Anyone who has ever lived in New Orleans must be prepared to be made homesick, and the bizarre cast of characters, including a dwarf, a burly priest and a boy of mixed and mysterious par entage, wouldn't seem right in any city but this one.  I read "A Separate Country" with breakneck speed for that most old-fashioned of reasons: I wanted to see what happened next. And then I eagerly read it a second time to make sure I got the complicated twists and turns. Is there a better recommendation?”


“After the War, Hood scampered down to New Orleans in order to try to live as fully as possible. That's where Robert Hicks enters in his marvelous new book, which looks back on the legendary and monstrous general of the Civil War with a brand new set of eyes.  Hicks doesn't ever let us forget that this was once a man who ``cared very little for the men [he] ruined.'' Yet at the same time, this is a work which seems designed to remember Hood neither as a legend nor a monster but as a man.”


The 10/9 edition of the Dayton Daily News said that A SEPARATE COUNTRY “builds momentum from the instant Hood dies. The author rolls out a cast of fascinating characters who slide in and out of the story as it is related by our three narrators. Hicks immerses us in a steaming gumbo of racism, gambling, class struggle, pride, forgotten massacres and poignant memories.”

The 10/11 edition of the Baton Rouge Advocate said of A SEPARATE COUNTRY that “Hicks does a good job of fleshing out the historical characters and of placing them in situations that change them. His main characters are strong and engaging, and his descriptions of the settings, especially New Orleans, are vivid and accurate. This is not a book just for Civil War aficionados, it’s a book with action, adventure, romance and appealing characters who experience joy, sorrow, gain and loss. Be aware that the book starts slowly. The dedicated reader who stays with it to the end will be rewarded.”


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Reader Comments (8)

I could not agree more with The Washington Post's Charlotte Hayes. I just finished A Separate Country and can truly say there has been no break in the passionate and entertaining storytelling from The Widow of the South to your second wonderful novel. I LOVED it! To answer her question if there is a better recommendation; no there isn't. I am recommending it to everyone I know. The only thing I could add is that the amount of depth and thought provoking ideas of man's struggle with being marked and his search for redemption I encountered while reading the story are enough to keep me going back to read it again. I am sincerely grateful for the story and feel a bit of a kinship with it. Thanks for another GREAT one Robert. -T.S. Hurt

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterT.S. Hurt

Robert Hicks' editors didn't watch his firearm references to correct the errors in "A Separate Country". Bottom p. 242 he establishes Hood carried a Colt and lets the reader assume it could be the Model 1860, .44 cal., 6 shot percussion Army revolver. That would make sense since over 200,000 were produced and many CSA officers preferred it. I doubt Hood would have purchased the more modern Colt 1873, .45 cal. Army revolver even though it would have been easier to load with mettalic cartridges. The latter was the famed "Peacemaker" "Equalizer" "Hogleg" produced in great numbers until 1941, and smaller numbers after 1955. 6 lines past the center of p. 243 "I cocked that pistol". On p. 244, 11 lines from bottom "Pulled back the hammer again." Nowhere between 243 & 244 does the revolver go off. Now Hood "cracked him across the skull", but both Colts were sturdy enough to not go off from the blow or fall. So why does Hood cock it again? Please remove that confusing line from 244. In the middle of p. 248 Father Mike has Hood's Colt in his hand. How on God's good earth could either Colt become "a tiny thing against his palm."??? Both Colts were nearly identical in size and weight. Check Wm. B. Edwards "Civil War Guns" under Colt 1860, or any good firearm reference work where you will find the 1860 weighed 2 pounds 11 oz empty, over three pounds loaded, the 1873 nearly the same. Each was 5" wide, from bottom of butt to the rear sight, and about 13-3/4" long. The 1860 had an 8" barrel while the 1873 had a 7-1/2" one. Now I'm 6'2" tall with larger than average hands: my hand lying flat with thumb resting against index finger is just over 4" wide and 8" from wrist edge to end of middle finger. A 5" X 14" Colt revolver will cover my hand. Are we to believe Father Mike had hands 50% larger? If so, let's say he had massive mitts 6" X 12". Then a 5" x 14" Colt still pretty well covers even his hand. The inaccurate phrase could be changed to read "still a large pistol against his massive palm". P. 249 line 7 states "and holstered my weapon." No where did we read that Father Mike took it out of his own pocket (p.248 "He pocketed it.") and gave it back to Hood. Poor Editing. Just remove those last 4 words in line 7. I have helped other authors in the past, when they were uncertain about firearm questions; here are a few of my favorites: On 03/03/2003 Prof. Simon Schama, who wrote the monumental "A History Of Britain" said this of my help on vol. III "Thank you, thank you - at last I understand all this muzzle-bite problem (ref the 1857 Indian Mutiny Enfield question) and promise the change in future editions. I'm VERY grateful." On 6/29/03 Matthew Pearl, author of "The Dante Club" sent a long e-mail "Many mnay thanks...would you accept an autographed copy of The Dante Club even with editorial errors?" On 10/30/08 Tasha Aleander e-mailed me about her "A Fatal Waltz", " I truly cannot thank you enough for bringing this to my attention. I strive to be accurate, but, alas, sometimes fall short. This is spectacular information to have....don't be surprised if I do tap you in the future to keep me from going astray!" After saying all this I still stand in awe of Robert Hicks brilliant handling of the Hood story.

November 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStu Gruber

enjoyed the book immensely- Chapter 21 first line says 1868 I believe it should be 1878. bought book day before Ft.Hood killings very eerie since Ft named after JB Hood.

November 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlen gubar

I have picked this as the best book read in 2009 ( well, I actually didn't finish it until 2010, but I digress).
Thank you for writing such a fascinating and entertaining book. Going through a bit of a rough time right now and it helped to get lost in a terrific read every now and then. This is truly a book that so engrosses you in such a manner that even when you are back to reality you find yourself thinking about the surroundings and characters...and wishing you could get back to them. :)

Great work!

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