Praise for Chuck Pfarrer's Philip Nolan:The Man Without a Country
“In early 19th century America, a man's honor could be worth more than life itself. In this rousing novel, Chuck Pfarrer gives us a hero who loses his country but not his honor. A gripping, imaginative treatment of a famous old tale—it will pull you in and carry you to its bittersweet end.”
—Evan Thomas, author of John Paul Jones and Sea of Thunder
“Move over Patrick O’Brian. Chuck Pfarrer knows the sea intimately, fathoms the American past with the keenest of eyes, and writes with a lyrical authenticity rarely found in modern historical fiction. Philip Nolan is an engaging, epic masterpiece…”
—David Freed, Pulitzer Prize Winner, author of the Cordell Logan mysteries
“Anyone interested in an unforgettable tale from the age of fighting sail should read this book. Chuck Pfarrer transforms Edward Everett Hale's classic short story “The Man Without a Country” into a spellbinding high seas adventure that's impossible to put down.”
—George C. Daughan, author of 1812: The Navy's War, and Revolution
on the Hudson: New York City and the Hudson River Valley in the American
War of Independence.
Philip Nolan is Chuck Pfarrer's captivating adaptation of the classic short story "The Man Without a Country", first printed in the Atlantic Magazine more than a hundred years ago. Masterfully blending history and fiction, Pfarrer tells the story of a young artillery officer, Phillip Nolan, who becomes embroiled in Aaron Burr's 1807 conspiracy to invade the territories of the Louisiana Purchase. Insinuating that his plot has official approval, Burr convinces Nolan to carry a coded message into the Orleans Territory. Nolan has no idea that the former vice-president intends to set himself up as a dictator-- and Burr has no idea that his scheme has been discovered. Burr is soon arrested and Philip Nolan is taken into military custody, charged as an accessory to the plot.
The nation holds its breath as Burr is put on trial for attempting to dismember the union. The charges against Burr seem ironclad, but his lawyers are able; to the outrage of all, Burr is acquitted. An embarrassed prosecution looks for a scapegoat. The charges against Nolan are expanded to include desertion and treason-- capital offenses. Learning that his own court martial will proceed, even though Burr has walked free, Nolan furiously denounces his accusers, damns his country, and tells the court he wishes never again to hear the words "United States" as long as he lives. Nolan's fateful words stun the court. The judges return with an ominous verdict: the prisoner's wish will be granted. Nolan is sentenced to banishment aboard a series of US warships. While imprisoned, he will never hear news from, or be allowed to speak of his country-- ever again.
Shuttled from ship to ship, first to the Atlantic, then the Pacific, Nolan comes to realize that his sentence is indefinite. Years pass-- America's first secret prisoner discovers that he has become a stateless person, estranged from his keepers and forgotten by his country. Decades after his trial, Nolan is passed aboard an American frigate in the Mediterranean. There, he comes into the custody of a newly commissioned lieutenant, Frank Curran. It falls to Curran to carry out the stringent conditions of Nolan's confinement-- forcing both into the tense relationship of prisoner and captor. When Barbary pirates capture an American whaleship, the pair finds themselves drawn into a complex web of international deceit and mortal danger. As a desperate rescue mission is launched, Nolan teaches the young officer a poignant lesson about duty, loyalty and the meaning of patriotism.
Phillip Nolan is equal parts adventure, naval history and morality tale. Brilliantly evoking the age of sail, Pfarrer brings alive convincing details of that courageous and sometimes brutal world. More than broadsides and small boat actions, Philip Nolan is a clear-eyed examination of the human condition. Beautifully crafted, populated with fully realized characters, punctuated with riveting sea battles and crisp dialogue, Phillip Nolan will take its place with classics of the genre.
CHUCK PFARRER is a former Navy SEAL turned screenwriter and author. He has written seven Hollywood blockbusters, including The Jackal, Red Planet, Darkman, Hard Target, Navy SEALs, and Virus. He is also the New York Times best-selling author of SEAL Target Geronimo, Inside the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden, Warrior Soul, The Memoir of a Navy SEAL, and the critically acclaimed novel Killing Che.