on the Moon
(Quality Publications, Brooklyn OH, 1990) took longer to write than I ever
would have guessed, and in its early stages the book was downright awful.
Ultimately, however, I think it turned out to be quite respectable.
Judging from reader’s responses, that sentiment seemed to be shared
by a broad cross section of the reading public.
novel would have made a great movie back in Hollywoods’s costume epic days.
Putting Blood on the Moon on
the silver screen today would cost of the order of 100
million dollars, by the time the locations were found, the sets built and the
costumes rented, skipping as it does from location to location in Florida
during Seminole War days, then onto Louis Napoleon’s court in France and
Maximilian’s doomed palace in Mexico. Therefore,
I think it’ll be a while before we see it on the big screen. In fact, the
novel has been long out of print, and to tell the truth I don’t even
remember where the complete reviews of the book are stashed.
However, here are some excerpts from a poop sheet I found when cleaning
out a closet the other day. If
you really want a copy of this book Amazon.com (or
other) rare books department might
be able to locate one for you.
book which even the most serious historian should enjoy. . .
A good story,” Florida Historical Quarterly.
good job,” the Orlando Sentinel.
fascination of the book is in the human conflicts among the Seminoles, the
slaves, the United States government and the plantation owners, as well as in
the glimpses of the royal courts in France and Mexico and how they affected
the United States,” The Hays (KS) Daily News.
fast-paced read,” The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.
tempestuous love story (set) among the actual events in the Second Seminole
War,” The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
historical novel (quite) different from modern-day Florida,” Florida
learn much about the history of both Florida and Europe during the years
before and just after the American Civil War.
We get bloody descriptions of battle and massacre during the Seminole
Indian Wars in 1840s Florida. In
the France of the 1860s, we meet Napoleon II, his assorted courtiers,
sycophants and minions. We even
get a glimpse of the forces which predisposed France to defeat in its
disastrous war with Prussia in 1870,” The Jacksonville Florida
My favorite notice, however, was not published in any newspaper or magazine. It came from the family that runs Smallwood’s Store on Chokoloskee island in the far southwest corner of the state. The family progenitor, Ted Smallwood, opened the store as a Indian and frontier trading post a hundred or so years ago. The establishment stayed in business as a commercial enterprise until 1983 when Aunt Thelma gave up the ghost. For a few years the store sat empty then the family decided to open the doors as quasi-museum, quasi-tourist attraction along about 1990 about when I dropped in for the first time. I can kick myself for not getting there a few years earlier when Aunt Thelma was still running the place. By the way, the real-life Mr. Watson, who became famous thanks to Peter Mathiesson’s novel, was lynched almost on the store’s doorstep.
an excerpt from the letter: “Dear
Steve, We would like to take this
opportunity to thank you for the book, “Blood on the Moon” which you sent
us. We have read it and
thoroughly enjoyed it. We are
going to contact the publisher concerning our stocking it next season.
We would be proud to sell it here at Smallwood’s Store.
It has been passed around to various friends, and all are impressed
with it as a true tale of Old Florida. Congratulations
on creating such a wonderful story.”