Was a greedy and then charitable American lawyer the inspiration for the holiday’s most notorious money-grubbing and then generous accountant?
Local author and part-time Miramar Beach resident Rich Adams wants the reader to decide. He has self-published “Eben Kruge: How A Christmas Carol Came To Be Written.”
Adams, working with facts such as the visit by “A Christmas Carol” author Charles Dickens to the United States in 1842, weaves a tale of imagination and historical fiction.
The similarity of lawyer Eben Kruge’s name to A Christmas Carol’s Ebenezer Scrooge is one way that Adams fuses his book with Dickens’s. There’s also a supernatural visitation.
“The reality is that something did trigger Dickens to write the story,” said Adams with a grin. “That he did what he did had to come from somewhere.”
“Eben Kruge” is set in the vicinity of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, from where Adams graduated in 1967.
In the book, Dickens encounters an assortment of characters, including co-protagonist Eben Kruge, who move the story toward its climax, a strange, ambiguous encounter at a cemetery with a ghost — or, maybe, an angel.
Adams uses descriptions of towns, social classes, and even food to recreate what life might have been like in rural mid-19th Century America.
The local author’s fascination with Dickens has its origin in seeing “A Christmas Carol” interpreted on film.
“It seemed there would be something missing in Christmas if I didn’t see at least one version” on TV, said Adams. And, of course, the environmental forensics engineer has read and re-read “A Christmas Carol.”
Writing “Eben Kruge” also permitted Adams to include in the book his beloved alma mater and a period of time that captivates him.
“I found it very easy to put myself back there because it’s a place I like … the Victorian Age,” said the author. His fondness for that stretch of history stems from its genteel nature.
“Eben Kruge” is Adams’s second work of historical fiction. “The Parting: A Story of West Point on the Eve of the Civil War” was his first.
Though still working as an engineer, Adams has taken to writing.
“It’s an avocation, but it’s becoming more and more central to my life now that I’ve been received favorably,” he said. “All of my stories have a piece of me in them.”
Adams is currently writing “Song Be: A Story of Body, Mind and Soul.”
Song Be is significant to the Army veteran. As an artillery forward observer with the 1st Battalion, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, Adams helped defend Song Be, then a part of South Vietnam, when the area was attacked in 1968 by communist forces during North Vietnam’s Tet offensive.