Something in Madness

THE BOOK: Something in Madness (DarkHorse Trilogy, Book 3)

PUBLISHED IN: Oct. 23, 2020.

THE AUTHOR: Ed Protzel.

THE EDITOR: Kim Coughlin.

THE PUBLISHER: TouchPoint Press.

Ed ProtzelSUMMARY: Abolitionist Durksen Hurst and two black friends return home to a devastated Mississippi, the sole survivors of a Union colored cavalry regiment. But instead of peace, they find unregenerate Confederates who reject emancipation still in charge. Undeterred, Durk opens a law practice to help disenfranchised freedmen — only to be threatened by powerful planters and nightriders. A black school is burned; a petition march to Jackson is terrorized. And when one of his friends goes missing, Durk is horrified to discover Black Codes being used to force freedmen into brutal servitude. Clever Durk schemes to liberate them, but must contend with armed ruffians — and a rigged court system. Will fire and bullets prevail?

THE BACK STORY: Something in Madness is set in 1865 Mississippi during early Reconstruction, when unregenerate Confederates still ran the South as newly freed Blacks were trying to begin their lives anew, despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. With racial unrest continuing to roil the country, the relevance of this novel is all too clear. I utilized actual events and attitudes, allowing readers to submerge themselves in the era, while the cast of characters — Black, white, mixed-race, Native American, male and female — lets readers develop empathy from various perspectives.

WHY THIS TITLE: The title is inspired by a Faulkner quote from his masterwork, Absalom, Absalom!: “…not madman, no: since surely there is something in madness, even the demoniac, which Satan flees, aghast at his own handiwork, and which God looks on in pity — some spark…which we call human man.” The “madness” in the case of this novel refers the courage of those rare (foolish) individuals who knowingly defy social norms, becoming pariahs, on behalf of those who are powerless.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Readers who enjoy a good adventure thriller filled with drama, pathos, mystery and even romance, set during Reconstruction, a tumultuous and dark time in American history, will enjoy this book.


“…an engrossing story not just for historical fiction readers, but for anyone who would better understand the roots of modern racism… Something in Madness stands out as a powerful saga of ongoing strife.” — D. Donovan, Donovan Literary Service; Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review.

Despite the dark forces at work in Something in Madness, it is ultimately a tale of hope and determination against seemingly insurmountable odds. It is also a timely tale for these troubled times in our divided nation.” — Terry Baker Mulligan, author of Sugar Hill & Afterlife in Harlem.

“Something in Madness has a wonderfully unique voice and chromatic characterization for all of its characters which really brings the story off the page.” — Literary Titan ☆☆☆☆☆

Something in Madness

AUTHOR PROFILE: Ed Protzel is the author of the Southern historical DARKHORSE TRILOGY (THE LIES THAT BIND, HONOR AMONG OUTCASTS, SOMETHING IN MADNESS), which centers on the friendship between an abolitionist drifter and a group of former slaves between 1859 and 1865. Ed hasalso authored THE ANTIQUITIES DEALER, a sci-fi suspense thriller pitting science against religion in a quest to clone Jesus Christ. Ed is a graduate of the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in English/creative writing. He is an avid fan of St. Louis Blues Hockey and Cardinals Baseball. Follow him on Amazon, Facebook, Twitter & Goodreads. Find him at

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Being the final book in my DarkHorse Trilogy, I dedicated Something in Madness “to those courageous souls who suffered the horrors of slavery and the brutality of Civil War and its aftermath, as well as those brave enough to aid them along their perilous road to freedom and dignity — a hard road which, sadly, must still be traversed today.”

Note that Something in Madness was written as a stand-alone work, as well as the conclusion to the DarkHorse Trilogy.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: (Provide link). Find “Look inside” Prologue, Chapters 1-3 at: KLF.

LOCAL OUTLETS: You can order Something in Madness from several St. Louis bookstores, including:

Left Bank Books:

Subterranean Books:

The Novel Neighbor:

 Amazon – paperback & Kindle:

Barnes & Noble – paperback & Nook:

Or order from your local bookstore. Refer to ISBN: 9781952816109.

PRICE: Paperback: $16.99; Kindle or Nook: $5.99.






Published by


Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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