The Lion at Bay

In this sequel to The Rising, novelist Robert Wisehart returns to the incredible life of American statesman Sam Houston. In his two other Houston books,  Wisehart explored the fantastic adventures of a young white man who lived among the Cherokee yet became the close protégée of Andrew Jackson, the president who earned that tribe’s hatred. Known as a soldier, brawler, and prodigious drinker, Houston also became an orator and politician, rising to the governorship of Tennessee before personal scandal drove him from office. Then, as if in a second lifetime, leading the ragtag troops that improbably wrested Texas away from Mexican rule. The Lion at Bay finds an older, wiser, yet still-flamboyant Houston in the years after his presidency of the short-lived independent Republic of Texas. Happily married (to this third wife), with abookcover-TheLionAtBay-sm brood of rambunctious children, Houston tries to balance his newfound love of domesticity with his undiminished political ambitions. As a U.S. senator from the newly admitted state, Houston must repeatedly leave young wife Margaret and the family for the muddy streets of a raw, young Washington, D.C. He rubs shoulders with the likes of James K. Polk, James Buchanan, Winfield Scott, Stephen Douglas, Henry Clay, the cantankerous John C. Calhoun, and the upright Robert E. Lee as he struggles and schemes to prevent the coming war that he knows will devastate his native South. Houston—a slave owner uncomfortable with the institution of slavery—alienates old friends and political allies as he valiantly seeks to keep his beloved Texas out of the conflict. Once again, Wisehart enriches history with psychological insight and a novelist’s gift for rich, detailed storytelling. The Lion at Bay is a gripping story of a crafty leader who often broke rules but who could not abandon his deeply held principles.