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May 20 , 2010

Requiem for Ahab


Requiem for Ahab is a 30,000 word novella set in 1863, using Herman Melville's Moby-Dick as a springboard for a tale about fathers and sons, war and its warriors, suffering and reconciliation.

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Anyone who has read Moby-Dick knows that Captain Ahab and his crew die hunting the white whale, Moby Dick. The only survivor was a sailor named Ishmael, who tells his story and then disappears. What most don’t remember is that Ahab left behind a young wife and child, Hannah and Thomas. Ahab's life has ended, but their lives must now go on without him. They move to a small town near Boston, where she meets and marries Aaron Stoddard. The years go by, and Thomas Stoddard grows into a young man. Ahab's memory recedes deeper and deeper into a past seldom revisited by either mother or son.

When the Civil War breaks out in 1861, Thomas enlists in the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and sees action at Antietam and Chancellorsville. Then comes the Battle of Gettysburg, where Thomas is wounded and has his leg amputated. He can't help but remember Ahab's fate, and he wonders if he too will go mad. Thomas realizes he knows very little about his father's death ... or life. There is only one man who can help him discover the truth about his father’s madness—the sailor who called himself Ishmael.

The search for Ishmael leads Thomas first to New Bedford and then to a small town in central Massachusetts where Thomas finally meets the elusive Ishmael, who has found chasing after dreams to be as perilous as chasing after Ahab’s white whale. Thomas and Ishmael find common cause in laying Ahab’s ghost to rest once and for all.

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