GENRE: HISTORICAL FICTION
HIRAM MARTIN'S JOURNAL
by Mark Knudsen
Trapped on the streets of Manchester, Hiram Martin accepts Edmund Scarborough's indenture contract hoping to improve his station in life. After a frightening sea voyage to Virginia in 1637, Martin enters a foreign world driven by personal ambition and tobacco profits. Vowing to survive, he slowly makes his way despite hostile Native Americans and rivalries.
Martin witnesses the planters' shift toward the Africans as a possible answer to their ever-present need for labor. He writes of his experiences and observations of the emerging planter class in Virginia as he suffers abuse at Scarborough's hand and undertakes tasks at his direction that will further Scarborough's interests. Martin finds some of these tasks repugnant but knows their successful completion is critical to his survival and advancement.
Martin's lot improves after he helps resurrect Scarborough's position in Virginia after he attacks a peaceful Native American village and slaughters all he finds there. As Native American tribes from all about the colony gather to avenge this assault, Governor Berkeley vows to destroy Scarborough while suing for peace.
Near the end of his life, Martin finds himself importing luxury items for the Virginia elite and assessing his life in a place he now calls home as the colony recovers once again after Nathaniel Bacon, one of their own, and his followers nearly level Jamestown as they challenge the authority and position of those who came before.