Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is Subject of Civil War Novel: The Reckoning

Share Article

Rich in historical details, this character-driven, fast-paced novel views the Civil War through the eyes of a man battling what doctors in that era called "soldier's heart" (PTSD). Readers learn that many southerners felt conflicted about the war, slavery, conscription and the role of mercenary blockade-runners.

"Overall, Larranaga delivers an engaging history lesson as well as a page-turning adventure." — Kirkus Reviews

"The Reckoning" is the first-person account of Ed Canfield, a blockade runner battling his own demons and deadly foes on every side.

Novelist Bob Larranaga has created in Canfield, a reluctant hero who will resonate with anyone familiar with the heartache of PTSD. Canfield cannot forget the blood he shed as a young soldier in the Mexican-American War. At the outset of the fighting, he embodies the conflicted feelings of many southerners, who opposed the Civil War, slavery, conscription and the role of mercenary British blockade-runners.

As the fighting intensifies, Canfield fears the Civil War will claim his son, Jesse, a young firebrand who wants to fight the Yankees. Then a surprise attack by a federal gunboat forces Ed to fight and Jesse to grow up fast. They run the Union blockade in a daring attempt to rescue Ed's lover, Maureen, held captive in the Everglades. The Canfields race through the graveyard of the sea and into the fight of their lives—one that will test Ed Canfield's "soldier's heart" to the core.

"The Reckoning" captures the grim reality of daily life during the war and the horror of a conflict that pitted neighbor against neighbor. The informative narrative exposes the toll taken on combatants and civilians alike by deadly diseases and renegade soldiers. Based in part on the January 1862 Union attack on Cedar Keys, Florida, the story should appeal to fans of historical romance, Civil War buffs, teens, and anyone familiar with PTSD.

This is Larranaga's eighth book and his first historical novel. Though raised in New York, his southern roots go deep. His great great grandfather was one of Florida's earliest lighthouse keepers. The Fresnel lens from that lighthouse stands on display today in the Key West Lighthouse Museum. Larranaga's great grandfather fought in the Civil War before settling in Key West where he became one of the island's largest landowners.The inspiration for this novel was a pocket-sized journal his great grandfather kept during the war.

"His account of the bloody fighting," Larranaga says, "left me wondering how he must have felt long after leaving the army." A tour of Civil War battlefields provided the added spark he needed to write his novel. Bob and his wife Mary live on Florida's Gulf Coast and in Minnesota's lake country.

As a former publisher, he chose to self-publish his novel, now available as a paperback through and other booksellers. A Kindle version is also available.

To promote the book, Larranaga has created three web sites:,, and the Civil War hub page on Facebook.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Bob Larranaga
Email >
Visit website