Series Overview

MERION MERCIES is a chronological series of literary novels about America, from its frontier founding in the early 1600s to the modern era, unfolding all within a circumscribed, strikingly significant locale, and featuring a luminous cast of real-life players.

Author Andrew Hubsch’s deft narrative unity and consummate research distill the entirety of the New World’s sprawling epic to a few choice square miles.  As if a proscenium arch frames a discrete, fabled patch of the American landscape — celebrating the generations of mythic and unsung alike who traverse its foliate stage and influence the larger world — MERION MERCIES chronicles, in microcosm, the breathtaking sweep of the nation’s vibrant saga.

The panoramic Welsh Tract history is as bountiful as its soil, and every crop of fresh aspirants contributes to a grand, topographic annal.  In 1684, eight years before Salem’s infamy, a jury convicts Margaret Mattson of non-practicing witchcraft, thus sparing punishment.  In 1777, Lieutenant Aaron Burr — the future Vice President and duelist — severs the arm of a mutinous sentry.  In 1899, feminist Kit Houghton graduates from Bryn Mawr College, as later does her namesake daughter, Katharine Hepburn, ’28.  In 1948, Pete Conrad’s astronautic career is grounded well before starting when he ditches prep school one time too many (to fly on the sly), expelled on the eve of his senior year, breaking his single mother’s heart.  Tomorrow’s headliners, before notice.

Even as local geography tightly governs the focal plane, a boundary-breaking prologue opens each volume, highlighting the arrival journey of a representative individual or immigrant group.  Their travels, and various origin points, interpolate a larger global context, illustrate the age’s conveyances, and underscore the recurrent dynamism of newcomers in a fluid society.

Like Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, Gore Vidal’s episodic American Chronicles, John Dos Passos’ USA, and Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy, MERION MERCIES melds scholarly, interpretive, visceral history with serial appeal and literary élan.  By pacing organically over several titles, à la Jane Smiley or Isabel Allende, the epochal genre of Edward Rutherfurd and James Michener is elevated to new narrative heights.

Imagine Big Trouble (J. Anthony Lukas) or Gotham (Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace) meeting John Jakes; the operatic, interlaced mosaics of E.L. Doctorow and Herman Wouk, repeatedly surveying a setting, over time; William Least Heat-Moon’s PrairyErth and William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha novels, excavating layers of a single county; Alice Hoffman’s Blackbird House, observing successive lives against a fixed backdrop; or Lauren Belfer’s City of Light, Thomas Kelly’s Empire Rising, and Graham Moore’s The Last Days of Night, expanded, bridging eras.

Both as overarching series and stand-alone volumes, MERION MERCIES delivers a nuanced, cohesive portrait of America undergoing continual transformation.  Beginning with Karakung, through Above the Falls of Skool Kill and The Heavens Serene, and then beyond, Andrew Hubsch — with assurance and grace — reveals human-scale, resonant stories amid monumental change.  And for a rootless people, this modest, evolving terrain represents a rare, continuous link to the very beginnings of the Old World’s claims on North America, and a heritage shared by all.