The Words of Kahn

By Steven Libowitz   |   March 12, 2020

Santa Barbara physician, musician, and author James Kahn will read from Matamoros, his Civil War romance that has received strong reviews, at Chaucer’s Bookstore at 7 pm on Wednesday, March 18. The book takes place in 1862, when the Union Army had blockaded all Confederate ports. Just across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, Matamoros was the only harbor where the South could ship its cotton to Europe, and smuggle in arms for the rebellion, so it became a haven for Yankee and Rebel spies and diplomats, gunrunners, and cotton smugglers, runaway slaves, bandits, Texas Rangers, and rogues of all kinds. But Matamoros was also full of French Foreign Legionnaires, because that same year, Napoleon III had invaded Mexico, to install Archduke Maximilian of Austria as Emperor. Set against the backdrop of the two wars, the book tells the story of Clay, an expatriate Southern gentleman running a gambling hall, and Allie, his ex-con artist partner who brings her cotton train to market, in a star-crossed affair that is tested by their conflicted allegiances amidst the tides of battle.

Kahn is an ER doctor, novelist, TV writer-producer, and singer-songwriter whose previous published works include the original sci-fi trilogy World Enough and Time, Time’s Dark Laughter, and Timefall, and the novelizations of the films Return of the Jedi, Poltergeist, The Goonies, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. His television credits span from St. Elsewhere to Xena: Warrior Princess, and he served as supervising producer on Star Trek: Voyager, co-executive producer on Melrose Place, and medical advisor on Spielberg’s ET: The Extraterrestrial. Call (805) 682-6787 or visit


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