Set in the 1920s, this is the story of Jedidiah Robbins who travels by train with his daughter and a crew of roustabouts through the southern mountains as a preacher to hold revivals and, simultaneously, as an entrepreneur, to provide moonshine to local establishments. "In his latest novel, Terry Roberts has created an unforgettable character in Jedidiah Robbins, a reverend who delivers both sermons and whiskey to his followers, but his novel transcends mere satire to become much more. Ultimately, The Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival contemplates complex questions of faith and morality in a world ripe with hypocrisy. Terry Roberts is an immensely gifted writer, and he gets better with each book. Bravo!" ― Ron Rash. "This ballad of a novel is an affectionate account of a charismatic evangelist and his devoted team. Part Elmer Gantry, part confidence man with a heart of gold, Jedidiah Robbins delights and surprises us in this Prohibition era romp of romance and moonshine, as impossible to resist as a Doc Watson solo. Rev. Robbins is haunted by the past, confronts the KKK, and though all too human at times, displays a bedrock of spirituality, and even makes friends with the Grim Reaper, in this picaresque narrative of loyalty and love in the mountains of North Carolina." ― Robert Morgan.“Jedidiah Robbins – part con man, part spiritual seeker – is a brilliant and very American creation . . . beautifully and vigorously written.” - Charles Frazier. This is the third novel by Terry Roberts who claims that among his Western North Carolina ancestors, who have lived in the region since the Revolutionary War, were both preachers and moonshiners, but never a character who combined the two enterprises. Robbins grew up near Weaverville and now lives in Asheville and serves as the Director of the National Paideia Center which offers Socratic seminars to students and faculty.
Nashville: Turner Publishing Company, 2018. 321 pages. Hardback in dust jacket and trade paperback published simultaneously.