October 28, 2007

Second Gone with the Wind sequel ready

ATLANTA - Rhett Butler, the fictional Southern charmer who walked out of Scarlett O'Hara's life in "Gone with the Wind," returns to Georgia next weekend — on a book tour of sorts.

The book, to be unveiled Saturday, is a kind of retelling of Margaret Mitchell's masterpiece from Rhett's perspective and traces Butler from his roots in South Carolina to Georgia, where he met the dramatic Scarlett.

An Atlanta committee charged with protecting Mitchell's novel authorized the book, "Rhett Butler's People."

The novel begins long before Scarlett ever uttered her first "fiddle-dee-dee" and goes on for nearly 100 more pages beyond where Mitchell ended things with "Tomorrow is another day."

The book was written by little-known Civil War novelist Donald McCaig, 67. Though his occasional use of the N-word in his manuscript initially gave the committee pause, it accepted the manuscript.

This is the second companion novel authorized by the Mitchell committee. The first, "Scarlett" by Alexandra Ripley, released in 1991, was a financial success but unpopular with critics.

"Scarlett" sold more than 6 million copies and spawned a CBS miniseries.

Much has changed since then, though. "Scarlett" was splashed cross the pages of the now-defunct Life magazine, but Rhett Butler and his book have a MySpace page.

"The public itself wanted another sequel," said Paul Anderson Jr., part of the three-lawyer committee that advises the Mitchell estate on protecting and exercising the original book's copyright.

"But this is not like 'Rocky.' We're not coming back every time we think we can make another book," Anderson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

No comments: