Showing posts with label History Related. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History Related. Show all posts

11 October 2021

[Blog Tour] 'After Gáirech' By Micheál Cladáin #HistoricalFiction

[Blog Tour] 'After Gáirech' By Micheál Cladáin #HistoricalFiction
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The Book:

After Gáirech
By Micheál Cladáin
  • Publication Date: 30th September 2021
  • Publisher: PerchedCrowPress
  • Page Length: 370 Pages
  • Genre: Historical Fiction

The Blurb:

The battle of Gáirech is over; the armies of Connachta, Lagin, and Mumu are destroyed! Survivors are ravaging The Five Kingdoms of Ireland!

While working to resolve the Kingdoms’ issues and bring peace, Cathbadh is murdered, dying in his son Genonn’s arms. Genonn vows to avenge the death of his father.

For his revenge to work, he needs Conall Cernach and the Red Branch warriors of Ulster. But Conall is gone, searching for the head of Cú Chulainn. Genonn sets out to find him, aided by the beautiful Fedelm, the capricious Lee Fliath and the stalwart Bradán.

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[Blog Tour] 'After Gáirech' By Micheál Cladáin #HistoricalFiction
After Gáirech - Book Cover

'After Gáirech' - Excerpt:

Nechtan listened to the mumbling of the snaking line of warriors. They were riding through the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains, fidgeting in their saddles and moaning in whispers, vainly trying to keep their pain to themselves. Thirty warriors and only a handful could say they were free of wounds. The cattle raid had promised riches beyond belief and then delivered nothing but pain and hunger and for some, death.

Sighing, Nechtan peered up through the canopy. The sky was taking on the darker blue of one soon to be abandoned by the sun. He was searching for a crow, any crow, so long as it flew in the same direction as his warband. His brows creased when the skies appeared empty. No crows. No birds of any kind.

Now ain’t that a shite. Where’s the crows when you need them?

Staring into the forest, he wondered what would be better: a good omen or no omen. His suspicions were with the former. Anything to keep his fénnid happy. Warriors in pain were prone to violence. Hungry warriors in pain were prone to extreme violence, usually directed at the one they considered responsible: the captain.

And rightly so. A captain was only as good as the silver, meat, and mead he provided. Steering them up the Cooley Peninsula to steal Mac Fiachna’s famous Brown Bull proved to be a mistake. And it wasn’t even good eating. Tough as old saddle leather. Why the Cailleach decided to roast the animal was anyone’s guess. Roast it and then spread the rumour the two bulls fought it out in an epic battle, even more so. Still, who was he to question Queen Medb? She was a queen, and he was nothing but an elevated woodsman.

Although uninjured, Nechtan felt a despondency bubbling under his shirt, ants of sweat crawling over his skin. With another night of soulless fires and tight belts, his warriors would start to think of a change. Start to listen to the claims of those who considered themselves his better. Nothing would stop them from turning to a captain who could feed them, provide them with enough silver to live a decent life. A captain who would keep their promises, at the very least.

Sharvan, he thought, glancing sideways.

‘If we hurry, we’ll make Ráth Droma before sunset,’ he called. ‘We’ll demand respite from the chief. Keeps a good vat of mead, does yer man Mathaman.’

‘What makes you think he’ll welcome us, this chieftain?’ Sharvan asked, staring at him with his little pig eyes.

Nechtan glowered at his redheaded second, before turning away and sighing. Sharvan made his warhorse seem like a pony. He was a good fighter, a good leader, his bulk demanding obedience, but his constant questions and less than average brainpower grated. You’re a bit of a dog shite and no mistake, Nechtan thought, turning to stare into the forest.

‘We go way back,’ Nechtan said, wondering how many times he needed to repeat it.

‘Aye, so you said. Often. Said you hanged a usurper. But that happened years back. Long before they routed us at Gáirech. You think this cúl an tí chief will remember? You think he’ll feed us even if he does remember?’

‘Aye, he’s a bogman. So, if he’s even heard of Gáirech, he won’t show no favour. He’s no love for Ulster neither. Besides, the Cailleach claims victory. Says she got the bull, and the Ulster king ran. She could be right, his kingship’s over either way. The Red Branch won’t forgive him running like a beaten cur.’

‘Won, did we?’ Sharvan scoffed. ‘Good of the lady to forget Cú Chulainn cutting swathes through us like we was harvest wheat.’

‘You can’t hold that against her. Them as rule, think different to us. They have different ideas about winning and losing. Different ideas about–’

‘None of that fills our bellies,’ Sharvan interrupted with a snort. ‘Nor give us the promised silver. Them as rule, can stick their ideas of winning up their holes.’

Nechtan stood in his stirrups and turned back to the warriors riding in his wake, his fían. There were thirty, and he would welcome all of them beside him in a shield wall, even though they were not the best fighters. The band had included fifty-two fénnid when they rode with the Cailleach just a handful of days before. Now the best of them were rotting on the field at Gáirech, feed for the animals. Crows and wolves, mostly. Maybe the occasional fox when the wolves allowed.

The view behind did not improve his unease.

There was none of the usual banter as they rode towards the ráth of Mathaman, just a stench of blood and a profusion of dirty, rag wrapped wounds. They were tired. War-weary and poor. Captain Bréannin was meant to pay their purse with spoils from the raid on Cooley, but the army of Ulster took all the loot, along with most of Nechtan’s best warriors. It was always the best who died, being first in the shield wall. Each wall meant having to start again, which he hated. This time, there were no spoils to pay for the rebuild. He would have to grab some young ‘uns. Bring them up to be fighters; fill their heads with tales of gold and glory. It would be a long and slow road, which would push back his buying a steading where he could raise some cattle and a baby or two. Get himself a beautiful redheaded seeress like the one who predicted the outcome of the cattle raid. He was too far away to clearly hear the name she gave before forecasting Cú Chulainn’s murderous attacks. But she reminded him of a redheaded whore he knew on Ynys Môn. Next time he was on the island, he would pay her some coppers and live his dream, if only for a short while.

If he ever made it to the island. He was not sure he would make it out of this bunghole of a forest. With the giant acting as their voice, he could see himself hanging from a tree before nightfall.

Trying to hide the grimace he felt creasing his mouth, he turned and made an attempt to appease Sharvan.

‘He’ll give us our traveller rights. I’m sure.’

‘And if he doesn’t?’

‘We’ll take them. From what I remember, there’s four guards, different generations of the same family. Rusty shirts. Blunt swords. Big guts from lots of mead and no exercise. Gráinne could take them on her own, one arm tied behind her back.’

‘Did you hear that Gráinne? You’re to be the razer of Ráth Droma,’ Sharvan called, raising a laugh for the first time since the eve of Gáirech, that one-sided battle they should have won with ease. They had twice the numbers of Ulster’s Red Branch. Nechtan still didn’t understand how they lost. Bad leadership aside, they should have just overwhelmed the opposing wall.

‘Hush. We near the gates. I know the gatekeep is older than the Dagda, but he might have a hearing horn,’ Nechtan called. Those who heard laughed again.

‘Never mind the talk,’ Sharvan said. ‘We take our rights by force, and Bréannin will be after us with a company of Leinster’s best.’

‘The Leinster company ran, leaving Bréannin sat on his horse like a shite on the doorstep of a royal roundhouse. I doubt he’s still a captain. If the Cailleach got hold of him, I doubt he’s still alive. No, we’ve no need to worry about Leinster’s best, nor anyone else’s. The kingdoms are in a mess, none more so than Leinster.’ Nechtan hesitated, thinking.

‘You think Leinster defenceless?’ Sharvan asked with a smile, made plain by the movement of his beard.

‘They have much to deal with before they can worry about the likes of one small fían.’

‘So, we’re free to raid?’

‘We are free to raid,’ Nechtan nodded.

As the shadows darkened, they turned off Slíghe Chualann and arrived at the closed gates of Ráth Droma, nestled in a vale back from the road. Nechtan shook his head at the wooden trunks on top of the ráth as they neared. The settlement was a picture of tranquillity, the ramparts free of guards. Nothing of the cattle raid had yet made its way this far south. The bog men and woodcutters were still unaware of their danger, which he knew would not be for long.

Things were set to change after Gáirech.

[Blog Tour] 'After Gáirech' By Micheál Cladáin #HistoricalFiction
Micheál Cladáin

Author Bio:

Micheál Cladáin studied the classics and developed a love of ancient civilizations during those studies. Learning about ancient Roman and Greek cultures was augmented by a combined sixteen years living in those societies, albeit the modern versions, in Cyprus and Italy. As such, Micheál decided to write historical fiction, trying to follow in the footsteps of such greats as Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden. Because of his Irish roots, he chose pre-Christian Ireland as his setting, rather than ancient Italy or Greece.

Micheál is a full-time writer, who lives in the wilds of Wexford with his wife and their border terriers, Ruby and Maisy.

Connect With Micheál Cladáin:

[Blog Tour] 'After Gáirech' By Micheál Cladáin #HistoricalFiction
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4 October 2021

[Blog Tour] 'Darjeeling Inheritance' (The Colonials) By Liz Harris #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance

[Blog Tour] 'Darjeeling Inheritance' (The Colonials) By Liz Harris #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance
Darjeeling Inheritance - Tour Banner

The Book:

Darjeeling Inheritance
(The Colonials)
By Liz Harris

  • Publication Date: 1st October 2021
  • Publisher: Heywood Press
  • Page Length: 365 pages
  • Genre: Historical Romance

The Blurb:

Darjeeling, 1930

After eleven years in school in England, Charlotte Lawrence returns to Sundar, the tea plantation owned by her family, and finds an empty house. She learns that her beloved father died a couple of days earlier and that he left her his estate. She learns also that it was his wish that she marry Andrew McAllister, the good-looking younger son from a neighbouring plantation.

Unwilling to commit to a wedding for which she doesn’t feel ready, Charlotte pleads with Dan Fitzgerald, the assistant manager of Sundar, to teach her how to run the plantation while she gets to know Andrew. Although reluctant as he knew that a woman would never be accepted as manager by the local merchants and workers, Dan agrees.

Charlotte’s chaperone on the journey from England, Ada Eastman, who during the long voyage, has become a friend, has journeyed to Darjeeling to marry Harry Banning, the owner of a neighbouring tea garden.

When Ada marries Harry, she’s determined to be a loyal and faithful wife. And to be a good friend to Charlotte. And nothing, but nothing, was going to stand in the way of that.
[Blog Tour] 'Darjeeling Inheritance' (The Colonials) By Liz Harris #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance
Darjeeling Inheritance - Book Cover 

'Darjeeling Inheritance' - Excerpt:

March, 1930

Charlotte Lawrence stood on the short drive leading up to her family’s home and stared in surprise at the silent house.

All around her, the harsh squawking of parrots vied with the repetitive call of the brainfever bird and with the ceaseless high-pitched chatter of the small, brightly coloured birds that circled restlessly above the corrugated-iron roof of the house, just as they’d continued to do in her mind since the day, eleven years before, that she’d been sent from Sundar to go to school in England.

But the house itself was silent and still.

Puzzled, she ran her gaze from one end of the lower verandah that spanned the width of the house to the other, seeking any movement behind the screen of plant-covered bamboo trellises that shielded the verandah from the full glare of the sun.

But there was none.

She raised her eyes to the glass-fronted upper verandah, but there was no sign of anyone there, either.

Instead of the normal bustle of late-morning activity that she’d expected, an air of lethargy enveloped the house.

Taking a step back, she glanced to her right, and squinted against the strengthening sun in an attempt to see past the well-tended lawn and potting-sheds to the brick-walled area where the servants had their quarters, and to the stables beyond them. But there was no one to be seen. Or to be heard.

How strange, she thought.

Her eyes returned to the house, and she frowned slightly, a sense of unease growing within her.

She’d assumed that her father would work at home for a day or so to be sure of being there when she got back. Or that if he’d been called away, her mother would have been there.

And the servants, too. Why weren’t they around?

In all the years she’d been at school in England, she hadn’t returned to Sundar so much as once. That was a long time to be away. She knew that her ayah had left some years ago, but she’d rather thought—rather hoped, if she were truly honest—that all the servants would run out of the house the moment they heard the cart, eager to see as soon as possible how their little burra baba had grown.

She swallowed the lump of disappointment that rose in her throat.

A dull thud behind her made her jump, and she turned towards the sound. The first of their trunks had landed in the reddish-brown dust on the ground, dropped there by the elderly driver of the bullock-drawn cart which had bumpily conveyed her and her chaperone from the small railway station in Sonada.

Dust billowed up around the trunk and drifted towards her.

She coughed, and turned back to face the house before the second trunk could strike the ground. She heard it land heavily, followed by the light thump of someone jumping the short distance from the cart to the ground. A moment later, she sensed her chaperone come to her side.

‘I wonder where everyone is, Ada,’ she said, her eyes still on the house. ‘The place looks completely deserted.’

Ada followed the direction of Charlotte’s gaze. ‘I expect they’re inside and haven’t heard us.’ She raised her arm and adjusted the angle of her blue straw cloche.

Charlotte turned to her. ‘What! With the noise the axles made? They squeaked horrendously at every turn of the wheel. They must have heard us from miles away.’

‘Of course,’ Ada said quickly. ‘I wasn’t thinking, I was too busy admiring the house and its setting. It’s lovely here, Charlotte. You’re lucky to have such a home.’

Charlotte gave her a warm smile. ‘And you’ll have such a home, too, with your Mr Banning.’

‘Yes, I’m sure I will. As for your father, maybe he had to sort out a problem with the tea bushes. And the servants might be doing what they ought to be doing, but so often aren’t if they’re anything like English servants, and that’s working.’ She squeezed Charlotte’s arm. ‘Don’t worry, Charlotte dear. There’ll be a good reason why no one’s in, or if they are in, why they haven’t come out yet.’

Charlotte nodded. ‘You’re right, of course. And since Father managed to get to England twice only in all the time I was there, and I rarely saw Mother more than once a year, it’ll hardly hurt me to wait a little longer to see them. All the same … .’

She shrugged her shoulders, and glanced back at the cart. ‘As soon as the driver’s unloaded the luggage, we’ll go in and have some refreshment. I don’t know about you, but I’m absolutely parched. And the smell of tea in the air is only making it worse. Also, it’s getting quite hot.’

Ada gave Charlotte a light push. ‘You go on in. I’ll take care of everything out here.’

Charlotte looked back at the house. ‘That’s very kind of you, Ada. I think I will, thank you. I must admit, I’m excited to be home at last. I’m longing to see Father again.’

Ada assumed an expression of mock amazement. ‘You don’t say! I’d never have guessed. Not even though you started counting down the hours to Sundar from the moment we sailed out of Southampton.’

Charlotte laughed. She pulled off her felt cloche, shook free the auburn hair she’d pinned with a comb on top of her head, and went up the path to the wooden steps that led to the verandah, swinging her hat at her side as she walked.

When she reached the top step, she glanced back at Ada, gave her a smile of excited anticipation, and then went up to the front door, pushed it open and stepped into the house.

Pausing in the cool of the hall, she looked around her. Then she closed her eyes, and inhaled the musky scent of sandalwood, turmeric and cardamom. Her breath escaped in a sigh of deep happiness—she was home at last, back in the place she loved, the place that part of her had never truly left.

For a minute or two she stood there motionless, her head tilted back, her eyes shut, drinking in the moment and letting delight flow through her.

Then she opened her eyes, walked along the hall to the door at the far end and opened it, half-expecting to see her father sitting in his favourite chair in the morning room.

But the room was empty of everything except the rays of the sun and the shimmering particles of dust that were trapped in the columns of light. And there was no one on the verandah outside, either.

Her anxiety returning, she went to the foot of the teak wood staircase that led to the upstairs rooms, put her hand on the newel post, and called up to the landing, ‘Is anyone there?’

The air was weighted with silence.

She let go of the bannister, went across to the far right-hand corner of the hall and pushed aside the flimsy screen made of split bamboo that concealed the opening to a small kitchen and pantry. But the kitchen, too, was empty.

Biting her lip, she went quickly across the kitchen to the back door, pushed it open and stared along the covered walkway to the main cookhouse, which stood at the entrance to the servants’ compound.

But there was no activity anywhere: not around the cookhouse; not in front of any of the houses in the compound; not on any of the small vegetable plots she could see from where she was standing.

Her heart beating fast at the strangeness of the situation, she returned to the hall, and stopped abruptly in front of the sliding doors leading to the drawing room.

A wave of relief swept through her, and her hand flew to her head.

Of course! That’s where her father would be—he’d be in his office!

His office led off the far end of the drawing room and was on the back of the house. Being in there, he wouldn’t have heard her arrive. How stupid of her—she should have gone there before anywhere else.

She went to pull aside the doors, but stopped sharply at the sound of footsteps in the drawing-room. Someone was coming towards her. It’d be her father. Her relief deepened and she moved back and stood still, waiting, a smile on her lips.

The doors opened and a tall lean man in a dust-coloured safari suit came out into the hall.

She froze. Her smile faded. ‘Who are you?’

[Blog Tour] 'Darjeeling Inheritance' (The Colonials) By Liz Harris #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance
Liz Harris

Author Bio:

Born in London, Liz Harris graduated from university with a Law degree, and then moved to California, where she led a varied life, from waitressing on Sunset Strip to working as secretary to the CEO of a large Japanese trading company.

Six years later, she returned to London and completed a degree in English, after which she taught secondary school pupils, first in Berkshire, and then in Cheshire.

In addition to the ten novels she’s had published, she’s had several short stories in anthologies and magazines.

Liz now lives in Oxfordshire. An active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Historical Novel Society, her interests are travel, the theatre, reading and cryptic crosswords.

Connect with Liz Harris:

[Blog Tour] 'Darjeeling Inheritance' (The Colonials) By Liz Harris #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance
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1 October 2021

[Blog Tour] 'Bloody Dominions' (The Conquest Trilogy, Book 1) By Nick Macklin #HistoricalFiction

[Blog Tour] 'Bloody Dominions' (The Conquest Trilogy, Book 1) By Nick Macklin #HistoricalFiction
Bloody Dominions - Tour Banner

The Book:

Bloody Dominions
(The Conquest Trilogy, Book 1)
By Nick Macklin

Publication Date: 28th June 2021
Publisher: Troubador Publishing
Page Length: 368 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

The Blurb:

Journey with those at the heart of the conflict as Caesar embarks on the tumultuous conquest of Gaul 58-51 BC. Book One 58-56 BC.

As Caesar’s campaign begins, tests of courage and belief will confront the three protagonists, shaping them as individuals and challenging their views of the world and each other:

Atticus – an impetuous but naturally gifted soldier, whose grandfather served with distinction in the legions;

Allerix – a Chieftain of the Aduatuci, who finds himself fighting both for and against Caesar; and

Epona – a fierce warrior and Allerixs’ adopted sister.

Experiencing the brutalities of conflict and the repercussions of both victory and defeat, Atticus, Allerix and Epona will cross paths repeatedly, their destinies bound together across time, the vast and hostile territories of Gaul and the barriers of fate that have defined them as enemies. In a twist of fate, Atticus and Allerix discover that they share a bond, a secret that nobody could ever foresee…

Trigger Warnings: Violence, attempted rape.

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[Blog Tour] 'Bloody Dominions' (The Conquest Trilogy, Book 1) By Nick Macklin #HistoricalFiction
Bloody Dominions - Book Cover

 'Bloody Dominions' - Excerpt:

Free of his armour, Atticus set off up the slope after Garmanos. Surprisingly nimble for one so large, he was already approaching the top of the climb. Determined to close the gap, Atticus gritted his teeth and pushed on. It was hard going and he was dripping with sweat and breathing heavily as he reached Garmanos, who was by now laying prostate on the forest floor. He signalled for Atticus to do likewise and together they inched forward until they were able to peer cautiously over the ridge. Screwing up his eyes against the glare of the sun, Atticus could see that the ridge was topped with a grass-covered hollow. It was quite narrow but extended for some distance along the ridge. Garmanos nudged Atticus and gestured toward the remains of a fire in the centre of the open space. It didn’t look like it had long been extinguished. He could see the signs of several more at either end of the hollow. By the looks of it, a sizeable group had camped here and very recently too. He felt decidedly uneasy. Garmanos took one last look around and jumped to his feet. Atticus followed him down the bank and watched as he quickly surveyed the ground. He wasn’t sure how Garmanos had determined which of the paths to follow but he seemed confident enough.

“This way. But quietly. There are men and horses on this side of the hill.”

Leaving that thought hanging he set off down the path. If anything, the hill was steeper on this side but the path wound its way down the slope in a series of wide arcs sweeping between the trees and they were able to make good progress. As they rounded one of the bends, Atticus could see that the path dropped abruptly into a ditch running parallel to a wider track cutting across their own. He followed Garmanos into the ditch and was about to climb out when he felt a tug to his sleeve. Garmanos signalled for him to be quiet and pointed to a moss-covered tree trunk that had long since fallen into the ditch. Atticus wasn’t sure what was happening but he followed Garmanos as he hurriedly edged towards the tree and squeezed into the space between the upturned roots and the wall of the ditch. Garmanos pointed towards the right of the track.

“Riders. Two of them.”

Atticus hadn’t seen or heard anything but he wrapped his arms tightly around his legs and tried to make himself as small as possible. He pulled some of the larger ferns across the gap and tried to control his breathing. For a while, Atticus wondered if Garmanos had been mistaken. Then he heard the sound of hooves on the road. He swallowed nervously; they were tucked well into the bank but he still felt horribly exposed. And he would have walked right into their path if it hadn’t been for Garmanos. Perhaps he had misjudged his prowess as a guide after all. Hardly daring to move, he peered towards the path from the corner of his eye. The two riders trotted slowly into view. Warriors. They were talking animatedly as they rode but gave no indication that they had seen anything untoward. Relieved, Atticus let out a deep breath. As the riders reached the intersection of the two paths, they paused. After what seemed like a heated discussion, they set off again, continuing along the wider track, passing directly above them as they did. Atticus could hear them laughing. Garmanos waited for a few moments and quietly crawled back into the ditch. Atticus followed him out from under the roots, keeping a careful watch on the track.

“What was that all about?”

“They are looking for you and your friends. The scout must have alerted them to our presence in the forest.”

“What were they arguing about?”

“Whether they should explore the smaller path.”

“Why didn’t they?”

“The wider track was easier and…”

Garmanos paused. Atticus felt a pang of concern.

“And what?”

“They said it wouldn’t matter since you would all be dead soon enough anyway.”

Atticus’ blood ran cold. He had to warn Plautius but what about? He didn’t know how many warriors there were. He needed to know more. Fighting the impulse to head back immediately, he gestured in the direction from which the warriors had approached.

“Can we follow the track a little further?”

Garmanos seemed a little surprised at this but he shrugged and nodded his head. Remaining in the ditch for safety, they carefully moved forward. They hadn’t gone far when the path started to dip and the treeline began to thin, revealing what looked like a narrow valley nestling between the hills. It might have been a pleasant sight if the lush green fields hadn’t been filled by a huge camp. Stretching as far as the eye could see, the valley was filled with tents, wagons, horses and a growing number of enemy warriors. Those already on the plain were being jostled slowly forward as more and more spilled out from the woods on either side. Atticus was filled with a sudden sense of dread. The first of the legions would surely be arriving soon.

They were walking into a trap.

He had to get back. He nodded to Garmanos and they hurriedly set about retracing their steps. Atticus desperately wanted to break cover and use the track but he knew it increased the risk of them being spotted. He was growing ever more anxious however as they finally arrived back at the path they had originally followed. Inching up the bank, he craned his neck to see if he could detect any sign of the warriors behind them. Nothing. Yet. They might still have time. Garmanos dragged himself up the bank and with one final look he set off back up the hill. Atticus followed suit. Running for his life and those of his unsuspecting comrades on the opposite side of the hill.
[Blog Tour] 'Bloody Dominions' (The Conquest Trilogy, Book 1) By Nick Macklin #HistoricalFiction
Nick Macklin

Author Bio:

A history graduate, Nick Macklin enjoyed developing the skills that would stand him in good stead during the extensive research he conducted prior to writing his novel. Whilst the ancient world unfortunately didn’t feature to any extent in his history degree, (the result of failing miserably to secure the A level grades that would have permitted greater choice) he maintained a lifelong and profound interest in ancient history and especially the Roman Empire, continuing to read avidly as he embarked on a career in HR. Over the next 30 years or so Nick occupied a variety of Senior/Director roles, most recently in the NHS. Unsurprisingly, writing in these roles was largely confined to the prosaic demands of Board papers but Nick never lost the long-harboured belief, motivated by the works of writers such as Robert Fabbri, Robyn Young, Anthony Riches, Simon Scarrow, Matthew Harffy and Giles Kristian, that he too had a story to tell. When he was presented with a window of opportunity c3 years ago he took the decision to place his career on hold and see if he could convert that belief into reality.

Nick always knew that he wanted to set the novel against the backdrop of a significant event/period in Roman history. Looking to narrow that down to something offering the potential for meaningful character and plot development, but that hadn’t already received exhaustive coverage, he settled on Caesars tumultuous occupation of Gaul. Spanning 8 years, the prolonged clash of cultures offered ample opportunity for the kind of dual perspective from which he was hoping to tell the story, whilst the violent conflict provided a wealth of exciting material to explore the changing fortunes of war and its impact at a personal level. The switching of allegiances, nations fighting for and against Rome also provided the potential for some intriguing plot lines. As his research unfolded, he was also struck by just how heavily the Roman psyche during this period was influenced by the scare they had received 50 years earlier when Germanic tribes invaded their territories and defeated their legions. Seeing references to the veterans of that war watching their sons and grandsons enlist for a similar campaign, he started to think about developing that link on both sides of the conflict. And so, the idea for the Conquest Trilogy was born.

In Bloody Dominions Nick has sought to produce a novel in which unfolding events are experienced and described from the perspective of protagonists on both sides of Caesar’s incursion into Gaul. Conscious that the role of women in Roman fiction, Boudica aside, is largely confined to spouse, prostitute or slave, Nick wanted to ensure that one of his lead characters was female and a prominent member of the warrior clan of her tribe. The novel is driven by these characters but the framework against which their stories unfold is historically accurate, featuring actual participants in Caesar’s campaign and drawing on real events as they occurred. As such Nick is genuinely excited about his characters and the story they have to tell.

Nick lives in Exeter with his two daughters and is currently juggling work as an Independent HR Consultant with writing the second novel in the Conquest Trilogy, Battle Scars.

Connect with Nick Macklin:

[Blog Tour] 'Bloody Dominions' (The Conquest Trilogy, Book 1) By Nick Macklin #HistoricalFiction
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28 September 2021

[Blog Tour] 'The Amber Crane' By Malve von Hassell #HistoricalFiction #Timeslip

[Blog Tour] 'The Amber Crane' By Malve von Hassell #HistoricalFiction #Timeslip
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The Book:

The Amber Crane
By Malve von Hassell

Publication Date: 25th June 2021
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Page Length: 268 Pages
Genre: Time-slip Historical Fiction / Young Adult

The Blurb:

Chafing at the rules of the amber guild, Peter, an apprentice during the waning years of the Thirty Years’ War, finds and keeps a forbidden piece of amber, despite the risk of severe penalties should his secret be discovered.

Little does he know that this amber has hidden powers, transporting him into a future far beyond anything he could imagine. In dreamlike encounters, Peter witnesses the ravages of the final months of World War II in and around his home. He becomes embroiled in the troubles faced by Lioba, a girl he meets who seeks to escape from the oncoming Russian army.

Peter struggles with the consequences of his actions, endangering his family, his amber master’s reputation, and his own future. How much is Peter prepared to sacrifice to right his wrongs?

  • Trigger Warnings: References to rape, Holocaust, World War II, violence

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[Blog Tour] 'The Amber Crane' By Malve von Hassell #HistoricalFiction #Timeslip
The Amber Crane - Book Cover

'The Amber Crane' - Excerpt:

Excerpt from Chapter 8 - LIOBA

Peter bumps against a wall. It is dark. Feeling around with his hand, he touches a metal knob. He twists it, and a door opens.

Peter stares at the sight in front of him, faintly illuminated by early morning light from a window. It is a room filled with rows of wooden tables and chairs. Peter’s eyes are drawn to a huge picture on the wall. A face with a mustache, shiny black hair combed to one side, and piercing eyes looms over the room. On a big blackboard, he can just make out two lines on top in a scraggly script, the last word missing where someone had started to wipe the board.

Oh, stranger, when you arrive in Sparta, tell of our pride
That here, obeying her behests, we –

“That here, obeying her behests, we died,” he completes the line in his mind. He had heard the lines often enough from Lorenz, who had learned them from his tutor. He had recited them to Peter over and over again at night when they sat in their beds and talked. Three hundred Spartans had died there at the battle of Thermopylae, the narrow pass where they made their last stand against tens of thousands of enemies.

Maybe this is a schoolroom, albeit an elaborate one. In the school in Stolpmünde, where Peter and Lorenz learned their letters, there are only benches without tables and a plain lectern for the teacher. Still, this space somehow smells like a schoolroom, stale and musty, evoking bored students waiting for the droning voice of the teacher to come to an end.

Startled by a soft rustling, Peter whips his head around.

The girl from his dreams is sitting on the floor with her back against the wall, wrapped in a ratty-looking blanket. She is awake.

“It’s you again.” The girl pulls up the blanket. “Are you in my dream, or am I in yours?”

“I honestly do not know,” Peter says slowly. “This is not like any dream I have ever had.”

“Well, at least you’re not a Russian soldier. Anyway, they haven’t gotten this far west yet. Are you going to vanish again in midsentence?”

“I do not even know how I got here. Why do you talk so strangely?” He could understand her, but it was like listening to someone through a thick blanket. She seemed to swallow many of her words. “Why do you keep talking about Russians? Where is this?”

“Somewhere east of Danzig.” The girl frowns at him. “You sound like someone reciting the Luther Bible.”

Peter stares at her, bewildered and shaken. The bread from his supper sits in his stomach like a rock. The long-legged beast he remembers from before gets up from behind the desk and stretches.

Peter backs up.

“Don’t worry, she won’t bite you.”

It is the tallest dog he has ever seen—if it is a dog. It comes up to Peter and starts sniffing him vigorously. He can feel its breath. Then it evidently loses interest and lies down again, its legs stretched out in front like those of a crane. The matted fur smells like a sack of dirty woolens, but it is a warm and comforting scent.

“Your dog seems real,” Peter says, eyeing the beast nervously.

“So do you—for someone in a dream.” The girl studies him. She does not seem afraid any longer. “My name is Lioba. What’s yours?”


“Well, Peter, are you going to vanish again, or can we talk a bit? This is actually nice. You are the first person I have talked to in a while.” She starts to laugh. “Since you aren’t real, it’s not as if you are going to hurt me.” Then she wipes her face roughly as if irritated.

“You are crying,” Peter says.

Lioba’s hands are long and slender, but her nails are ragged and dirty.

The dog lifts its head as if in response to her distress and pushes its long nose against her leg.

Uncomfortable with Lioba’s evident anguish, Peter tries to distract her. “What sort of dog is that?”

“I think it’s a Borzoi.” Her voice sounds muffled.

“A what?”

“You know—a Russian wolfhound.”

“What do you mean, you think? This is not your dog?”

“She has been following me for weeks. You don’t have anything to eat, by any chance?” The dark shadows under Lioba’s eyes emphasize her broad cheekbones.

“Sorry.” Peter thinks of the loaf of bread Mistress Nowak had cut up for supper. Maybe the next time he goes to sleep, he should try to keep a piece of bread in his pocket.

Lioba drops the blanket and gets up. She closes the shutters of the windows and fastens them. She pulls the two panels of black fabric together, plunging the room into total darkness.

“Why are you doing this? I cannot see you.”

“Haven’t you heard of the blackout?” she scoffs.

Blackout? Bewildered, Peter hears the girl move toward the wall near the door. Suddenly, light streams from a strange lamp. At least, he thinks it is a lamp. Definitely not a candle or an oil lantern. “How did you do that?” he asks.

“Really?” Lioba scowls. “Are you making fun of me?”

“No, of course not. What is that? How did you make it glow?”

“Electricity, stupid! What century are you living in?”

“What do you mean, what century?” How dare this girl call him stupid? Clearly, she was confused. “Everybody knows that. This is the year of our Lord 1644.”

Lioba stares at him. Then her lips widen into a grin. “I don’t believe this. I am talking to someone in a dream, and he is not even from my own time.”

“Your own time?”

“Right. I don’t know about the year of our Lord 1644. This sure isn’t that. This is 1944. But I would gladly trade with you if I could.”

Three hundred years into the future. Peter reaches out to touch the wall next to him. It feels solid. The dog’s smell certainly feels real. Nothing else does in this strange, flat, dark grey world. It is as if he is standing outside, looking through the frame of a window.

Lioba frowns, folding her arms across her chest.

There is a roaring in his ears. A door bangs loudly somewhere, and everything goes dark.
[Blog Tour] 'The Amber Crane' By Malve von Hassell #HistoricalFiction #Timeslip
Malve von Hassell

Author Bio:

Malve von Hassell is a freelance writer, researcher, and translator. She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the New School for Social Research. Working as an independent scholar, she published The Struggle for Eden: Community Gardens in New York City (Bergin & Garvey 2002) and Homesteading in New York City 1978-1993: The Divided Heart of Loisaida (Bergin & Garvey 1996). She has also edited her grandfather Ulrich von Hassell's memoirs written in prison in 1944, Der Kreis schließt sich - Aufzeichnungen aus der Haft 1944 (Propylaen Verlag 1994). She has taught at Queens College, Baruch College, Pace University, and Suffolk County Community College, while continuing her work as a translator and writer. She has self-published two children’s picture books, Letters from the Tooth Fairy (2012/2020) and Turtle Crossing (2021), and her translation and annotation of a German children’s classic by Tamara Ramsay, Rennefarre: Dott’s Wonderful Travels and Adventures (Two Harbors Press, 2012). The Falconer’s Apprentice (namelos, 2015) was her first historical fiction novel for young adults. She has published Alina: A Song for the Telling (BHC Press, 2020), set in Jerusalem in the time of the crusades, and The Amber Crane (Odyssey Books, 2021), set in Germany in 1645 and 1945. She has completed a biographical work about a woman coming of age in Nazi Germany and is working on a historical fiction trilogy featuring Adela of Normandy.

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20 September 2021

[Blog Tour] 'Where Your Treasure Is' By M. C. Bunn #HistoricalFiction #VictorianRomance

[Blog Tour] 'Where Your Treasure Is' By M. C. Bunn #HistoricalFiction #VictorianRomance
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The Book:

Where Your Treasure Is
By M. C. Bunn
Publication Date: 23rd April 2021
Publisher: Bellastoria Press
Page Length: 454 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Victorian Romance

The Blurb:

Feisty, independent heiress Winifred de la Coeur has never wanted to live according to someone else’s rules—but even she didn’t plan on falling in love with a bank robber.

Winifred is a wealthy, nontraditional beauty who bridles against the strict rules and conventions of Victorian London society. When she gets caught up in the chaos of a bungled bank robbery, she is thrust unwillingly into an encounter with Court Furor, a reluctant getaway driver and prizefighter. In the bitter cold of a bleak London winter, sparks fly.

Winifred and Court are two misfits in their own circumscribed worlds—the fashionable beau monde with its rigorously upheld rules, and the gritty demimonde, where survival often means life-or-death choices.

Despite their conflicting backgrounds, they fall desperately in love while acknowledging the impossibility of remaining together. Returning to their own worlds, they try to make peace with their lives until a moment of unrestrained honesty and defiance threatens to topple the deceptions that they have carefully constructed to protect each other.

A story of the overlapping entanglements of Victorian London’s social classes, the strength of family bonds and true friendship, and the power of love to heal a broken spirit.

Buy Links:

'Where Your Treasure Is' - Cover

'Where Your Treasure Is' - Excerpt:

Winifred and the man stumbled down a flight of narrow stairs. He kicked a door. Before them a deserted kitchen gleamed. Pots steamed unattended. The man pushed her toward the scullery. In a moment they would be outdoors. She redoubled her efforts to break free of him.

In a corner, a scullery maid and a butcher’s boy kissed. At the sound of Winifred’s screams, they broke apart guiltily and stared openmouthed at her. Her captor swore and pointed his gun at the couple. The girl screeched, and the boy snatched up a dripping pot lid in defense of his paramour.

“Fire!” the man shouted at them. “Run for your lives!”

The boy threw down the pot lid, grabbed his girl, and they fled outside.

Gasping, the man pushed Winifred after them. Stairs, fresh air—she gulped at it. Then she saw a hackney waiting in the alley and the driver in his purple coat.


Court’s horse remained wary, her ears up, and swung her head toward the stairs that led down to the scullery. All at once, the butcher’s boy and a shrieking scullery maid clambered up the steps. They raced down the alley and took off in the boy’s cart at top speed. There was another rumble like the one Court had heard a minute ago. It sounded like distant thunder. He was vaguely aware of a rattle of bells in the street at the other end of the alley. A fire brigade passed. He smelled smoke.

Suddenly Geoff and a woman appeared at the bottom of the stairs. They were covered in white dust and coughing. A bright, wet, bloody streak covered half of Geoff’s face. Their progress was impeded by the woman’s wildly kicking little boots. Her struggles and the flashes of her bright green and purple silks made her look like an exotic bird thrashing in Geoff’s arms.

“What in ’ell ’appened to you? Where’s ’Ez?” Court shouted and ran forward to help.

“I don’t know!” Geoff coughed. “Forget ’im! We’ve got to get out ’o ’ere!”

“What about ’er? I saw a fire truck! Is she ’urt?”

“She’s comin’ with us!”

“Bleedin’ ’ell! ’Ave you lost your mind?” Court shouted. “Put ’er down!”

Geoff coughed and swore. “No! She saw me! Open the door!”

Geoff did not wait for Court to comply and thrust the woman at him. While Geoff bent over in another fit of coughing, the woman struggled and kicked, fanning dust all over Court, and cried for help. Involuntarily, he clapped his hand over her mouth. She only screamed louder.

“Shut up, you fat sow!” Geoff swatted her across the temple with Hez’s pistol.

The woman’s eyes rolled and she went limp.

Court howled in dismay and caught her.

Unconscious, her face took on an even sicklier pallor than the dust already gave it. In his arms, she was a mountain of soft cashmere and folds of velvet. Her mantle fell open, and her scent hit him. Lilies and some dark, exotic spice. It was so unexpected and heavenly that the alley and the hackney disappeared. Even his panic was gone.

“Give ’er ’ere!” Geoff grabbed the woman and hauled her into the cab. The hem of her skirt caught on the door and ripped. “Give me your tie,” Geoff ordered.

Court removed his neckerchief, thinking Geoff wanted to wipe the blood off his face. Instead, he gagged the woman then removed his belt in order to bind her wrists. This was too much. Court grabbed the woman’s ankles. “Put ’er ’ands in front o’ ’er at least!”

“The bitch tried to stab me with a ’atpin!”

“Do it, or we ain’t goin’ nowhere!”

Geoff scowled in disgust but tied her hands in front. “Soft!”

From above came another low rumble. The mare lunged. Court let go of the woman to steady the horse. Another fire truck raced past the end of the alley. There was a distinct odor of smoke.

Geoff dumped the woman onto the floor of the cab. “The gas lines is goin’! Go on, drive!”

In spite of the horse, Court made another attempt to extract the woman from Geoff’s clutches. “We can’t leave ’Ez! We can’t take ’er!”

Geoff clicked off the safety and waved the pistol under Court’s nose. When Court did not let go of the woman, he pointed the pistol at her head. “I ain’t arguin’! Drive!” He slammed the cab door.

His heart hammering, his head whirling, Court untied the horse, swung up onto the box, and grabbed the reins. As he turned the cab into the street behind the bank, yet another fire truck raced past.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! They were in for it now.

[Blog Tour] 'Where Your Treasure Is' By M. C. Bunn #HistoricalFiction #VictorianRomance
M. C. Bunn 

Author Bio:

M. C. Bunn grew up in a house full of books, history, and music. “Daddy was a master storyteller. The past was another world, but one that seemed familiar because of him. He read aloud at the table, classics or whatever historical subject interested him. His idea of bedtime stories were passages from Dickens, Twain, and Stevenson. Mama told me I could write whatever I wanted. She put a dictionary in my hands and let me use her typewriter, or watch I, Claudius and Shoulder to Shoulder when they first aired on Masterpiece Theatre. She was the realist. He was the romantic. They were a great team.”

Where Your Treasure Is, a novel set in late-Victorian London and Norfolk, came together after the sudden death of the author’s father. “I’d been teaching high school English for over a decade and had spent the summer cleaning my parents’ house and their offices. It was August, time for classes to begin. The characters emerged out of nowhere, sort of like they knew I needed them. They took over.

She had worked on a novella as part of her master’s degree in English years before but set it aside, along with many other stories. “I was also writing songs for the band I’m in and had done a libretto for a sacred piece. All of that was completely different from Where Your Treasure Is. Before her health declined, my mother heard Treasure’s first draft and encouraged me to return to prose. The novel is a nod to all the wonderful books my father read to us, the old movies we stayed up to watch, a thank you to my parents, especially Mama for reminding me that nothing is wasted. Dreams don’t have to die. Neither does love.

When M. C. Bunn is not writing, she’s researching or reading. Her idea of a well-appointed room includes multiple bookshelves, a full pot of coffee, and a place to lie down with a big, old book. To further feed her soul, she and her husband take long walks with their dog, Emeril in North Carolina’s woods, or she makes music with friends.

“I try to remember to look up at the sky and take some time each day to be thankful.”

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[Blog Tour] 'Where Your Treasure Is' By M. C. Bunn #HistoricalFiction #VictorianRomance
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15 September 2021

[Blog Tour] 'The Wisdom of the Flock: Franklin and Mesmer in Paris' By Steve M. Gnatz #HistoricalFiction

[Blog Tour] 'The Wisdom of the Flock: Franklin and Mesmer in Paris' By Steve M. Gnatz #HistoricalFiction
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The Book:

The Wisdom of the Flock: Franklin and Mesmer in Paris
By Steve M. Gnatz
  • Publication Date: November 2020
  • Publisher: Leather Apron Press
  • Page Length: 541 Pages
  • Genre: Historical Fiction

The Book Trailer:

The Blurb:


1776: Benjamin Franklin sails to Paris, carrying a copy of the Declaration of Independence, freshly signed. His charge: gain the support of France for the unfolding American Revolution. Yet Paris is a city of distractions. Ben’s lover, Marianne Davies, will soon arrive, and he yearns to rekindle his affair with the beautiful musician.

Dr. Franz Mesmer has plans for Marianne too. He has taken Parisian nobility by storm with his discovery of magnétisme animale, a mysterious force claimed to heal the sick. Marianne’s ability to channel Mesmer’s phenomena is key to his success.

A skeptical King Louis XVI appoints Ben to head a commission investigating the astonishing magnétisme animale. By nature, Ben requires proof. Can he scientifically prove that it does not exist? Mesmer will stop at nothing to protect his profitable claim.

The Wisdom of The Flock explores the conflict between science and mysticism in a time rife with revolution, love, spies, and passion.

  • Trigger Warnings: Mild sexual content
[Blog Tour] 'The Wisdom of the Flock: Franklin and Mesmer in Paris' By Steve M. Gnatz #HistoricalFiction
The Wisdom of the Flock - Book Cover

'The Wisdom of the Flock: Franklin and Mesmer in Paris' - Excerpt:

The crew would be starting their breakfast soon, yet food was the last thing Ben wanted. He made his way to the cloth-covered part of the deck. The thick oaken planks were wet with rain and sea spray. The area he sought was sheltered from the howling wind. Ben found the air on deck to be electrically charged and more invigorating than usual, exactly what he needed to settle his stomach and pounding head.

Ben sat down on a deck chair and spread a heavy wool blanket over his legs to shelter himself from the cold ocean spray.

“Do you believe in God, Doctor Franklin?” a deep voice asked.

Ben jumped, flailing his arms out of his lap. He hadn’t realized he was not alone. He squinted through his bifocals to make out a gaunt man, completely dressed in black, occupying a nearby chair. He was as emaciated as a saint but with the haughty countenance of a bishop. It was the Reverend William Smith.

“Reverend, I fervently hope that not only does He exist on such a foul day as this . . . but that He has a benevolent nature,” Ben replied.

The Reverend sat back and pulled a blanket up around his neck. “Well spoken,” he said with a chill in his voice.

Ben had learned long ago that there was no gain to be had in debating religious faith with devotees such as the Reverend. It wasn’t that Ben didn’t believe in God; it was simply that he didn’t have proof. And Ben needed proof of things. He could think of only a few aspects of his life that he was willing to take on faith. The love of his late wife came to mind. But then, that belief hadn’t been based entirely on faith either, for she had had ways of proving her love to him. God was a different matter altogether. A painful memory flashed of Ben praying to God to spare his son Francis from the pox, but the four-year-old succumbed. While this certainly wasn’t proof that God didn’t exist, though, it had shaken his faith. However, Ben knew that, like any true believer worth his salt, the Reverend would have an explanation for God’s lapse. Ben decided to change the subject.

“That bolt of lightning was close just now,” Ben said. He gazed out at the clouds that flashed in the distance.

“Aye, a bit too close for comfort,” the Reverend said. “But we can thank the Almighty for the effectiveness of your lightning rod. Lord knows how many ships were destroyed by fire before you were inspired by Him to invent it.”

Ben had not been certain that the clergyman would even know about his invention. Smith’s reply encouraged him to go on.

“Thank you, Reverend,” he said. “The Lord works in mysterious ways, even through men such as me. Though I am sure He’s familiar with how the rod works, I wonder if you are?”

The Reverend sat up a bit. “I know only that the lightning bolt was somehow prevented from striking the ship,” he replied.

“Oh no, the lightning almost certainly struck our ship just now,” Ben explained. “Our mast is the tallest point for miles at sea. When I began studying the behavior of lightning, I noted that it always seeks the highest point in the landscape. Not only that, but also that lightning always seeks its way to the ground. My lightning rod simply creates a safe channel for the lightning to pass through the ship, so as not to endanger the vessel or its cargo. If the lightning were to strike a mast, there would be damage or fire. And if the damage were severe enough, it might even sink the ship.

“My rod is placed at the highest point on the ship and attracts the lightning. But that alone isn’t enough to prevent catastrophe, for I also found that I needed to channel it through the ship to the water. A thick metal cable runs from the lightning rod to below the water line to accomplish this.”

“A truly marvelous invention,” the Reverend replied. “Thanks be to God. But I thought you said that lightning always seeks the ground. Wouldn’t you have to run your metal cable back to the Colonies for the rod to be effective?”

“Excellent, excellent,” Ben exclaimed, “that is just the sort of question a man of science carries within him like a man of the cloth seeks to understand the mysteries of his faith . . . but I do beg to remind you that our country is now called the United States of America.”

“Oh, yes! Force of habit,” the Reverend exclaimed.

“Perhaps not a bad habit to maintain until your mission is accomplished,” Ben said. “Your Anglican Church does not support independence for the people of the United States.”

“That doth vex me,” the Reverend replied. He sunk back in his chair.

Ben resumed his explanation animatedly. “You will observe Reverend, as I did early on, that lightning is an electrical fluid that has no trouble traveling quickly through the air. Through careful experiments, I also found that this electrical fluid travels through water, albeit more slowly. Hence, there’s no need to run a cable back to shore so long as we are connected to the earth by water. Scientists around the world have taken to calling this electrical fluid ‘electricity’.”

“But what do you believe to be the source of this ‘electricity’, as you call it?” the Reverend asked. “The Bible tells us that lightning is sent down from Heaven by God.”

A slight shiver traveled Ben’s spine. Was it the cold sea spray or a sense that the Reverend was once again testing his religious beliefs?

It had not been so many years since scientists had been treated as heretics and persecuted for their belief that natural forces might be studied for the benefit of mankind. Now, in modern-day 1776, in this age of enlightenment, a fragile truce existed between religion and science. Ben believed the truce had occurred in part because of advances in natural philosophy—the science of the natural world and medicine.

The revelation that tiny creatures seen through the microscope by Van Leeuwenhoek and others in the last century might be the cause of human diseases was gaining wider acceptance. With increasing frequency, descriptions of these microbes and their associated diseases were being published in the proceedings of the Royal Society in London.

Ben had a personal stake in understanding the spread of disease and in making others aware. Smallpox had claimed the life of his beloved son Francis over forty years ago, and still claimed the lives of thousands each year.

It was disheartening that despite the advent of effective inoculation against smallpox, the Church continued to consider the medical technique to be inconsistent with the established canon. Ben had stormed out of more than one sermon when the clergyman had condemned vaccination as unholy.

“Reverend, you may if you wish, believe that lightning represents the wrath of God . . . sent down to avenge the sins of mankind,” Ben said. “But I believe that this electrical fluid is simply another natural force—no more mystical than the powerful flow of water through a stream that the miller uses to turn a wheel and grind the grain from the field. Mankind has learned to harness many natural forces. While it is wild and dangerous today, I believe that electricity may someday yield tangible benefits to mankind . . . if we can learn how to channel it appropriately.”

The Reverend appeared to be deep in thought. He raised his eyebrows and shrugged. “What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set ignorance in the human heart; so that no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end,” he said.

“Ecclesiastes,” Ben replied. “But what do you mean by it?”

“Ben, don’t you see that there might be mysteries that are not intended to be known to man? That God has intended for some things to be taken on faith? That your natural philosophy both cannot, and I dare say should not, attempt to provide a proof for everything under the Sun? That by attempting to do so, by requiring proof for everything, you denigrate God and His power?”

“No, I don’t see it that way at all, Reverend,” Ben said. “I believe that God would want mankind to discover the intricate workings of the universe that He has created for us to live in. I believe that He has designed us to be probing, intelligent beings; designed us to yearn to discover and elucidate the hidden workings of the universe—not designed us as sheep, blindly following established doctrine.”

The Reverend looked as if he might object but said nothing.

Ben went on. “Take your own situation as an example. You do not believe that the Anglican Church is right in backing the British in this conflict over our freedom, correct?”

The Reverend squirmed in his seat. “Aye.”

“And the Church would say that you should accept their decision blindly, that it is God’s will, correct?”


“But you do not see it that way. You have seen the injustices inflicted by the British on our people. You have thought independently and asked yourself why God would want things this way. The answer we agree upon is that God would want our people to be free. It is the Church that has a different goal, the Church that has a need to maintain the status quo. Your Anglican Church claims to know the will of God in this matter . . . but do they? Once you start asking questions, as you have, once you start demanding proof of things, as I do—then you will ultimately find the correct answer: that the will of God and the will of the Church may not be one and the same.”

“Yes, I see your point,” the Reverend replied, “but what of God’s true will? Would it not be one of the mysteries that cannot be proven? Isn’t God’s will ultimately something that must be taken on faith?”

Ben didn’t have an answer to his question, but during the time they had talked, the storm had abated enough that his appetite returned.

“Reverend, what say we see what the cook has prepared for breakfast?”

“Nay, I’m not yet ready to eat, sir. I’ll sit out here a bit longer, contemplating what the Lord may have in store for me.”

Ben bid the Reverend good day and headed for the galley.

[Blog Tour] 'The Wisdom of the Flock: Franklin and Mesmer in Paris' By Steve M. Gnatz #HistoricalFiction
Steve Gnatz

Author Bio:

Steve Gnatz is a writer, physician, bicyclist, photographer, traveler, and aspiring ukulele player. The son of a history professor and a nurse, it seems that both medicine and history are in his blood. Writing historical fiction came naturally. An undergraduate degree in biology was complemented by a minor in classics. After completing medical school, he embarked on an academic medical career specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. There was little time for writing during those years, other than research papers and a technical primer on electromyography. Now retired from the practice of medicine, he devotes himself to the craft of fiction. The history of science is of particular interest, but also the dynamics of human relationships. People want to be good scientists, but sometimes human nature gets in the way. That makes for interesting stories. When not writing or traveling, he enjoys restoring Italian racing bicycles at home in Chicago with his wife and daughters.

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