Excerpt: A Thirst for War
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Synopsis: In the Hands of the Wolf
Synopsis: In the Hands of the Wolf
Set in Clarksville, TN, this historical novel covers the tragic period February through May 1865.
John Ulysses Martin - Former History Professor, Confederate officer, and war hero.
Lydia Martin - wife of John Martin, and mother of Jonathan.
Robert Martin - Johnís brother. Suffers from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Colonel Lafayette C. Baker - Secret Service chief at Washington DCís Old Capitol Prison (OCP).
Ann Walsh Ė Johnís nurse from Armory Square Hospital who helped him escape from the OCP in 1862.
The book opens with a Sunday dinner at John and Lydiaís farmhouse. However, the dinner is interrupted by the arrival of Secret Service Agent Vince McCormick. John is arrested and taken to the Clarksville jail where he his interrogated and brutally beaten. He escapes McCormickís custody, but when Lydia Martin is murdered by Vince McCormick, and son Jonathan taken hostage, Professor John Martin vows revenge.
To extract this revenge, John traps Vince McCormick, kills him, and then goes after Col Baker who has set a ransom of $35,000 for Jonathanís release. John contacts Ann Walsh, his former nurse at Armory Square Hospital. Together, they enlist the aid of her friends in the Secesh movement and attempt a bank robbery to raise the ransom. This effort fails and John narrowly escapes death when the Union Army shells the appointed ransom drop. Seething with rage, John tries to kidnap Col. Baker, but this effort fails when the colonelís twin brother is mistakenly killed.
After a brawl at a local bar, John and his brother Robert are taken to the Old Capitol Prison where Col. Bakerís brutal interrogation inflames Johnís hatred. As payback for refusing to talk, the colonel condemns the two brothers to death. Shortly before their execution, however, they escape using a sewer. Gunfire from the pursuing guards forces Robert into a severe PTSD flashback related to his military service. Later, when Ann is arrested and taken to a POW camp, John frees her and they head into Virginia only to be captured by Secret Service agents looking for Lincolnís killer, John Wilkes Booth.
John kidnaps Col Bakerís sister. During the prisoner exchange, Robert takes a bullet meant for John. Baker and John fight. Both men are wounded, but John hesitates to kill his nemesis. If he does, how will he ever explain this selfish act to his son? Instead, John turns and walks away. Freed from the hands of the wolf, he, Ann, and son Jonathan leave for Canada.
Recurrent themes of PTSD and romantic love permeate the book. Johnís relationship with Ann blossoms as they weave their way through one trial after another. Neither suspects they could ever replace the close, loving relationship they had with their former spouses. But they do.
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I have a BS degree from Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN, and attended Rutgers University. I retired from the VA Regional Office in St. Petersburg, FL where I was a Rating Specialist (RVSR) on the Appeals Team. I am a contributing editor to Vietnow magazine. I live in Sebastian, Florida 32958 with my wife and a vivacious Labrador retriever whom we are teaching to sing barbershop.
Iím writing a new thriller based on a visit to Chartres Cathedral; and actively working on a self-help book for veterans seeking benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
I am a member of Vietnow, and a contributing editor to their publication.
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