Publication Date: May 14, 2019
eBook, Paperback, Hardcover
Series: The Clouds of War, Book One
Lexington, Kentucky, 1859. After saving John Hunt Morgan from a puma attack, fifteen-year-old farm boy Will Crump joins Hunt’s militia, the Lexington Rifles. Morgan mentors Will and enrolls him in the local university, where he hopes to study law. As tensions rise between the North and South, Will is torn between his loyalty to Morgan and his love for his family. Will’s father, sisters, and sweetheart follow the Union, while Morgan and Will commit to the South. As part of Morgan’s band, Will participates in ambushes and unconventional warfare until his first real battle at Shiloh. He fights bravely, but increasingly questions what the war is accomplishing, and whether his devotion to honor has led him astray. And where is God in all this killing? Will’s sister Albinia, friend of the Clay family, becomes increasingly aware of the plight of the slaves. When she finds Luther, a slave she knows, trying to escape, she must decide between her conscience, and her friends. She becomes involved in the Underground Railroad, helping slaves to freedom – but will it cost her love and her freedom? Will’s other sister, Julia, is approaching spinster status and despairs of ever meeting a man who can give her more than life on a farm until she meets Hiram Johannsen, a son of immigrants who owns a steamship company. They marry and she makes a new life in the North. When Hiram answers the call to fight for the North, Julia runs the steamboat company in her husband’s absence and uses her boats to help Albinia ferry escaped slaves to freedom. Her business relations put her in the perfect position to spy for the North. When the Confederates capture her, will she survive? Luther is one of the first slaves Albinia helps flee the South after his master cruelly abuses his mother and sister. He escapes with his family, and when war breaks out, he fights for the North as an auxiliary of the Third Ohio Cavalry, alongside Julia’s husband, Hiram, and against Morgan and Will. Luther has to confront the demons of his past, an abusive master, and a slave catcher that kills his little sister. Will the desire for revenge destroy him? Throughout the war, Will is forced to examine and question everything he believes in—his faith in God, his love for his family, his loyalty to Morgan, and his worth as a human being. Will and his family must somehow mend the torn fabric of relationships to find peace, and reach Across the Great Divide.
I apologize for the familiarity back there, it just seemed necessary to avoid suspicion.” “You don’t have to apologize. I don’t mind.” “You don’t?” “No. I enjoy our excursions, and spending time with you, besides helping the slaves.” “I do too. I was hoping you might feel that way, but did not want to assume. I… I have some bad news. I must go away soon. I’ve been offered an opportunity, to help Mr. Garrison up north. Mr. Clay is releasing me. When I go, you would be on your own. I understand if you would rather not. A woman alone at night with the patrols would be too dangerous. You would have to find a way to do it in the daytime. With your job at the shop, I do not know how you would manage. Mabel and Franklin may be able to help, but …” Albinia bit her lip, missing him already, but still determined to help. “No! I can manage. I will just sew and sleep at night, go home more. It would actually relieve some pressure. I think my siblings are getting suspicious. I told Will I have a secret beau.” “And do you?” He seemed to stop, as if he wanted to take her hand. She could tell there was more than casual interest in the question. His eyes held hers intensely. “Well, sort of. I mean, we’ve spent a lot of time alone together, more than usual for a couple not formally courting.” There, she had said it. She was frightened of what he might think; yet she longed to hear that he felt the same. “Given what you’ve told me of your father, I hardly think he would approve.” Albinia laughed, breaking the tension. “You are absolutely right there.” He held the reins one handed, and reached for her hand. “I’ve never met a woman like you. Sometimes I cannot decide if you are reckless or brave. I admire you, all the same.” Her heart thrilled to his touch, and she felt the heat in her face. Changing the subject, she said, “How… how long will you be gone?” He snapped the reins to move the horses faster. “I honestly don’t know. Mr. Garrison is much under attack here, and in the North. He is speaking in many cities. If war breaks out, I could be stuck there, to be candid.” “Oh,” she said, greatly disappointed, withdrawing her hand. “Then I suppose there’s no point…” “Don’t say that! Let me ask you this – if I were to send you a train ticket, would you come?” “You mean…?” “Yes, exactly. If I’m not able to come back, I want you to know – I want to marry you. I’ve tried to be proper, but, well – the situation just doesn’t follow the usual rules.” She grabbed his arm and put her head on his shoulder. “Oh, yes! Yes, David, with all my heart. I hope my father will understand someday, but whether he does or not, I want to be with you.” They pulled up to a barn. David stopped the horses, and turned to Albinia. She looked up at him adoringly. She thought he was going to kiss her. He leaned toward her, their lips almost touching.
"Ross’s gripping story follows a Kentucky family of modest means and the enslaved people they helped toward freedom. The depictions of slavery ring true, and the use of both historical and fictional characters fills out the probable feelings of people attaining liberty in the bloodiest of all our wars." -Daniel C. Snell, Ph.D., emeritus professor, University of Oklahoma, and scholar of the history of slavery
"Like a great roller coaster, Michael Ross’ debut novel goes up and down with personal crises and national conflict, but it also twists about unexpectedly from character to memorable character in a sprawling story of the Civil War. Will, an earnest young man whose faith and honor sometimes put him at odds with those he loves, is caught up in the struggles of a country grappling with its own destiny. The issues that compel and separate people in ‘neutral’ Kentucky as the war breaks out echo our own era. We, too, are caught in a great divide. If you love a good story pulled from history, and if you are person of faith, you will find it hard to put down “The Great Divide” until the last page." -Daniel A. Brown, PhD, Author of “Embracing Grace,” Pastor, International Speaker
Michael Ross is a lover of history and great stories. He's a retired software engineer turned author, with three children and five grandchildren, living in Newton, Kansas with his wife of thirty-eight years. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, and still loves Texas. The main character of "Across the Great Divide", William Dorsey Crump, is one of the founders of Lubbock and Shallowater, Texas. Michael knew Will's granddaughter when he was a child. He has written a scholarly article on Will Crump for the Texas Historical Society, published in the Handbook of Texas Online, and has sold short stories in the past. This is his first novel and the first in the Across the Great Divide series. Michael attended Rice University as an undergraduate, and Portland State University for his graduate degree. He has degrees in computer science, software engineering, and German. In his spare time, Michael loves to go fishing, riding horses, and play with his grandchildren, who are currently all under six years old. He sees many parallels between the time of the Civil War and our divided nation of today. Sanctuary cities, immigration, arguments around the holiday table, threats of secession - all are nothing new. Sometimes, to understand the present, you have to look at the past- and reach Across the Great Divide.
Monday, October 7 Review at Historical Fiction Reviews Tuesday, October 8 Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages Thursday, October 10 Feature at I'm All About Books Friday, October 11 Review at Red Headed Book Lady Saturday, October 12 Review at Reading is My Remedy Monday, October 14 Review at Al-Alhambra Wednesday, October 16 Review at Stories Can Make Us Fly Friday, October 18 Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads Sunday, October 20 Review at Locks, Hooks, and Books Wednesday, October 23 Feature at The Caffeinated Bibliophile Friday, October 25 Guest Post at Passages to the Past Monday, October 28 Review at Passages to the Past Tuesday, October 29 Feature at CelticLady's Reviews Thursday, October 31 Review at Older & Smarter? Friday, November 1 Interview at Passages to the Past Monday, November 4 Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots Wednesday, November 6 Review at Just Another Reader Thursday, November 7 Feature at Coffee and Ink
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Across the Great Divide! To enter, please use the Gleam form below. Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on November 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Paperback giveaway is open internationally. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen. Across the Great Divide
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