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Blog Tour: Beloved Woman – Sheri Peppers

Welcome to the tour for historical romance, Beloved Woman by Sheri Peppers! Read on for more details and a chance to win an Amazon gift card worth $15!

Beloved Woman Book Cover for toursBeloved Woman: A Historical Novel

Publication Date: January 2020

Genre: Historical Romance/ Historical Fiction

Beloved Woman, a Historical Romance takes place in 1705 in the Allegheny Mountains, South Carolina. Bryanna, a strong, privileged young English woman loses the love of her life, her father, to a brutal and bloody campsite attack by Iroquois renegades. Injured, and so full of grief, she grows determined to learn the ways of the Cherokee and become a respected war woman called Beloved Woman in the Cherokee town of Toxaway. This is the only way to find her father’s killer and have peace within herself once again.

Black Bear, the Red Chief is enamored by Bryanna’s courage and beautiful charm, so much that he desires to help her in every way he can. She rejects him blaming all Indians for her father’s murder. Still, his strength and determination bring them together as they face amazing obstacles to find the Iroquois renegades who were spreading havoc and murder across the great mountains. Can Bryanna learn the ways of these amazing people in this untamed land, and find her peace, and maybe love, once again?

Although the story is fiction, the customs, names of the towns, and ways of the Beloved Woman are authentic.

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Excerpt

She heard the deep pounding of drums a short distance away.  Black Bear planned strategies in the Council House the entire day and she wondered if he were at the square now attending the dance.  She ran a brush through her hair and allowed it to drape over her shoulders in thick waves of silk.  Her heart thumped lightly taking her breath away as she pushed aside the curtain of her room to brave the coming evening.

Storyteller sat near the fire sewing diligently on another garment.  She gazed up and stopped.  “You are a vision, my dear.”

“Thanks to you and your fine talents,” she said, turning to give Storyteller a view from every angle, “I feel beautiful.  I’m grateful.”

“That’s because you are beautiful.”

“Will you join the celebration tonight?  Accompany me to the Town Square.”

“I will attend shortly.  You go ahead without me.  Have a pleasant time and try to keep open to our ways.  Our event is quite joyous, but you must be kind in your judgment.  Remember, this is not the colonies, nor England.”

“I will.”  Bryanna stepped out into the cool night.

The Town Square rested in front of the Council House at the bottom of the mound.  The pulsation of the drums grew louder as she came nearer.  A rhythm of flutes fluidly intertwined with the drums creating an enticing temptation for the body to move and sway.

The Square came into view as she rounded the mound.  Rattles joined in with the instruments while the center of the Square remained filled with people moving in a circle to the rhythmic melody of the music.

With their backs slightly bent forward, they stomped their feet, turning first to the left, then to the right.  They whirled around repeating the movements over and over as they continued in a large moving circle.  She had never seen such dance.

The permeating music floated seductively over the dance, igniting a warm flame within her.  Along with the music, the movement of the dance emerged just as wildly passionate in its stirring rhythm as she swayed her shoulders in and out.

They all knew precisely what to do, flawlessly keeping in unison with each other.  The dance came forth untamed, and the music portrayed a tremendous strength in who these people were.  Now she understood what Black Bear meant when he said exhilarating.

Colorful feathers fastened in their hair and on their clothing bounced and swayed with every twist and turn they made.  The feathers transformed into brief flashes of color melding together as they danced without any signs of fatigue.

Warriors wearing animal skins on their heads jumped into the circle imitating the kill and skinning of an animal.

This was a far cry from the gentle dance in England.  She remembered tender flowing music, one person facing the other in minuet with hands gently touching.  As these people danced before her, its strangeness loomed within her, leaving an overshadowing loneliness for what she once knew and loved.

The music changed, and they stomped and swayed to a new dance.  Simply standing there, with a babe’s new innocence of their customs, she became gravely aware of her awkwardness.

She perused the Square, searching for the one familiar face whose tolerance would help fortify her fading nerve.  Sitting among a group of men at the edge of the Square were a pair of familiar eyes that locked onto hers the moment her gaze came upon him.  A smile adorned his face as he stood and approached her.

Bryanna’s breath caught in her throat as Black Bear strode toward her.  His smile remained affixed on his face and she labored to keep her gaze upon it although the temptation to gawk at his body overwhelmed her.  His breechcloth barely covered his extremities revealing long muscular limbs, honey-browned from life under the sun.

The currents of shivers returned moving throughout her body as she fought not to reveal her feelings.  Still, she noticed no shirt on his back.  The smoothness of his chest only accentuated his massive size and strength.  A string of white wampum shells lay comfortably around his neck and dipped downward across the swollen hills of his sun-kissed chest.  He’d tied back his black straight hair leaving high protruding cheekbones and glistening white teeth.

Concentrating solely upon his face did not comfort her.  The strange quivering in her veins had a mind of its own traveling the full length of her limbs to the tips of her sensitive breasts.  Her bosom heaved with each difficult breath as he halted before her.

“I find your extraordinary beauty quite imposing upon my manners as a gentleman.  Those manners are quite difficult to sustain.”  His chest maneuvered in and out as his hungry copper eyes consumed a path into the pit of her core.

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About the Author

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Sheri studied writing and screenwriting at University of California Los Angeles, and Moorpark College in California.  She is an avid history buff with an emphasis on the American Indian, and a former member of the Romance Writer’s of America.  Retired with an 18-year background in aerospace, she now lives in Thousand Oaks, California, where she is working on a sequel to Beloved Woman and plans for several projects.

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Cover Reveal: The Memory Box – Kathryn Hughes

A heartbreakingly beautiful novel, The Memory Box unlocks an unforgettable epic story of love and war, from the million-copy-selling author of The Letter, Kathryn Hughes. If you adored The Nightingale, The Tuscan Contessa or My Name is Eva, this is the book for you.

Some love stories can’t be forgotten…
Jenny Tanner opens the box she has cherished for decades. Contained within are her most precious mementoes, amongst them a pebble, a carving and a newspaper cutting she can hardly bear to read. But Jenny knows the time is finally here. After the war, in a mountainside village in Italy, she left behind a piece of her heart. However painful, she must return to Cinque Alberi. And lay the past to rest.
After a troubled upbringing, Candice Barnes dreams of a future with the love of her life – but is he the man she believes him to be? When Candice is given the opportunity to travel to Italy with Jenny, she is unaware the trip will open her eyes to the truth she’s been too afraid to face. Could a place of goodbyes help her make a brave new beginning?


Kathryn Hughes was born in Altrincham, near Manchester. After completing a secretarial course, Kathryn met her husband and they married in Canada. For twenty-nine years they ran a business together, raised two children and travelled when they could to places such as India, Singapore, South Africa and New Zealand. Kathryn and her family now make their home in a village near Manchester.

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Blog Tour: Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery – Rosalie Knecht*

Read my review of Who Is Vera Kelly?

Recently out-of-the-spy-game heroine Vera Kelly finds herself travelling from Brooklyn to a sprawling countryside estate in the Caribbean in her first case as a private investigator.

When ex-CIA agent Vera Kelly loses her job and her girlfriend in a single day, she reluctantly goes into business as a private detective.

Heartbroken and cash-strapped, she takes a case that dredges up dark memories and attracts dangerous characters from across the Cold War landscape. Before it’s over, she’ll chase a lost child through foster care and follow a trail of Dominican exiles to the Caribbean.

Forever looking over her shoulder, she nearly misses what’s right in front of her: her own desire for home, connection, and a new romance at the local bar.

In this exciting second instalment of the ‘splendid genre-pushing’ (People) Vera Kelly series, Rosalie Knecht challenges and deepens the Vera we love: a woman of sparkling wit, deep moral fibre, and martini-dry humour who knows how to follow a case even as she struggles to follow her heart.

Rosalie Knecht is the author of Who Is Vera Kelly?, Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery and Relief Map. She is also the translator of César Aira’s The Seamstress and the Wind (New Directions). She lives in New Jersey.

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My thoughts:

This second outing for reluctant former CIA agent, Vera Kelly, is another fun misadventure. This time Vera is down on her luck, dumped and fired, she sets up shop as a PI.

Struggling to get clients who trust a woman, she takes on the case of a missing boy. Only she senses something off about her clients. So it’s off to the Dominican Republic to find out more, and then back to New York in a hurry as she tangles with the bad guys.

She’s also trying to find love, will something happen between her and Max, the bartender from the gay bar she frequents? In a dangerous time to be queer, Vera treads carefully but might just need to trust a bit more.

I really enjoyed this book and Vera’s adventures, despite the lack of training the CIA gave her, she’s good at disappearing into a role and has a strong sense of right and wrong. She tangles with dangerous people and risks her neck a few times, but somehow always gets through. I hope there’s more to come.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Steel Girls – Michelle Rawlins*

Sheffield, 1939. With war declared, these brave women will step up and do their bit for their country

Housewife Nancy never dreamed that she’d end up in Vickers steelworks factory but when husband Bert is called up to serve, she needs to put food on the table for her two young children.

Betty’s sweetheart William has joined the RAF Reserves so she can’t sit around and do nothing – even if it means giving up her ambitions to study law at night school.

Young Patty is relishing the excitement the war brings. But this shop-girl is going to have to grow up quickly, especially now she’s undertaking such back-breaking and dangerous work in the factory.

The Steel Girls start off as strangers but quickly forge an unbreakable bond of friendship as these feisty factory sisters vow to keep the foundry fires burning during wartime.

My thoughts:

I’ve always been fascinated by the hundreds of women who took on “men’s work” during the war. My great aunt, Auntie Doll, became a bus driver in London, even though she’d originally been hired to clean them! She was something of a character. There’s something very powerful about women, many of them teenagers or housewives, stepping into the roles society previously told them weren’t suitable.

The camaraderie and friendship between Betty, Nancy and Patty gets them through tough shifts in a Sheffield steelworks, driving the cranes that lift huge pieces of steel through the factory. They have to put up with male colleagues who don’t want women in their workplace and ones who need to learn to keep their hands to themselves. Nancy and Betty also have men away in the war, Nancy’s husband Bert is in the army and Betty’s boyfriend in the RAF.

A heartwarming, enjoyable story about friendship and women finding their place in troubled times.


*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Old Cases, New Colours – Madalyn Morgan*

Sick of working in a world of spies and bureaucracy, Ena Green, nee Dudley, leaves the Home Office and starts her own investigating agency.
Working for herself she can choose which investigations to take and, more importantly, which to
turn down.

While working on two investigations, Ena is called as a prosecution witness in the Old Bailey trial of a cold-blooded killer who she exposed as a spy the year before.

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I was bought up in a pub in a small market town called Lutterworth. For as long as I can remember, my dream was to be an actress and a writer. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live with so many characters to study and accents to learn. I was offered Crossroads the
first time around.

However, my mother wanted me to have a ‘proper’ job that I could fall back on if I needed to, so I did a hairdressing apprenticeship. Eight years later, aged twenty-four, I gave up a successful salon and wig-hire business in the theatre for a place at East 15 Drama College and a career as an actress, working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television.

In 1995, with fewer parts for older actresses, I gave up acting. I taught myself to touch-type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau and began writing articles and presenting radio.

In 2010, after living in London for thirty-six years, I moved back to Lutterworth. I swapped two window boxes and a mortgage for a garden and the freedom to write. Since then, I have written nine novels.

The first four, The Dudley Sisters’ Saga, tell the stories of four sisters in World War 2. My current novel, Old Cases, New Colours, is a thriller/detective story set in 1960.

I am writing a Christmas book – Christmas Applause – and a Memoir; a collection of short stories, articles, poems, photographs and character breakdowns from my days as an actress.

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My thoughts:

This was a really fun read, it reminded me of a lot of mystery novels with a slight tongue in cheek humour – and they’re always enjoyable.

The characters are strongly drawn and Ena in particular is fascinating and I was rooting for her to solve all of her cases and get the agency up and running. She felt very modern but also of her time – a tricky thing to pull off.

The plot bubbled along nicely, and the supporting characters were entertaining – especially the wealthy Priscilla, forever pinching things and pretending to run out on her restaurant bills.


*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: You Let Me Go – Eliza Graham*

After her beloved grandmother Rozenn’s death, Morane is heartbroken to learn that her sister is the sole inheritor of the family home in Cornwall—while she herself has been written out of the will.
With both her business and her relationship with her sister on the rocks, Morane becomes consumed by one question: what made Rozenn turn her back on her?

When she finds an old letter linking her grandmother to Brittany under German occupation, Morane escapes on the trail of her family’s past. In the coastal village where Rozenn lived in 1941, she uncovers a web of shameful secrets that haunted Rozenn to the end of her days. Was it to protect
those she loved that a desperate Rozenn made a heartbreaking decision and changed the course of
all their lives forever?

Morane goes in search of the truth but the truth can be painful. Can she make her peace with the past and repair her relationship with her sister?

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Eliza Graham’s novels have been long-listed for the UK’s Richard & Judy Summer Book Club in the UK, and short-listed for World Book Day’s ‘Hidden Gem’ competition. She has also been nominated for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. Her books have been bestsellers both in Europe and the US.

She is fascinated by the world of the 1930s and 1940s: the Second World War and its immediate aftermath and the trickle-down effect on future generations. Consequently she’s made trips to visit bunkers in Brittany, decoy harbours in Cornwall, wartime radio studios in Bedfordshire and
cemeteries in Szczecin, Poland. And those are the less obscure research trips.

It was probably inevitable that Eliza would pursue a life of writing. She spent biology lessons reading Jean Plaidy novels behind the textbooks, sitting at the back of the classroom. In English and history lessons she sat right at the front, hanging on to every word. At home she read books while getting dressed and cleaning her teeth. During school holidays she visited the public library multiple times a day.

Eliza lives in an ancient village in the Oxfordshire countryside with her family. Not far from her house there is a large perforated sarsen stone that can apparently summon King Alfred if you blow into it correctly. Eliza has never managed to summon him. Her interests still mainly revolve around reading, but she also enjoys walking in the downland country around her home and travelling around the world to research her novels.

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My thoughts:

This was a moving family drama, set partly in Brittany and partly in Cornwall. After her grandmother’s death, Morie is left with questions, only by travelling back to the village of Rozenn’s wartime experiences can she start to put the pieces together.

At times very sad and with a bittersweet series of discoveries to be made, this is a gentle and tender story about love and family above all else.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

* *Terms and Conditions –UK and USA entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.**

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Blog Tour: Blood Runs Thicker – Sarah Hawkswood*

August 1144. Osbern de Lench is known far and wide as a hard master, whose temper is perpetually frayed. After riding to survey his land and the incoming harvest from the top of the nearby hill, his horse returns to the hall riderless and the lifeless body of the lord is found soon after.

Was it the work of thieves, or something closer to home? With an heir who is cast in the same hot-tempered mould, sworn enemies for neighbours, and something amiss in the relationship between Osbern and his wife, undersheriff Hugh Bradecote, the wily Serjeant Catchpoll and apprentice Walkelin have suspects aplenty.

My thoughts:

This was a really enjoyable medieval murder mystery. I’ve read some of the Bradecote and Catchpoll books before so I knew I was going to read something well written, full of historical detail and with the pacing of a modern crime novel.

Despite the police not existing until the 19th century, the sheriff’s men here are smart and understand crime and criminals more than the real thing might have done. They don’t just go with the most obvious story or agree with the dead lord’s son. They actually investigate the crime – starting with a sort of postmortem, using what little science was available in the 12th century.

The characters of Bradecote, Catchpoll and Walkelin are prototype detectives, using logic and evidence, not superstition and hearsay, to catch their killer. It might take them longer as they’re thorough, but they get justice in the end.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Dangerous Women – Hope Adams*

Nearly two hundred condemned women board a transport ship bound for Australia. One of them is a murderer. From debut author Hope Adams comes a thrilling novel based on the 1841 voyage of the convict ship Rajah, about confinement, hope, and the terrible things we do to survive.

London, 1841. One hundred eighty Englishwomen file aboard the Rajah, embarking on a three-month voyage to the other side of the world.
They’re daughters, sisters, mothers—and convicts.
Transported for petty crimes.
Except one of them has a deadly secret, and will do anything to flee justice.
As the Rajah sails farther from land, the women forge a tenuous kinship. Until, in the middle of the cold and unforgiving sea, a young mother is mortally wounded, and the hunt is on for the assailant before he or she strikes again.
Each woman called in for question has something to fear: Will she be attacked next? Will she be believed? Because far from land, there is nowhere to flee, and how can you prove innocence when you’ve already been found guilty?

My thoughts:

Inspired by real events and real people, the story of the Rajah and its passengers – roughly 200 women condemned to transportation to what is now Tasmania, is beautifully written, told by several different voices – Kezia the warder, Sarah the convict and a few of the others.

During the voyage a terrible crime is committed and the captain puts together a panel to investigate the women and find the culprit.

In-between interrogations, Kezia and her selected group of 18 women work on a patchwork quilt, the real one hangs in the National Gallery in Canberra. It is Kezia’s hope this work will offer something to the women – hope, spiritual salvation, community.

The long voyage gives them all time to reflect on their pasts and the crimes that have led them here. Most are petty ones – thefts to survive the desperate hard lives they lead, but among them is someone fleeing the noose.

This was a fascinating look at a group of women often forgotten by history, women who were required to be incredibly brave as they were taken away from their homes and families, forced into new lives in a strange land.


*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Crown Agent – Stephen O’Rourke*

A ship adrift, all hands dead. A lighthouse keeper murdered in the night.

The Crown needs a man to find the truth. Doctor Mungo Lyon, his reputation tarnished by the Burke & Hare scandal, and forbidden to practise as a surgeon, is the wrong man.

A lighthouse keeper murdered in the night.

The Crown needs a man to find the truth. Doctor Mungo Lyon, his reputation tarnished by the Burke & Hare scandal, and forbidden to practise as a surgeon, is the wrong man.

That’s exactly why the Crown chose him.

Stephen O’Rourke is an advocate and a Member of the Institute of Chartered Arbitrators. He formerly wrote a regular column for

He formerly wrote a regular column for The Scotsman and has written for The Guardian, Caledonian Mercury and Think Scotland websites.

In 2012 he won a short story competition run by The Daily Telegraph, which proved to be the basis for The Crown Agent.

My thoughts:

This was a really enjoyable historical thriller inspired partly by real events and people. It features a cameo from Hare of Burke & Hare fame, which roots it in reality, a dark time in Edinburgh’s past and one that allows the invented Doctor Lyon to become the titular agent.

Struck off for his relationship to the surgeons at the heart of the scandal, he’s in the right place at the right time as far as the Crown, in the figure of the Lord Advocate, and sent to look into the events causing concern. Murder, intrigue, theft, and whiskey.

Tremendously fun and utterly gripping, this is a fantastic debut novel and introduces a new reluctant hero in Mungo Lyon (what a name too!) set to carry on investigating dark deeds with the assistance of the wily Mister Dervil.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Road to the Breaking – Chris Bennett

Road to the Breaking

Welcome to the blog tour for Road to Breaking by Chris Bennett! Read on to learn more about this riveting historical fiction and enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Road to the Breaking - Paperback

Road to Breaking (The Breaking Saga #1)

Publication Date: October 19, 2019

Publisher: CPB Publishing

Nothing survived ‘The Breaking’ unchanged; lives and fortunes, love and hate, freedom and slavery …
It’s early 1860, and war hero Captain Nathaniel Chambers, commander U.S. Army Fort Davis in the west Texas wilderness, has received shocking news – his father is dead. He must return home to Virginia and claim his inheritance before a maniacal neighbor can murder his widowed mother and seize the family plantation.
But he’s torn by a terrible dilemma – to stay in the army and turn his back on his fortune, his mother and his beloved childhood home, or become the thing he despises; a slave master! Is there no other choice?
Meanwhile, a woman desperate to redeem her family’s fortunes schemes to marry her beautiful but troubled daughter to the handsome young heir. But will Evelyn’s own plans break his heart instead?
An epic journey across a young nation seething with debauchery, brutality, corruption, and political intrigue, unwittingly on the brink of an unimaginable disaster; the American Civil War. Nathan Chambers has left the violent army life behind in Texas, never imaging he’s on the very ‘Road to The Breaking’.

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Excerpt

“Hey, Billy. Why is it the Comanche hate the Tonkawa so much?” he called out. The Captain’s bowed head looked up, startled by the sudden noise.

“What … the Comanche? Oh, it is a very long, old tale. Would you like to hear it, Sergeant Clark?”

A long tale, Tom thought. Just the medicine the Captain needs.

“Yes, Billy, if you please.”

The other men started to perk up. Billy rarely spoke much, but when he did his stories tended toward the bizarre and supernatural, with plenty of his own special brand of odd, dry humor thrown in. This typically made for highly entertaining stories.

“There once was a time, very long, and long, ago. Back before the grandfathers of our grandfathers were even conceived by their grandfathers’ grandfathers. So long ago, in fact, it is said it was almost the very beginning of time—whenever that was.” He shrugged his shoulders and grinned.

“Anyway … in that long-ago time it was different between the Comanche and the People, those of us you white men now call Tonkawa. Back then we did not hate each other and fight always, the way we do now. We didn’t love each other either, of course; there is no amount of time going that far back, ha!

“In that time the People and the Comanche knew each other, but lived apart, sometimes seeing each other when they shared the hunting grounds. The land was not dry as now. It was filled with a great greenness. It is said the water was abundant, and fell from the sky so often, it flowed carelessly, wandering across the land, heedless of its proper places in rivers and lakes.

“And so, the land was filled with so many animals the People did not have to hunt long or hard for their daily meat. And never did they give thought to saving anything for tomorrow. Both the People and the Comanche were wasteful in their excess, never having known want.

“But there came a time when the People were led by a great and wise man. His name was Tchezse—um … Tchezselkeizl … well, it would mean nothing in your language, anyway. You would say something like ‘Sun-and-Moon-in-Sky-Together-and-Wind-in-Stars,’ but that is not quite right either. For my story, I will just be calling him ‘Sun-Moon’ and you will know who I’m talking about.

“Sun-Moon was very wise, as I have already said. One day he called the People together saying, ‘I have had a mighty dream of the gods, and they have made my eyes to see many great and terrible things.’ And the People listened as Sun-Moon told his seeing—of a time to come when water would stop falling from the sky and would no longer flow heedless across the land. It would return to its ancestral home in a few, shallow rivers and lakes or sink deep into the ground. And the land would change from green to brown, and the animals that once provided the People with their daily meat would hide away in far-off lands.

“Then the People were afraid, and asked Sun-Moon what would become of their children, and their children’s children, if there were no greenness and no meat. But Sun-Moon said, ‘You needn’t worry about your children’s children, or even your own children; this time the gods have shown me is coming even unto the lives of you who sit before me. If the People do not prepare to face the evil time coming, all will perish from the earth.’
“And so, Sun-Moon led the men high into the hills, or deep into caves under the Earth. There the animals were few and fierce, so the men must become great hunters and trackers. And he taught the women and children to cure the extra meat they did not eat daily, with salt and different herbs growing in the earth. In this way their meat might be saved for many months in time of want. And he showed them where to find roots growing under the ground, for water, and food, at greatest need in time of dryness.

“But the Comanche had no great leader like Sun-Moon. They laughed at the People for making their hunts so difficult when meat was so plentiful. And they mocked them for digging in the earth for roots when food and water were so easily had on the open earth.

“But Sun-Moon was not angered by the cruel laughter of the Comanche. You see, he was a truly great and wise man—but I think I have already said that. So he went to them and told them also of his dreams, by way of warning they should prepare for the evil days to come. But still they would take no heed and sent him away with great scorn.

“And so, you will not be surprised to hear there came a day when the water stopped falling from the skies. And then the land turned all to brown, even as Sun-Moon had foretold. And though the People had been warned, and had prepared as best they could, still the greatness of this evil time was even greater than any had imagined. So although they had practiced hard to become mighty hunters, and great trackers of animals, still, bringing home the meat was hard. Though they ate little, and salted and kept back what they could, still many, and many died. And all suffered great want.

“This story was told me by a wise, old man when I was just a young boy, and he called this terrible time The Breaking.”

“The Breaking?” Nathan asked, having become absorbed in the tale. “What does that mean?”

“He said it was called that because it was a time of such suffering and death, it caused the breaking of all the old ways. Some for the good, and some for the worse. Nothing came through The Breaking unchanged, and all that once was, even to the greenness of the earth, was broken during that time, and was never again the same.

“Well … it is said while the People suffered greatly in The Breaking, the Comanche suffered more. They had not heeded the words of Sun-Moon, of course. So they had never learned the skills to hunt the few animals remaining, and to dig the roots from the earth. Their need was great, and they became desperate, and dangerous.

“They saw the People still had the meat they had preserved, and a store of the roots they had pulled from the ground. And they became angry the People had food, and they had none. So they came to the People and demanded they be given the food the People had saved.

“But Sun-Moon took pity on them. He said, ‘There is not enough of the salted meat and roots for both the People and the Comanche, so we cannot give it to you. But we will teach you to hunt that you may bring home your own meat. And we will teach you to save your meat by salting, and how to find roots living under the ground that you might dig them up.’

“But the Comanche were hungry and did not want to wait to learn these things. Instead they decided they would take the food from the People by war. So they returned to their village, put on their war paint, and collected their hunting spears. By the time they had made ready for war it was becoming dark. They lit torches and carried them to see their way back to the camp of the People.

“But Sun-Moon had foreseen this as well and made ready the People for the war that was coming. The Comanche came, carrying their torches. They have always been larger, stronger, and more fearsome than the People, so they carried their deadly spears with confidence of easy victory. They could already taste the precious food that would soon be theirs.

“But they had forgotten the men of the People had become great hunters. Because their prey had been more fierce and cunning, the People had learned to use the bow, and shoot arrows with deadly aim. And they had learned to use lightweight throwing spears to hit prey from a distance, rather than short, heavy spears the Comanche used to butcher their easy kills.

“Many Comanche were killed, and the rest fled in fear. But those who fell, and those who fled, all dropped their torches, and the dry earth was set afire. It burned all that night with a great flame that lit the sky.

“When the sun rose in the morning, the People found all their food had been destroyed by fire. They were hungry but were also very tired from the fighting and the fire and had no strength left to hunt. Also, all the animals they might have hunted had been driven far away by fear of the flames.

“And so the People did the only thing left for them to do. They ate the Comanche they had killed.”

“They … ate them?” Georgie asked.

“Yes. Sun-Moon told them it was the only sensible thing the People could do so they would not all starve and die. And so that is what they did.

“It is said the great flames of the fire sent smoke high into the sky. It climbed so high it mingled with the scant clouds, and caused the water to start falling again, though never so much as before.

“The war with the Comanche, you see, was the end of The Breaking, but it was the beginning of the hatred of the Comanche for the People.”

“Well, I don’t see why the Comanche should hate the Tonkawa. Sounds like they lost the war fair and square, and after they started it!” Jamie said, and Georgie nodded in agreement.

But Billy shrugged his shoulders and said, “Guess Comanche don’t like being eaten. Ha!”

The men chuckled and even the Captain smiled.

“I’ve heard people say the Tonkawa still eat their enemies,” William said.

Billy turned toward him and grinned, “Then best hope I never have to kill you, William!”

William shook his head “No,” emphatically.

Billy continued, “I have heard of it being done. When the enemy is not of the People and is killed in man-to-man battle. Some say it is to honor those who fought the war of The Breaking. Others say the fighting spirit of the dead is taken into the living that way. I don’t know … seems to me the one left alive had more fighting spirit than the dead one! Ha!”

Though he seemed more alert after Billy’s tale, by the time they’d made camp that evening Nathan was already laid down and asleep, as if from utter exhaustion. Tom was still concerned and sat up long into the night watching over his Captain. At first, Nathan tossed in his sleep and seemed to moan as if in pain. But then at some point, it seemed to Tom he began to rest more at ease and sleep more at peace.

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About the Author

Bennett Author Photo

Chris Bennett grew up on the shores of Klamath Lake in southeastern Oregon. For a young boy it was a dream world of water, hills, forests and abundant wildlife. His love for action and adventure morphed into a lifelong love for books when his Mom read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to the family on a long road trip.

It was routine and normal for the family dinner table discussions to involve history, politics, and anything interesting going on in the world. So, when he attended the University of Oregon it seemed perfectly natural (and easy) to study history and political science. But everyone said you couldn’t make a living in those fields, so he decided to try his hand at Computer Science. He’s been writing professionally, in the software development business for more than 35 years now.

However, Chris’s thirst for adventure never faded and he began to live out his love of history onto the pages of his first book, The Road to the Breaking. Once he started writing he just couldn’t stop and the result is The Road to the Breaking series; an epic journey across a young nation seething with debauchery, brutality, corruption, and political intrigue, unwittingly on the brink of an unimaginable disaster; the American Civil War.

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