3 books

THE BONE PILE SERIES

the bone pile seeing the elephant

THE BONE PILE: SEEING THE ELEPHANT

The first part of a Civil War trilogy, this novel begins with the election of Abraham Lincoln as told by two historical characters, James Hanger and Halbert Paine. James was an eighteen-year-old Virginian who joined the Confederate cavalry, while Mr. Paine was a lawyer from Milwaukee who was named colonel of the 4th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. James’ naive zeal for adventure is in sharp contrast to Halbert’s probing doubts regarding the validity of the conflict.

This novel tells of the struggles endured by these men as they deal with battlefield brutality, rampant diseases, and the inhumane conditions suffered by both armies while their families deal with hardships at home. The reader will be introduced to many historical figures encountered by these two characters as varying attitudes toward slavery are explored. These two men are the eyes, ears, and voices of a story about this war that is nearly too terrible to comprehend and still relevant 160 years later.

Excerpts:
1.    Halbert Paine speaking to his wife in Chapter 1: “I have thought about this a great deal and resigned myself to the sad truth that this will be like all other wars, which, since the beginning of time, have been fought in the name of noble causes, but they’re always really about money.”

2.   Conversation between young men on their way to enlist in the Confederate Army: “See the elephant?” Tim McIntyre growled. “There ain’t no elephants in these here parts.” “No, Tim,” Major Steuben murmured, “that doesn’t mean what you think. He’s asking how soon we’ll see a battle.” “Why in tarnation would he call it that? The Yankees ain’t got no damn elephants.” “It’s a figure of speech—it means how soon will we see our first action. It’s an old saying. My father called it that.” “Why? That don’t make no sense, does it?” The boy seemed indignant and shot an angry glare toward Mr. Frey. “I reckon we’ll face it soon enough.”

3.    Conversation between James and the surgeon who amputated his leg: “I’d like to assure you that the worst is over and you will live, but in truth, I have so little experience with this type of injury that I cannot tell you with any certainty what will happen. However, I can tell you that we will do everything in our power to provide as much care as humanly possible. You have my word as a doctor, an officer, and a gentleman. Do you understand, James?” “Yessir, but I don’t think it would be so awful—dying, I mean.”

 

the bone pile the high cost of valor

THE BONE PILE: SHATTERED STONES

The Civil War has raged for twelve months. Colonel Paine leads his troops in the bayous and swampland of Louisiana and finds that the military maneuvers are often poorly conceived and ill-advised. He defies an order from his commanding officer which leads to his arrest and probable court-martial. Solomon becomes his trusted friend and attendant, along with a slave woman, Nettie. She has endured unspeakable cruelty and bitterly rejects Solomon’s affection and his dreams of a better life.

James Hanger has recovered from his amputation and manufacturers artificial limbs for other crippled veterans. Grappling with shortages of supplies and financial hardships, he finds that his naiveté makes him an easy mark for unscrupulous mercenaries which puts his life in peril. James begins to question social norms that have guided him since birth, causing strife between him and his family and friends.

All the while, the piles of bones keep mounting as the war continues with no end in sight.

the bone pile shattered stones

THE BONE PILE: THE HIGH COST OF VALOR

As the war enters its final stages, General Paine is called to the War Department to chair a court-martial panel and is involved with such historic events as the implementation of Grant and Lincoln’s “total war” and the Confederate attack at the outskirts of the capital. Solomon, who is grieving deeply the loss of his woman and child, joins him there and becomes immersed in providing care for patients at the Freedman Hospital.

 James Hanger’s reputation as a maker of artificial limbs has spread across the South as he continues to deal with financial issues as well as the catastrophic damage caused by “the burning” of the Shenandoah Valley. He investigates the unscrupulous dealings of Gil O’Shea and fights to expose his corrupt depravity.

 Will James and General Paine ever meet? Who will survive the final stages of the war and will Solomon’s dreams of a better life be realized? All questions will be answered in this, the third and final installment of The Bone Pile trilogy.

striving after wind

A Striving After Wind: A New Path

Annie Winston and her brothers have been surrounded by wealth and prestige all their lives as a part of the upper class, NYC society. But, as their mother says, “They don’t know how to dream.” When she dies, their father seizes upon an opportunity to uproot his family and move them to a farm in the Mississippi Valey near Dubuque, Iowa, a place that is unlike anything they have ever imagined. A mysterious stranger, Sonny, is employed to assist them with this enormous undertaking.

 

This family saga is written against the backdrop of the global turmoil of the last three years of the Vietnam War in the early 1970’s, causing the family to grapple with conflicting attitudes and ideologies. They live, they work, they love, and they cry while learning the meaning of perseverance and loyalty while gaining a greater understanding of self-worth and decency. Like Annie says, “We have each planted a piece of ourselves in this place and the roots have grown much deeper than any of us expected.”

 

valley

A Striving After Wind: Valley of Redemption

This is the continuing saga of the Winston family, which has been uprooted from their affluent lifestyle in New York City and is now living on a farm in Iowa. None of the Winstons expected to share their father’s vision of making the farm a success, but they became invested in their new home with loves and dreams of their own. Now they need to call upon their newly acquired self-reliance to grapple with the tragedies and heartaches of the coming months. Family rivalries intensify as Andrew becomes more enamored with Penny, putting him on a collision course with his brother. Mack. Thomas and John’s contempt for each other intensifies and Annie languishes over Sonny’s seemingly aloof indifference. Matthew struggles with personal demons when he encounters financial difficulties and Luke is deployed to Vietnam. The Winstons learn that strength comes from within but also from the perpetual cycle of nature and the permanence of the land they love.

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