Book Reviews

Reviews of books by MWSA members. Reviews appear in reverse chronological order, with the most recent review posted appearing first.
Note: Some older reviews are being reposted to this site and those will appear out of order.

Rule of Ranging 1: Eclipse of the Midnight Sun (Volume 1), The

Title: The Rule of Ranging 1: Eclipse of the Midnight Sun (Volume 1)
Author: Timothy M. Kestrel
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reviewer: Dick Geschke

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0615730086

Even those waging the fiercest battles just hew to hard fast rules that separate the soldier from the savage. And when a man’s home is destroyed beyond restoration, it’s up to him alone to forge a code and carve a new place to live in peace. The Rule of Ranging 1: Eclipse of the Midnight Sun is the epic action-adventure drama by Timothy M. Kestrel that follows the fearless Finn on a journey paved with bloodthirsty aggressors, mysterious women, and the rough terrain of a fledgling America. Both grave and uplifting, it’s an absorbing flight of fancy and derring-do. Set in the eighteen century, Kestrel’s story is a work of historic fiction that relives the most perilous days of the French & Indian War. The story begins in Finland, just as a young boy named Finn witnesses the complete annihilation of his home village, as well as the brutal killing of his family by marauding Russians. He barely manages to escape, chased by a merciless Hessian mercenary, Johan Kopf, nicknamed Totenkopf. Following his dying mother's wish to find a mysterious woman named Columbia, Finn's course takes him across the Atlantic. He befriends a slave, Gus, and buys his freedom. On their travels in this brave new world called America, the two make their way through the majestic Hudson Valley in New York, and soon encounter Marcus Fronto, a curious vagrant and philosophical mentor; Daniel Nimham, a fierce Wappinger chief and warrior; and beautiful Catherina Brett. They join forces with Robert Rogers Rangers, and fight against the French at Fort Edward, New York, during the Hudson River campaign in the 1750s. Action-packed and rigorously researched, the story offers a rare vantage of a crucial time in this country’s coming of age that is at once funny, heartbreaking, illuminating, and thrilling. Mining the depths of love, freedom, greed, and loyalty, it’s a page-turning, heart-pounding read that is at once scholarly and scintillating – steeped in history with a death-defying hero for the ages.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Kestrel, Timothy M.

Pass The Salt Doc

Title: Pass The Salt Doc
Authors: Mike Mullins and Jim Greenwald
Genre: Poetry
Reviewer: Joyce M. Gilmour

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1630005959

This collection of poetry is about after. After the war, its focus is PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), a serious issue among returning Veterans from all wars. Not easily recognized or readily identified. It does not have a set pattern that can be written down and checked off for all, as PTSD has many faces. This book is dedicated to all Veterans, past, present and future. For it is the Veteran we owe everything to, and taking care of each one is a national responsibility. The arts can and do work wonders for those suffering from PTSD and we would suggest that writing poetry is the strongest drug available to each of you and requires no prescription. Writing provides the externalization necessary to overcome traumatic events/experiences. No poetry you write is wrong or right it is simply necessary on the path of recovery. We are not therapists or professionals in this field and do not pretend to have magic cures. We will state that no professional can "cure" you without your coming to grips from within yourself with the issue and using that ability which we all possess to help ourselves. Writing allows the individual to place on paper emotions they find difficult to vocalize. It is this written expression that can bring about the change needed if "cure" is the desired destination.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Mullins, Mike
Greenwald, Jim

Piddingtons, The

Title: The Piddingtons
Author: David Michaels
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reviewer: Joyce M. Gilmour

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0988503204

THE PIDDINGTONS is the third book of the TRAIL COOK trilogy. The first book, TRAIL COOK, deals with young Able Piddington, his adventures and his struggles getting from London, England to America's Wild West in 1875. His many adventures are published in the newspapers, making him a legend in his own time. The second book, THE TRAIL COOK CHRONICLES, picks up where the first book left the legendary traveler; on his way to escort the last band of Apache to the Mescalero Indian Reservation. While there, he marries his traveling companion, Kirsten in a traditional Apache ceremony. Together they make their way through hostile territory until they reach the town of San Diego, where they book passage on a steamship bound for San Francisco to visit Kirsten's family Because of strained relationships the couple decides to take an extended cruise around the tip of South America and across the Atlantic to visit Able's family in London. The news that Kirsten is carrying a baby is welcomed by Able's family but she is not emotionally ready for motherhood. Four years later, when their son, Gilbert Gopher Piddington, is old enough to sail the Atlantic and trek across America, the three of them leave for Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the couple first fell in love and where they hope to build a thriving restaurant business. Finding a suitable location is a problem but with the help of the local Monsignor, a solution is reached. Now Able must design a proper sign to adorn his run-down adobe building that once served as the region's church. Travel across America in 1881 is much more comfortable and civilized. But the character they meet along the way haven't changed much since their last visit to the Southwest. Graft and corruption of the New Mexico Territory causes difficulties in getting settled and becoming solvent. Trains now make difficult journeys easy. While waiting for his restaurant sign to be built and painted, Able and his family decide to take a side trip to re-visit their Apache friends. But a few vengeful rouge warriors kidnap their son and hide him in the mountains, just to spite the whites that they have grown to hate-or to enslave the boy. Former Apache enemies become allies as Able and Kirsten undertake the desperate search for their son.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Michaels, David

Wedded to War

Title: Wedded to War
Author: Jocelyn Green
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reviewer: Joyce M. Gilmour

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0802405762

It's April 1861, and the Union Army's Medical Department is a disaster, completely unprepared for the magnitude of war. A small group of New York City women, including 28-year-old Charlotte Waverly, decide to do something about it, and end up changing the course of the war, despite criticism, ridicule and social ostracism. Charlotte leaves a life of privilege, wealth-and confining expectations-to be one of the first female nurses for the Union Army. She quickly discovers that she's fighting more than just the Rebellion by working in the hospitals. Corruption, harassment, and opposition from Northern doctors threaten to push her out of her new role. At the same time, her sweetheart disapproves of her shocking strength and independence, forcing her to make an impossible decision: Will she choose love and marriage, or duty to a cause that seems to be losing? An Irish immigrant named Ruby O'Flannery, who turns to the unthinkable in the face of starvation, holds the secret that will unlock the door to Charlotte's future. But will the rich and poor confide in each other in time?

Wedded to War is a work of fiction, but the story is inspired by the true life of Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. Woolsey's letters and journals, written over 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering nurses endured.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Green, Jocelyn

Donors, The

Title: The Donors
Author: Jeffrey Wilson
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror
Reviewer: Joyce M. Gilmour

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1936564467

An evil force is at work at the Hospital where Nathan is recovering from injuries he received at the hands of his Mom's abusive ex-boyfriend. Demonic looking men with pale faces and glowing eyes lurk in the shadows. Someone is harvesting skin and organs from living donors against their will.

In his dreams, Nathan can see these demons in their true form -- evil creatures who feed on the fear and hatred they create in their victims. Nathan's only ally is the Doctor who cares for him. Bound together by their common legacy, they alone seem to share the ability to see the demons for what they truly are.

Together they must find a way to stop these creatures before they, and their loved ones, become the next victims.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Wilson, Jeffrey