"Whenever I begin work on a new book, I am reborn into a new world."
Early in the Civil War, when Abraham Lincoln shook Paddy Quinn's hand, grinned and winked at him, the war correspondent felt as if he'd been given a medal. At the end of the war, "Father Abraham" lies dead by an assassin's bullet, but Quinn's writing hand still feels that grip, "like warm iron," pulling him. He gets himself assigned to cover the President's burial in Springfield, Illinois for Harper’s Weekly, and boards the doomed steamboat Sultana to go up river and write Lincoln’s elegy.
Private Robbie Macombie, a deathly sick prisoner of war, always felt that he was soldiering not for "the Union," but for Abe Lincoln, who grew up just like him laboring in hardscrabble frontier Indiana. That sense of kinship makes him want to go to the funeral more than home, if he can stay alive long enough.
And so the two war-addled men, each one's strengths balancing the other's weaknesses, join like converging rivers in a life-current strong enough to carry them through the sudden horror of the worst maritime disaster in American history.
Prize-winning and New York Times bestselling historical novelist James Alexander Thom, compassionately creates these two pilgrims as eyewitnesses of that tragedy. Both learn, as desperate men do, that Fate has wiser plans for them than their own.
First Editions are availablein hardcover
SIGN-TALKER -$20 incl. postage
WARRIOR WOMAN-$20 incl. postage
Saint Patrick's Battalion-$$20 incl. postage
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Six of James Alexander Thom's historical novels have been selected to be included in Random House's Electronic Book (ebook) publishing program.
The titles chosen for such formats as Amazon Kindle, iPod, and
the Sony Reader are:
FOLLOW THE RIVER
THE RED HEART
FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA
PANTHER IN THE SKY
The author finds the news good, but ironic, musing, "I use every bit of my skill and imagination to take my readers hundreds of years into the past -- and now they'll visit those old days through the screen of an electronic gizmo."
“If Mark Twain could have imagined that the curse of slavery would still be tearing our nation apart a century and a half after the end of the Civil War, he might have written a book such as Fire in the Water. As in all of his masterful novels, James Alexander Thom evokes the past by making it present. He carries us into bars and back alleys, frontier outposts and swarming cities, steamboats and military prisons. He plunges us into the Mississippi River and draws us into the funeral cortège of Abraham Lincoln, bringing history to life. One emerges from this riveting narrative more convinced of the ugliness of racism and the folly of war.” – Scott Russell Sanders, author of Divine Animal.
“The intensity of Thom’s story grows through the full-blown appeal to every sense, every emotion. Though wrung out by book’s end each page turned is a gift toward understanding war and its aftermath, greed and generosity, love and loss, loyalty and friendship. Particularly loyalty and friendship.” – Rita Kohn, Nuvowriter
“James Alexander Thom, author of such classics as Panther in the Sky and The Red Heart, is one of our finest and most entertaining historical novelists. His new Fire in the Water is a powerful recreation of the days after death of Lincoln, and the two men’s commitment to go through fire and water to honor their fallen hero.” –Dan Wakefield, author of Under the Apple Tree: A World War II Home Front Novel and editor of Kurt Vonnegut: Letters