Title: Asunder, A Novel of the Civil War
Author: Curt Locklear
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Romance
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Book Cover Credit: Karen Phillips
Author Picture Credit: Sandra Timm
“I’M TRAPPED!” Sara Reeder, a headstrong, beguiling, Southern sympathizer is caught between charging armies!
“AWAKEN, SPIRITS”… “Tell me where my husband, Joseph, fell in battle.” Cyntha Favor, an ardent abolitionist and believer in Spiritualism, seeks to free her dead husband’s tormented soul.
EXCEPT… Joseph, a Union soldier, is not dead! Knocked unconscious in battle, he has lost all memory. Nursed to health by Sara and her father, Lucas, a disabled veteran, Joseph feels drawn to Sara, yet compelled to find his past.
WAR SURROUNDS the Reeder home. Transformed into a field hospital, their only support is Dred Workman, a Union traitor.
FORMER SLAVE, Josiah Reynolds, is protector and confidant of Cyntha. Deep in slave territory, he knows the danger he faces.
THE FOX SISTERS –President Lincoln’s wife invited spiritualists to invoke séances in the White House. These most famous of all Spiritualists become Cyntha’s hope.
MARAUDERS terrorize, kill and move ever closer to the Reeders’ farm.
With RIVER PIRATES, INTENSE BATTLES, and CAPTIVATING ROMANCE,
from Texas to New York, Missouri to Minnesota, the WAR rages. Can love triumph? Who will survive? ASUNDER is a GRIPPING EPIC.
Book Trailer Reveal:
“Am I going to die?” he said. He seemed less anxious and more curious.
Sara dried her hands on her skirt. I really do not know what to say, she thought. She had seen death before when a cow or calf had died. She had helped with the slaughtering of pigs, goats and chickens. She had attended funerals of friends and of her brothers when she was young and seen the bodies lying in coffins, but she had not seen this. She felt she could only dissuade him from the truth. She stroked his brow, “Of course not. You’re just a little hurt. You’ll get better.”
“How come I can’t feel my legs?” he said. “I think I’m pretty hurt.”
Sara sat back in a kneeling position and saw the blood spilling from the soldier’s back and spreading, turning the grass russet. The blood had spread to stain her skirt as well. She struggled to hide her horror. Without thinking, and more to just be doing something, she set about rubbing his legs very hard.
“I’m kind of cold, miss,” he whispered, “Is there a blanket?”
Sara bit her lip to hold back her tears. To her, he had a face similar to her oldest brother.
Then his pupils fixed.
She stopped rubbing his legs and set her hands in her lap. Her mind refused to believe the young man had died. Time froze for her. Once again, she felt the pinch of nausea, but it was mixed with a deep sadness. Trying not to look at the startled expression on the lifeless face, she lightly shut his eyes.
With a deep breath, Sara rose and walked to the next wounded soldier lying on his back. She tore cloth from her skirt hem and bound his bloody shoulder. Three Rebel soldiers bent over the remaining wounded, staunching one soldier’s bleeding foot and binding the head-wound of another. The sergeant and a private gathered the remaining weapons from the dead and wounded soldiers and stacked them against a sweet gum tree.
In their little shaded forest hospital ward, the battle seemed far away. The deep forest muffled the sounds of battle which, once more, momentarily drifted away to almost nothing.
A slight-built Confederate said, “I wonder if we won this battle, or if the Yanks did.”
No one answered him. The battle no longer mattered, only caring for the wounded.
Sara continued to give directions, though she did not need to, for the soldiers bound the wounds with torn shirts taken from the dead and offered liquor from an earthenware jug that a Confederate had carried with him all through the battle. They labored in general silence. The slight-built one said to her, “I was wondering. Are you the general’s daughter?”
“No,” Sara, taken aback, laughed nervously. “I’m just here to help you to fight these Yanks and make them go home.”
A private, dressed in a smart gray uniform with his jacket open at the top, revealing a shirt with dainty flowered stripes, approached Sara and offered a weak smile. “Miss, would it be okay if you take a look at me, too.” He unbuttoned his jacket, revealing a red blossoming stain, then he slumped down.
Sara rushed to him, caught his arm and slowed his fall. This soldier, with long, tangled, blond locks spilling over his eyes, looked familiar, and a thought leapt to her mind that perhaps he was the one who had sung to her. She held her hand behind his head and helped him lie on the ground. “Give me some help here. One of ours is hurt badly.”
Sara brushed the hair from over his eyes and beheld a face she was sure was indeed too familiar. Her mind raced, and her heart felt like it would burst from her chest. Breathing came hard for her, but she forced herself to ask the young, fair-skinned man lying cradled in her arms, “Did you two days ago sing a song for me in camp?”
The soldier looked puzzled, then stared off in the distance as if gathering a memory. He coughed a rattling cough. Looking back at her, he whispered, “I do like to sing.” Then he said something else, too soft for Sara to hear. His breathing became labored.
She bent closer to his lips, tears pooling in her eyes. “Please, say that again. I couldn’t understand you.” She looked into his eyes that seemed to hold no fear, but a sort of quiet resignation. His clean-shaven face was pale though his cheeks were sunburnt, his thin lips chapped.
In a whisper she could barely hear, he breathed out, “Yes, I sang to you, and you gave me a tin of milk.” He smiled, the lids of his eyes fluttering to closed. “It was good milk. Reminded me of home.”
The other Confederates gathered around Sara and their fallen comrade. The sergeant unbuttoned the boy’s jacket and revealed the shirt, coated in blood. A jagged wound oozed dark maroon. The sergeant looked up at Sara. His eyes said it all. The young soldier, just like the Yankee cavalryman, had no hope.
Sara’s eyes flooded with tears, and she began shaking uncontrollably and wailing. “No!” she screamed between heaving gasps. “This is not what war is supposed to be!”
The old, gray sergeant gently took her arms and lifted her to her feet. She stumbled away with him supporting her. She sobbed and had trouble catching her breath and collapsed to the ground.
Somewhere in the caverns of her ears she heard one of the Confederates say, “Sergeant, he’s passed on.”
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CURT LOCKLEAR – award-winning author, history teacher, musician, composer, and positive education consultant. In my career, I have delivered presentations to thousands, small and large groups. My talks are always sprinkled with jokes and intriguing stories. If asked, I can play a few Civil War era tunes on my banjo and/or guitar.
My father trained a race-horse in the Kentucky Derby. My mother was a librarian. I’m related to the first wing-walker. My heritage is Southern and Northern. My Rebel forbearer once cleverly hid from a Yankee squad in corn crib. My Yankee forbearer was a bugler.
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