… it was about the land…a tale of love and loss and hope…
“The most engaging and brilliantly crafted historical work since Margaret Mitchell’s great classic.”
Author, The Gospel According to Prissy
Hamilton Ingram looked out across the fertile Georgia bottomlands that were Moccasin Hollows, seeing holdings it had taken generations of Ingrams to build. No drop of slave sweat ever shed in its creation. It was about the land…his trust, his duty to preserve it for the generation of Ingrams to come…
It is July of 1859, a month of sweltering dog days and feverish emotional bombast. Life is good for widower Rundell Ingram and his Hazel-eyed, roan-haired son, Hamilton. Between the two of them, they take care of Moccasin Hollows, their rustic dogtrot ancestral home, a sprawling non-slave plantation in the rolling farming country outside Queensborough Towne in east Georgia. Adjoining Ingram lands is Wisteria Bend, the vast slave-holding plantation of Andrew and Corinthia Greer, their daughter Sarah, and son Benjamin.
Both families share generations of long-accepted traditions, and childhood playmates are no longer children. The rangy, even-tempered Norman-Scottish young Hamilton is smitten with Sarah, who has become an enticing capricious beauty—the young lovers more in love with each passing day, and only pleasant times ahead of them.
But a blood tide of war is sweeping across the South, a tide that might be impossible to stand before.
Bessie’s head jerked around, “…them gun shots.”
A stooped-over Sarah looked up, “What?”
“Gun shots…” Bessie put down the box of jars and headed toward the cellar door. “From the direction where the men be. We gittin’ upstairs, an’ gittin’ now.”
Sarah’s heart pounded as they came up out of the cellar and looked in the direction of more shots.
“Come on…” Bessie hurried into the pantry where she reached down the powder horn from the top shelf, then the rifle and pistols. “Git ’em ready with all that shootin’. Till we know different, we make sure two-legged low-downs don’t sneak to the house.”
Sarah rushed to the window and murmured, “Hamilton…” She feared for him, for their child, for all of them. “Surely you don’t suppose it’s Federals?”
“Might be better if’n it is ‘stead of what else be skulkin’ in them woods. Stay away from the winder, an’ finish rammin’ this powder.”
Sarah poured the ball and powder firm, rammed it, pulled the rammer out, and whispered, “Bessie listen…birds stopped singing.”
“Except that cawin’ crow seein’ somethin’ what don’t belong.”
Sarah took another quick peek, “There’s several horses, but I don’t see any riders. Mules are still hitched. I don’t see anyone at the plow, but there’s men on among the trees.”
“You watch the front door.” Bessie snugged the pistol in her apron pocket. “I cover the back. Anybody tries comin’ through the dogtrot door or through the parlor, we back into here, keep ’em from circlin’ us.”
“What about Papa Rundell?” Sarah’s stomach was queasy.
“He keep his rifle ready. Anyone bust in his room be dead ‘fore they twitch a hair.”
With a crash the kitchen door flew open. Sarah brought her rifle up and fired, the shot splintering door and jamb. The sound thundered through the house. Bessie’s rifle steadied dead-on.
The silhouetted head and shoulders ducked into a hunch and Hamilton yelled, “Sarah!” His hand smeared at stinging blood-speckled splinters of wood along his cheek.
AUTHOR Bio and Links: With postgraduate degrees and faculty appointments in several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. In addition to professional articles and texts on chordate neuroembryology, Hawk has authored several works of fiction. Hawk began writing mysteries for his school newspaper. His works of fiction, historical love stories, science fiction and mystery-thrillers are not genre-centered, but plot-character driven, and reflect his southwest upbringing in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award, details the family bloodlines of his serial protagonist in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series… murder and mayhem with a touch of romance. Vault of Secrets, the first book in the Ingram series, was followed by Nymrod Resurrection, Blood and Gold, and The Lady of Corpsewood Manor. All have received national attention. Hawk’s latest release in the Ingram series is due out this fall with another mystery-thriller work out in 2014. The Bleikovat Event, the first volume in The Cairns of Sainctuarie science fiction series, was released in 2012. “Without question, Hawk is one of the most gifted and imaginative writers I have had the pleasure to represent. His reading fans have something special to look forward to in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series. Intrigue, murder, deception and conspiracy–these are the things that take Hawk’s main character, Navy ex-SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram, from his South Carolina ancestral home of Moccasin Hollow to the dirty backrooms of the nation’s capital and across Europe and the Middle East.” Barbara Casey, President Barbara Casey Literary Agency www.hawkmackinney.net