I have to say, I’ve really been looking forward to sharing this book with you all. I highly recommend checking this out! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!
In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree
By Michael McLellan
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sweet Candy Press
Henry was born into slavery; his young life spent working in tobacco drying sheds on Missouri plantations. Freed at the onset of the Civil War, he’s alone, starving, and on the run from Confederate militiamen.
Five years later, Clara Hanfield, the daughter of a powerful New York shipping magnate, escapes her tyrannical father and travels west in pursuit of John Elliot, the man she loves. John, a U.S. Army lieutenant, was sent to the Dakota Territory where he discovers a government conspiracy to incite an all-out war with the Indians; a war meant to finally eliminate them as an obstacle to the westward expansion.
Henry finds himself caught in the middle.
Aided by Clara, John, and his native ally, Standing Elk, Henry must battle hatred, greed, and the ghosts of his past during this turbulent and troubling time in American history.
Historical Fiction isn’t something I reach for all the time, but Michael McLellan’s In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree blew me away. I think it is my favorite book I’ve read so far, this year!
The characters are absolutely the most intriguing part of this story. I love how we jump back and forth from each character, and watch how each story intermingles. The smallest details in the beginning can be the biggest detail toward the end, and I think that calls attention to the incredible talent of Michael McLellan.
The story is heartbreaking and beautiful – with themes of love, friendship, hatred, conspiracies, and murder. It’s difficult to read, but also something I think that is important. This part of American history is shameful, but this story is able to show that everyday heroes do exist and not everyone conforms to social norms.
I’m so impressed with In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree. It’s an emotional rollercoaster I don’t think I will forget, and I am so glad I was able to read it.
“Of course it’s murder, you pampered little pup,” Picton hissed, his face only inches from “You’re even more naive than I first thought you to be. Did you really believe the seventy of us were going to roam the countryside engaging Indian war parties? Frank Picton’s seventy defeats five thousand bloodthirsty braves! How poetic. You are right about one thing: we’re not fighting a war, we are inciting one. Tell me something; do you have the slightest notion of how many Washington fortunes are invested in the western expansion?
In railroads and gold mines, and telegraphs, and cattle, and other ventures beyond counting?…No? Of course you don’t. We are going to finish what Colonel Chivington so ungracefully began. After we resupply we’re riding north into Sioux country to inflame the filthy savages even further. Then, soon, perhaps by this fall, when the heathens have lashed out sufficiently against more innocents, the public outrage will be such that they will be unable to decry the army for finally crushing the red vermin once and for all.”
He sighed and released John’s arm.
“The Indian and the white man will never be able to coexist. It’s been proven, time and again. Treaties fail and only delay the inevitable outcome. This land is ours now. It was ordained by God. Mark my words, John, ten years from now the Indian warrior will be nothing more than a fireside story told to frighten disobedient children.”
About the Author:
Michael’s love of books began with Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle when he was seven-years-old. Later influenced by the works of John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Stephen King, and Cormac McCarthy, Michael developed his style of storytelling. A self-proclaimed blue-collar writer, he draws on his experiences and observations to bring relevant and compelling topics to life.
Michael lives in Northern California, and when he’s not writing, he can usually be found wandering around the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges.
His body of work includes the 2014 novel After and Again, the 2015 novel American Flowers, and the shorts Joe Price and Anywhere But Here.
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If you read In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree, I’d love to hear your thoughts.