The year is 1898. In the small coal mining town of Birtley, in northeast England, a sixth child is born to Jonathon and Elizabeth Witherspoon. He will be the first and only boy in a family previously dominated by five female children. It is clearly an auspicious start to a challenging youth, but his birth is much more than that. It is the beginning of Percy Stanley Witherspoon's eventful life of adventure, hardship, and pain.
Much to the displeasure of Percy's closest sister, Sarah, her younger brother is forced into the coal mines at age twelve, due to his father's illness. A close brush with death as a young WWI Commando, his migration to New York City following the war, his job as a bouncer at a Manhattan speak-easy and later chief of security at a swanky Park Avenue apartment complex, and his return to bomb-ravaged London during WWII provide a remarkable backdrop to discovery, romance, and tragedy.
Along the way, Percy experiences heartbreaking personal loss. But he also savors the many delicacies that life places before him - - his family in Birtley, the Royal Marines, nurse Nellie Bowman, and a gifted daughter. He befriends a cherished Russian veteran and compatriot named Ivan, Donnie and Jacob Brewster from somewhere in Oklahoma, the tolerant crew of a fishing craft dubbed the "Golden Lily," and an oft-bewildered twelve-year-old apparition who brings him hope, strength, solace - - and even a discomfiting premonition. Through it all, Percy holds fast to his childhood dream of going to sea. When the opportunity finally presents itself, his near-death war experience comes full circle, bringing him to the realization that ironically, it may be his sister Sarah's life-long dream he'll ultimately fulfill instead of his own.
A story that spans several decades and two World Wars, "Red Fox in the Heather" is a closely researched fictional novel of the period that will hold the reader captive from the opening paragraph to the closing line.
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About the Author
Robert N. Story is a native mid-westerner who began writing fictional novels rather late in life. As a frequest magazine contributor of articles relating primarily to boating and boating safety issues, he was encouraged to express his writing voice to a much wider audience, using the broader scope of fictional novels. He was finally convinced.
A former business executive, Robert has wandered through life tasting the fruits of many pursuits, especially in his younger, pre-career days. He played semi-professional baseball, was a drummer in a '50's rock group that was inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was a lockmaster, and a research technician. He was active in many volunteer organizations, including the Jaycees, the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the U. S. Power Squadrons, and Special Olympics.
Robert and his wife live in Southern Wisconsin. They have been married for over 55 years, and have one daughter.