The Last of the Blacksmiths

The Last of the Blacksmiths

by Claire Gebben

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781603811828
Publisher: Epicenter Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 02/15/2014
Pages: 354
Sales rank: 870,331
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.74(d)

About the Author


Claire Gebben was born and raised on the southeast side of Cleveland in Moreland Hills, Ohio. She's of German and Scottish descent, but the German side of my family were more meticulous record-keepers. In 1980 she earned a BA in Psychology from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Along with her husband, she moved seven times in seven years, living in Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Cleveland, and Buffalo before landing in Seattle, Washington. She's worked as a resource center manager, newspaper columnist, newsletter editor, ghostwriter, in desktop publishing, multi-media, and communications, all the while raising a family and pursuing her first love of reading and writing. In 2011, she earned an MFA in Creative Writing through the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts on Whidbey Island, Washington. Her writing has appeared in Shark Reef, The Speculative Edge, Soundings Review, The Fine Line, and ColumbiaKIDS e-zine. The Last of the Blacksmiths is her first novel. For more information, go to clairegebben.com.

Read an Excerpt


The mood of the mob shifted, the cheers turning to hisses and snarls. People began running for cover, calling out with hoarse shouts, diving into doorways and behind barrels. Others appeared in the windows of the buildings, shaking their fists at something farther up the street. Silhouettes of men appeared on the rooftops, sticks or clubs--or rifles--in their hands. Alarm turning to terror, I retreated the way I had come.

But I didn't get far. Objects began to rain from the sky--rocks, furniture, buckets of slop. Near me, a brick thunked a man on his shoulder. He cried out, spun in a circle to see what had hit him, then collapsed. Afraid to go on, I pressed back against a building. Before me, a farmer and his wagon had become trapped by the crowd. His horse was growing agitated, rearing back and snorting in distress. In the back of the farmer's wagon were two enormous hogs.

The farmer stood and shouted to clear the way, but no one paid him any mind. Then a group of young men noticed him, and one tried to climb up on the seat. The farmer pushed the ruffian off, but two others clambered up from behind, lifting the man up under his arms and dumping him over the side. The horse whinnied and bucked. Hands reached up to unfasten its harness. Horse and wagon separated, the mob heaved the wagon over on its side. As the wagon tipped, the hogs spilled to the ground with great squeals, struggled to their feet and barreled off, knocking several people down in the crowd.

Around the overturned cart, men and women were piling barrels and crates to form a makeshift barrier. The horse continued to rear and buck, its eyes white with terror. A gunshot rang out. The horse dropped to its forelegs with a groan, then lay full out on the ground.

The gunshot woke me from my stupor and I ran, arms over my head, praying to God no brick would drop from the sky to end my life. As I fled from the melee, a few ruffians jostled past me, their arms loaded with bricks and stones. I could not believe anyone would run into that riot. Did freedom drive men mad?

I reached the street with the iron rails, but the street sign said Bowery. What happened to Chatham Street? Frightened out of my wits, I dashed blindly ahead, weaving and dodging the other pedestrians, not slowing until my breath came in huffs and a stitch dug into my side.

Coming to myself, I halted at last at a wide intersection with a fountain in the center. This was a fashionable district unlike anything Franz had described, the paving stones swept clean, the couples and families dressed in fine new clothes, carrying baskets and parasols.

I realized the worst had come to pass. I was lost, and had no idea of my way back.

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The Last of the Blacksmiths 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Claire Gebben has written a engrossing novel of not only her family history, but the history of German immigrants in the mid-1850s. As a descendent of Iowa farmer German immigrants, I found her story an interesting read. Well written, with strong characters and a steady flow, Gebben has produced a compelling first novel.