Winter Eternal: The River Flows Two Ways

Winter Eternal: The River Flows Two Ways

by E. Thomas Joseph

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Overview

In 1777, Captain Isaac Pearson joined the British Army when he believed the Colonial Rebellion would be dispatched with effortless haste. Taking a few American lives was an agreeable price for the pampered aristocrat who believed his actions in the conflict would afford him honor and glory. Yet, the path Captain Pearson rode was neither honorable or glorious and the price he would pay was beyond his imaginable fortunes.

Time is the enemy of all, the hunter of the hunters whom no measures of tenacity or weaponry can defeat. Yet, in the early days of America’s war for independence Phantom Regiments, ruthless shadow units, British Redcoats, American militia and crazed men of the occult race to acquire a mysterious Iroquoian artifact which offers the capacity to defeat time. Set in New York’s Hudson Valley, the contest for time will marshal tragic desperation and horrific ends. Winter Eternal, uncovered from layers of dust, deep within the archives of America’s Untold History is the tales of the soldiers and the citizens who sell their souls to pursue the mysterious Native talisman, the Kahontsi Ehnita; the Giver of Life…A revolutionary war has begun.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781939665515
Publisher: Prodigy Gold Books
Publication date: 03/07/2018
Series: Winter Eternal , #1
Pages: 346
Sales rank: 1,233,040
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

The Fiction Work:
"My previous novels explored how people were tied together by crime," Brooks says. "But with A Butler Christmas, I sought to connect people by the mystery of falling in love with new friends and estranged family. I'm excited and eager and anxious--like going on my sophomore dance. To join the Prodigy Gold family is a great honor and thrills me to my wing tips."

The Non-Fiction Work:
"I am very excited to give back to the writing and publishing communities with my short publishing tips. Everyone publishes tomes on the topic and many people get discouraged with respect to employing effective and traditional publishing tactics because of the vast amount of material out there. I've decided to do small essays that people can act on and have a clear understanding of it because I explain in detail with examples." Brooks can be reached for questions about publishing, consultations, and speaking engagements at rbrooks@prodigygoldbooks.com. Visit his small press site at https://prodigygoldbooks.com

The Career Story:
Rahiem Jerome Brooks is the breakout novelist and is a member of the Mystery Writers of America. His debut thriller, LAUGH NOW won 2010 African-Americans on the Move Book Club's (AAMBC) Book of the Year & he earned 2011 AAMBC Author of the Year. LAUGH NOW also the Most Creative Plot at the DMV Expo's Creative Excellent Awards. Rahiem was also nominated at the 2011 & 2012 African-American Literary Awards for Mystery of the Year for Con Test and Murder in Germantown. In 2017, he launched his second publishing press, Prodigy Gold Books.

The Background Story:
Brooks grew up in Philadelphia before trekking to Los Angeles to study film/TV at UCLA. Finding it difficult to break into Hollywood, he adapted his screenplay into his first novel and later pursued an English degree at Harvard University and making writing a full-time job. He lives in Philadelphia with a Manx.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

AUGUST 1777.

It was near total darkness; orders had been issued strictly forbidding fires or lanterns outside of any exposed buildings within the garrison. Occasional flashes from outside the fortress walls offered split-second glimpses of light and intermittent, distant blasts and rumbles. Captain Isaac Pearson sat with his back against a thick, shallow stone wall, a position the typically pampered officer was not accustomed to. In a pathetic attempt at comfort, he rested a canvas sack on the cold, rigid stone base of the elevated bastion. The captain took rest between two large, iron cannons, which were projected through battlements, northward. A line of Redcoats stretched to his left and right. Each man sat in a similar fashion, and the row of cannons continued some distance in both directions. They seemed strangely comfortable lying on the dirt-caked surface, yet uneasy with the unending blasts. Pearson was most comfortable when he was secluded. He was not altogether worried about the cannon fire, but his fickle nose could not help but pick up the stench of dried sweat and partially shit-soiled uniforms wafting from his comrades.

The captain appeared as though he was a soldier from another army. Pearson had an unusual, impermeable air about him. Though it was not clear to the rank and file, in general terms, those who considered him to be a stranger had no desire to consider him otherwise. Here, he paid no mind to those around him, and in turn, they paid none to him. His face was cleanly shaven, his skin soft, and his madder red coat appeared to be tailored, pressed, and more brilliant in color than any in the British Army. Unlike his brothers-in-arms, he refused to accept such discomfort and continually shifted his weight and maneuvered about, yet managed only to look unbearably prickly.

His meticulously clean "Brown Bess" musket leaned against the wall by his side, the barrel extended upward and well beyond the height of the broad stone barrier. A raggedy copy of King Lear rested on the ground by his hip. Though he could hardly see, he refused to surrender to the darkness. Like his determination to find comfort, he continued to read, as best as he could, yet without result. By this time, reading one of his favorite Shakespearean plays in the night's darkness had offered more of a headache than enjoyment, thus he finally succumbed to the night's insistence and stashed the text within his gear.

Methodically and attentively, the officer wiped musket balls to a near shine, then arranged each one diligently in line, next to his immaculately shined piston ramrod and equally clean bayonet, which he placed on a handkerchief on the ground beside him. On his lap rested a French Duval flintlock pistol. Pearson's father had presented the weapon to him as a gift, celebrating his son's commission in His Excellency's Army. The weapon had three notches crudely scratched into the wood along the right of the barrel. Pearson often wondered whom those marks could have represented, and if any were scored by his father, Robert Pearson, the normally stately gentleman. Isaac had never asked his father about it, and his father had never mentioned it. Captain Pearson had decided to wishfully assume his father kept the pistol as a trophy, taken from a French officer he killed in the Seven Year's War. If anything, the scenario would have suggested Robert was, in fact, a human being.

The long voyage from the Old World to the New was as unbearable as the captain dared to imagine. Pearson lived the pampered life of privilege at home in Cambridge. Hitherto, the most unspeakable hardship he had endured was having to eat venison with a non-complementary wine. Captain Pearson had never traveled by sea in his life, and the conditions aboard the HMS Essex were as far from his expectation of comfort as America was from Cambridge. Pearson always kept the Duval pistol near and as immaculate as a surgeon's instrument. While battling scurvy, crowded amongst filthy, sweaty, boorish Kingsmen, between bouts of vomiting his maggoty meals and breathing the stench of the shit-filled buckets, the weapon was never far and never with a single blemish. The pistol would not be alone, wherever he was, so, too, was his father's gift.

Pearson's pristine, tri-cornered hat, the very one issued before deployment, rested on his folded left knee with neither a wrinkle nor a mark upon it. Despite the sporadic thunder of cannon fire and flashes in the night, he remained cool and as focused on the menial task as if it were a matter of some importance. Ticonderoga was under siege by an American army, eager to drive out the Brits, yet Captain Pearson could hardly seem bothered to care.

Within the shadows, a figure ascended from the ramp of the lower parade ground, at the center of the fort, and hurried toward Pearson. A rather clumsy Redcoat soldier revealed himself from that darkness as the distant guns lit the sky, and stumbled just before the captain. Winded and gasping for breath, he braced his hands on his knees. He stayed hunched over, low, below the height of the wall, and flinched with each of the remote rumbles. The private could not have been much more than sixteen years old, with his baby face and wiry frame. He suspected the aristocratic officer was the man he was looking for and nervously addressed Pearson through panting breaths. "Captain Pearson, sir? Colonel Bell needs to see you right away, sir."

Pearson furrowed his eyebrows in confusion, paused, then replied, "He asked to see me?"

"Yes, sir, Captain Pearson he required. 'Find that Captain Pearson prick and bring him here,' he said. Said he needs to see you right away, sir, in his quarters. You are the prick he was looking for, sir?"

"I beg your pardon, Soldier?" replied Pearson in his typically cold manner.

"Well, I-I, sir, you are the captain? I didn't mean that — I was only ... rather, the colonel said to look for a prick. Back there, they told me you are you, and so I — please, this way, sir."

The captain refused to let the young soldier off the hook for an obvious mistake in nerves. He sighed in annoyance, placed each of the lead balls in his pouch one at a time, and in no rush, blew off the one blade of grass that had somehow found its way onto his hat. He stood tall, unafraid of the far-off blasts, placed the pistol into a holster that hung low on his right hip, his bayonet in its scabbard on his left hip, brushed himself over, straightened his coat by pulling it down firmly, placed his hat on his head, adjusted it for a few seconds, grabbed his musket, looked directly into the eyes of the young soldier, and finally said, "Alright, let's go."

The two men descended the bastion ramp toward the enclosed parade ground. They moved slowly and cautiously in the darkness. Pearson appeared much less hurried than the private, who had to pause from time to time, allowing the captain to catch up to him. Despite his best efforts to appear composed, more than a few times, the young private frantically stumbled in his steps. Either naturally clumsy or overcome by nerves, it mattered little to the characteristically haughty captain, who shook his head in silent condemnation. At the base, some fifteen to twenty feet below the southeastern bastion was a large field of hardened clay and patches of grass. More than a few dozen soldiers appeared in the moonlight shadows. The cannon blast flickers offered quick glimpses of their surroundings. Some paced mindlessly, with muskets in hand. Others sat against long, narrow stone buildings within the fortress walls. A few appeared bored, yet most were restless in some manner or another. Some were mostly still, others scribbled into journals, chomped on salted meats or cold, cooked pigeon, while others, presumably in violation of orders, slogged some sort of illicit beverage down their throats. It was acceptable and without ridicule or scorn, within the ranks of common soldiers, to rub their dicks raw, as they saw fit. Pearson made sure to keep his eyes only where they needed to be, affording no chance he could bear witness to such action. He was uncomfortable to be amongst all of them even to this extent. None were the crème de la crème he was used to consorting with. As the number of troopers around him seemed to grow, so, too, did the quickening of his pace.

Fort Ticonderoga lay on a western bank that jutted into a narrow stretch of Lake Champlain. The fortress had heavy stone walls built in a star-shaped configuration, tall bastions at all corners, two outer fortresses, and three layers of buttresses or redoubts. Nearly fifty-five heavy cannons, twenty-plus light cannons, and twenty mortars defended the southern battery aimed at the lake. Ticonderoga was a crucial strategic stronghold for the British, who hoped to secure the Hudson River and northern waterways. The importance on Fort Carillon, as it was called years before, was not lost on the British when they seized it from their enemy, during their war with France a decade prior. On this day, in a different war with a different enemy, the importance of Ticonderoga remained the same.

Captain Pearson and his uneasy escort approached the far northern doorway of the officers' barracks, which lay near the northern wall of the lower parade ground. Pearson paused for a moment just ahead of the door, peering at the enlisted soldier silently and grimly. After a second or two of uncertainty, the private reminded Pearson, "Sir, Lord Bell does not allow nobody with muskets into his quarters. The colonel believes it bad manners to carry them into his office."

"Does not allow anybody," corrected the captain.

"Beg pardon, sir?"

"Lord Bell does not allow anybody to carry a musket into his quarters," he continued. "You stated 'he does not allow nobody to enter with a musket,' which means he will not refuse anyone with a musket to enter his quarters, and Lord Bell is not a lord, Private. He is a commoner, such as yourself."

Confused and afraid to ask for confirmation or to somehow seem insolent, the nervous private clarified, "Of course, my regrets, sir ... Um, I'm sorry, sir, but you cannot have a musket. This is not my wish, but is the command of Lord ... um ... Colonel, who I really do not want to disobey."

Pearson attempted to explain, "Yes, I get that, and I am not suggesting the 'no- musket policy' was your mandate. Of course, we are within the wilderness of North America, surrounded by nit-witted colonists, yet I will not allow you to speak as they do in my presence. Present yourself with the dignity of the Empire, Soldier. This starts by properly speaking the King's English. And if you feel you are incapable of doing this within my earshot, do not speak at all."

The private was wholly unsure how to reply, or even if he should reply. He chose his words deliberately. "Of course, sir. My apologies, sir. That is not ... not ... unhelpful advice, and I thank you, Captain. Please, this way. The colonel's office, sir." The dutiful soldier was eager to press on and pulled the thick wooden door open and stepped aside, allowing the captain to enter.

Pearson rolled his eyes silently, content to move this along. "Hold this," he ordered before he proceeded. He carefully extended his musket toward the private with the muzzle pointing straight up. The boyish soldier looked unsure; he was still holding the heavy oak door open with one hand, while holding his own musket with the other. He looked around, to his left and right, and knelt to place his musket on the ground, all the while holding open the door. Pearson hardly acknowledged the private's struggles and offered no assistance nor made any effort to quicken his pace.

"Be careful with it, Private, and don't let it touch the ground," instructed Pearson as he handed him his weapon. "And take this too," he continued and slowly removed his bayonet from its scabbard. Clutching it with three fingers at the base, allowing the blade to dangle, he handed it over to the unnerved soldier. "This is sharp, so be careful with the blade."

For a moment, the private felt encouraged the highbrow captain offered a glimmer of concern for his well-being until he continued speaking.

"I don't want any nicks on it," advised Pearson. "I am a soldier, not a savage. Should the unlikely and horribly unfortunate situation find me, and I am given no choice but to run it through the belly of a Continental, I do not wish to tear apart his insides. Evidently, I'm a prick, though I am certainly not an ogre. In fact, here," he said as he reached into a belt pouch for a linen handkerchief. "Wrap it in this and rest it on the ground behind you, and make sure you, nor anybody else, makes the mistake of stepping on it."

"Of course, sir," replied the slightly dejected private. Pearson paused for a moment and tugged on each of his cuffs to straighten the sleeves from wrinkles. "And you needn't be so concerned," he said without turning toward the private. "The Americans are only trying to discomfort us with this pointless cannon fire. It's nothing more than harmless three-pounders, too far even to reach these walls, let alone to cause any damage."

"I see, sir, that is good to know. Comforting. It's still hard to sleep, though, ... sir."

"This is true. It is nearly impossible to sleep, just as it is for the Americans," said Pearson wryly as a glimmer of a crooked smile could not be hidden from his expression.

"Thank you, sir," replied the private.

Pearson entered the office of the fort's commander, Colonel Oliver Bell. Inside, he and his executive officer, Major Andre Morris, stood beside a wooden table, looking down on the various documents scattered across it. The room was rather small, almost confining, with unfinished brick, windowless walls. The floor was made of splintered wooden planks that were nearly covered with dry dirt. Devoid of decoration or style, the room was more of a dungeon than the quarters of a British Officer. A lone metal chandelier hung from a chain overhead, and several thick, flickering candles cast a soft light. The brims of their hats covered both soldiers' faces nearly in total shadows. Pearson nearly gagged as he was taken by the foul stench of rotted meat, human shit, dried sweat, or some such unpleasantness.

At once, the captain felt immediately submissive in the presence of the men before him. Each man adorned the regalia and decorations expected of respected, seasoned officers in His Majesty's Army. Pearson was as humbled by the displays of their worth as they appeared indifferent to them. Their crimson jackets were dulled with dust. None of the dark blue and white plackets or gold epaulets on either shoulder were shined nor cleaned with any care. Morris was a particularly dominating figure. He stood with a commanding confidence and without expression on his face. His madder red coat was snug on his muscular frame. The two appeared to be in mid-discussion of some concern as Pearson entered, and from what he could quickly gather, Morris seemed not the least bit passive to his superior.

"Thank you, Private!" shouted the major upon seeing the captain standing before them in the doorway. "You can leave us now." The young soldier bowed his head quickly, and without uttering a sound, clanged the heavy door closed behind him. Pearson glanced toward the young soldier as he slinked his way outside and felt a sense of further deflation as he was now, clearly, the least commanding of all figures within the hall.

Though not required to by proper manners, the captain removed his hat respectfully and placed it under his right arm. "Good evening, sirs. You wished to see me?" he asked.

Uninterested in pleasantries, Bell abruptly explained his intentions, while remaining fixed on the assorted maps on the table. "We did, Captain," he replied as he snarled and spit. Dribbles of saliva landed on the map, and some were wiped from his chin with his sleeve. It was not easy for Pearson to hide his cringe.

"How are things out there?" asked Bell.

Pearson paused for a moment and replied, "Quiet, Colonel, figuratively speaking, of course. Tense, though, I would say."

"You would say? Just fucking say it then," mumbled Bell, before he abruptly shifted the conversation. "I need you to get a communiqué to General Howe."

Pearson was taken back as he processed Bell's curt assertion. "I beg your pardon, sir? General Howe?"

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Winter Eternal"
by .
Copyright © 2018 E. Thomas Joseph.
Excerpted by permission of Prodigy Gold Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Winter Eternal: The River Flows Two Ways 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
JanisC More than 1 year ago
If our history books were only like this! E. Thomas Joseph takes American history on a wicked and disturbing journey in Winter Eternal. Historical fiction really isn't my genre, but the mixture of history and fantasy... Joseph writes it with enough prowess to grab your attention and pull you in his morbid historical tale. Joseph’s writing flows nice and smooth. There is not a crack at creating his worded vision in your head. His cast of characters is divinely created, well rounded and written. For example, our main character Pearson is utterly the most pompous and pampered character created. You are unsure whether to root for him or wish him his demise. Overall historical fiction lovers will enjoy and indulge in this book. Especially if it could draw in a not so historical fiction lover. The author gets high praise!