Shire’s Union, Book 2
From the publisher:
Shire is far, far from home, his old life in Victorian England a fading memory. To keep a promise to his childhood love, he’s sailed an ocean and battled through war-torn America.
He’s kept his promise, but now Clara’s pushing him away.
The war won’t let him go.
Fighting for the Union and his friends, Shire must survive the brutal campaign for Atlanta and imagine a future without her.
After a violent end to a cruel marriage, Clara is free from her husband but not from his ghost. All that is left to her is Comrie, her home in the Tennessee hills. But the war relentlessly steals away its treasures and its people.
Tod, a captured Rebel, escapes in Pennsylvania. His adventures on the roads and rivers back to his regiment cast the Civil War in a new light. Does he still have the will to fight?
Three young lives become wrapped in the Rebels’ desperate need for copper. Friendships, loyalty and love will be tested beyond breaking point. Shire has new promises to keep.
The Copper Road is the second novel from award winning writer Richard Buxton. Book one of Shire’s Union, Whirligig, was shortlisted for the Rubery International Book Award.
Richard Buxton who is not a citizen of the United States nor resides there gives us an extremely well-researched novel set in the final months of the Civil war that engulfed the U.S. in the 1860s. A slight kinship is to the Stephen Crane The Red Badge of Courage which dealt with a young soldier finding the courage to go into combat. The difference in the books is that Buxton presents combat as a horror involving killing in large quantities with dead and maimed men spread out over what are just killing fields. There is nothing noble about the death depicted in his novel.
Shire is a young man that has followed Clara, a childhood friend of his, from England to the United States in order to care for her. Clara has married and left for America to be with her new husband, a man not exactly enamored by his prospective father-in-law and also Shire. Due to circumstances Shire finds himself a soldier fighting for the north in the Civil war raging when he arrives. At the same time, Clara’s new husband has been killed in the war placing his widow as head of property he owns in the state of Tennessee.
A third character, Tod, enters the picture as he is escaping from a Yankee prison of war train taking Confederate prisoners to incarceration. The novel tells the stories of the three principal characters as their lives interwind in the midst of the war. Tod and Shire somehow meet in the midst of combat, each fighting for a different army and immediately form a liking for each other which brings them together over the near future. Clara and Tod also meet when both are passengers on a steamboat and are drawn into a sexual encounter which has bearing later on.
Allowing for the literary license which depends on farfetched coincidences to occur at the proper times Buxton’s book is an interesting read. It is not an all-night draw due to several over-long descriptions of different situations but is a novel that is sufficiently interesting for the well-done descriptions of actual military events of the war.
2/2021 Paul Lane
THE COPPER ROAD: Beyond the Promise by Richard Buxton. Ocoee Publishing (July 23, 2020). ISBN: 978-0995769335. 442 pages.