Adventure Series Blazes Trail Through History
NEW SITE OFFERS YA FICTION FREE ~ Stories in the Rise and Fall of Empire for Young Adults.
By: Author Tom Durwood
PRLog -- A prince of the Benin Kingdoms fights off a vicious attack … a girl who first discovers the cultivation of plants murders a rival … a boy takes revenge on the outlaw who took his family’s lives …
These and other adventure stories are available to young readers for free on the new site “Ulysses S. Grant in China” from author Tom Durwood.
Tom teaches Basic Communication at the Naval Warfare Special Development Group. He instructs Navy SEALs and SWICs in a one-week course on Public Speaking and Basic Communications. The credited course is offered by Norwich University and taught at the Dam’s Neck Annex of the Naval War College. Tom also teaches at Valley Forge Military College, where he has been named Teacher of the Year twice in the past four years.
His new collection offers readers free samples of adventure fiction. The fiction may not suit every reader’s taste -- the stories tend to include shootings, poisonings, swordplay and treachery. The stories feature a wide range of historical settings, from a violent battle over succession in the African Benin kingdoms to a young bookkeeper who gets pulled into a murderous plot in 17th century Amsterdam to revenge in a cowboy saloon. Readers of Louis L’Amour and Robert E. Howard will find themselves in familiar territory.
“Ulysses S Grant in China” is the keystone of this initial collection. The story looks behind the scenes of the American President’s meeting with Viceroy Li Hon Zhang in 1879 Tientsin. While his reputation has suffered at the hands of historians, Grant was a hugely popular international figure in his own time. Civil War fans may enjoy seeing this depiction of what might have been, as the Chinese Viceroy and the American President join forces to solve a land dispute with Japan.
The USG ebook offers readers ample visuals -- the author commissioned twenty-two illustrations. “I am very happy the illustrators have been able to use details from the period to bring the story to life,” says Durwood. “I keep staring at Angela Sung’s stage designs and Kirk Shinmoto’s landscapes and Edmund Liang’s compositions. Good stuff! They have really captured the spirit of the stories. We will commission more art, for sure.”
In addition to his teaching, Durwood edits The Journal of Empire Studies, an open-access journal which looks at topics in the rise and fall of nations. He is fascinated by how certain patterns appear and reappear in the cycle of empire, and some of those ideas find their way into his fiction.
In “Origins of Civilization,”
As important as the ideas beneath the story may be, to the author the characters and action are more important. “When I read,” says Durwood, “I only care about what happens to the characters. So I have tried to fill these stories with vivid characters, powerful conflicts and surprises. If a reader leaves thinking about the underlying ideas, that is a bonus.”
The author is creating these short adventure tales with a timeline in mind, from 900 B.C.. to the present. “This collection is the first in a series of adventures taking place at interesting moments in history. In the end, almost all of the stories will be connected.” The author is curious to see which stories the readers like, and may take his cue from them.
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