Thursday, September 29, 2022

Book Spotlight: Tempted by Her Outcast Viking by Lucy Morris



Tempted by the Warrior

But she’ll never wed

Brynhild had once been close to Erik – until he’d betrayed her, and she’d hoped never to see him again. Now the fiercely independent shieldmaiden needs Erik’s skills to rescue her sister. Striking a truce with the tough, isolated loner they reach a mutually beneficial deal: in return, she’ll help him in his quest to find a wife – by teaching him how to please a woman in bed…!


Follow the tour HERE

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 Universal Link  WH Smiths Harper Collins


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Lucy Morris

Lucy Morris has always been obsessed with myths and legends. Her books blend sweeping romance with vivid worldbuilding to whisk you away to another time and place filled with adventure. Expect passion, drama, and vibrant characters.

Lucy lives in Essex, UK, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She has a massively sweet tooth and loves Terry's Chocolate Oranges and Irn-Bru. In her spare time, she likes to explore castles with her family or drink bubbly with her friends.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Spotlight on Heidi Eljarbo, author of Brushstrokes from the Past - Soli Hansen Mysteries


A Historical Art Mystery

WWII and the mid-seventeenth century are entwined in this fourth dual timeline novel about Nazi art theft, bravery, friendship, and romance.

April 1945. Art historian Soli Hansen and her friend Heddy arrive at an excavation site only to find Soli’s old archeology professor deeply engrossed in an extraordinary find in a marsh. The remains of a man have lain undisturbed for three centuries, but there’s more to this discovery…

As Soli tries to understand who the baroque man was and discovers what he carried in a sealed wooden tube, problems arise. A leak reveals the finds to the notorious Lieutenant Colonel Heinz Walter, and soon, both Nazi elite and the Gestapo are after the treasure.

When Heddy and the professor disappear along with the artwork, Soli and her resistance group must find them before it’s too late.

1641. In Amsterdam, French musketeer Claude Beaulieu has had his portrait done by his close friend and artist Rembrandt van Rijn. When a band of thieves steal the precious painting, Claude and his wife Annarosa Ruber pick up their swords and a few belongings and go after the culprits.

Set in Norway during the tumultuous last days of the second world war, as well as the peak of the glorious baroque art period, these two stories are a must for readers who love historical fiction with adventure, suspense, and true love that conquers all.

Perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley, Kathleen McGurl, Rhys Bowen, and Katherine Neville.

 Follow the tour HERE


Buy Links:

 Available on #KindleUnlimited

 Universal Link

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 Heidi Eljarbo

Fun Facts

Heidi prefers pen and paper when jotting down notes, plotting, and planning stories. The result is too many piles of paper, but a personal view and easy access when making a book.

She sings stories to her grandchildren.

Heidi loves being outside in any kind of weather.

One of her goals is to learn Italian.

Heidi doesn’t have much of a temper and finds it interesting to write dialogue between characters with a totally different personality than herself.

Heidi Eljarbo

Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love and others you don't want to go near.


Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter.


After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, thirteen grandchildren—so far—in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.


Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter.


Heidi’s favorites are family, God’s beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Book Spotlight and Excerpt: The Old Dragon’s Head by Justin Newland


The Great Wall of China may be constructed of stone and packed earth, but it is home to a supernatural beast – the Old Dragon. Both wall and dragon protect China’s northern borders from Mongol incursion. Just beyond the fortress of Shanhaiguan, the far eastern end of the wall protrudes into the Bohai Sea – that’s the Old Dragon’s Head.

Bolin, a young man working on the Old Dragon’s Head, suffers visions of ghosts. The local seer suspects that he has yin-yang eyes and other supernatural gifts. Bolin’s fief lord, the Prince of Yan, rebels against his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor. In the bitter war of succession, the Mongols hold the balance of power. While the victor might win the battle on earth, China’s Dragon Throne can only be earned with a Mandate from Heaven – and the support of the Old Dragon.

In every era, a man endowed with the powers of heaven – the Dragon Master – is born. Only he can summon the Old Dragon, providing he possesses the dragon pearl. It’s the year 1402, and neither the Old Dragon, the dragon pearl, nor the Dragon Master, has been seen for twenty years. 

Bolin’s journey of self-discovery is mirrored by that of old China, as both endeavour to come of age. When Bolin accepts his destiny as the Dragon Master, heaven sends a third coming of age – for humanity itself. But are any of them ready for what is rising in the east?


Buy Links:

 Amazon UK   Amazon US   Amazon CA    Amazon AU   Amazon India

Barnes and Noble   Waterstones   Kobo   Author Website   Blackwell's (UK)

Bol (NL)   Books Telegraph (UK)   Publisher's Website   Saxo (DK)   Scribd

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The rising sun shone on the prince’s magnificent black stallion. With a regal wave, he acknowledged the rousing welcome echoing along the battlements. Standing near to the prince, an equerry held the reins of a riderless horse, its armour bedecked in the red and gold livery of a commanding officer. That must be the dead general’s. 

Bolin could smell the sweat of the two horses and see their mud-caked hooves. But his headache returned, accompanied by an incessant ringing in his ears. An eerie feeling crept over him like an early morning mist over the moors. 

The prince’s steed seemed unnerved as well, because it pawed the ground, kicking up spurts of the damp earth, which agitated the riderless horse. The prince hauled on his reins, but it resisted, snorting loudly.

The riderless mount bucked its head, throwing off the dead general’s armour, which clattered onto the unyielding earth. The equerry patted him on the back while pulling on its tether. Instead of calming the beast, its nostrils flared and its eyes opened wide as if in terror.

Amidst cries of alarm, all Bolin could hear was heavy thrumming against his temples. The air in front of him seemed cloudy, full of swirling strands of ch’i. The ch’i currents whirled around the cavalry, who seemed unaware of its invisible presence. Three paces in front of the prince’s horse, an ethereal figure emerged from the spectral mists. Bolin inhaled sharply. Who or what is that?   

The spectral figure menaced the prince’s horse, which neighed and kicked its hooves wildly. Straining every sinew, the prince hung on to his reins for dear life.

Bolin noticed thick crimson streaks running like the tracks of a wagon wheel across the man’s chest. A dried stream of blood that had flowed from a missing ear now caked the warrior’s neck and shoulder. In his hand, the man clutched a tattered, blood-speckled parchment. The spectral figure was wearing silk of gold and red – a general’s uniform. 

The ghostly figure struck fear into the dead general’s horse, which reared up, snorting. Unable to handle it, the equerry let go of the reins, slipped and fell. The horse’s whirling hooves crashed on his head, splitting it like an egg, splattering brains and gore over the prince’s silken uniform.

The world stopped. The prince stared at the blood on his damask tunic. The column held its collective breath. A pall of silence descended on the ramparts, the initial playful welcoming atmosphere suffocated by a moment of horror. In that hiatus, Bolin seemed the only one still awake and aware. He could see what was happening. Why couldn’t they? In that suspended moment, he felt as if some demon, some errant spirit, occupied his being, as if – he was possessed. The weird, eerie feeling passed almost as quickly as it had come, releasing his voice to shout as loud as he could, “A ghost! There! Look!”

He stabbed his finger at the spectre.

His words broke the spell that shackled the world. Fright and loathing replaced the cheers from the battlements and all mayhem broke loose. Horses reared, throwing riders onto the ground. Soldiers rushed around like frantic geese, spreading chaos. The dead general’s horse ran off by the side of the moat. Riders from the column gave chase. Commotion surrounded the prince, who clung to the reins for dear life. A military physician ran across the drawbridge to care for the injured.

Cui’s cries of alarm rent the air. “Who? What are you talking about?” The old soldier yelled.

“It’s General Shimei. Can’t you—?

“I don’t see anything,” Cui interrupted him. “Besides, I told you that he’s dead!” 

“I know. It’s a ghost. He’s there!” Bolin felt like his face was about to explode with rage. 

A voice of authority calmed the dispute. “I see him. Leave this to me.” It was Dong, the Abbot of the local temple. In moments, the Taoist monks struck up a clamour on their drums and cymbals, unnerving the general’s ghost. As Dong led them towards the spectre, it shimmered around the edges, lost its human form and gradually melted back into the clouds of ch’i like a man sucked into quicksand.

 Justin Newland

Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers – that’s history with a supernatural twist. His historical novels feature known events and real people from the past, which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural.

His novels speculate on the human condition and explore the fundamental questions of our existence. As a species, as Homo sapiens sapiens – that’s man the twice-wise – how are we doing so far? Where is mankind’s spiritual home? What does it look or feel like? Would we recognise it if we saw it?

Undeterred by the award of a Doctorate in Mathematics from Imperial College, London, he found his way to the creative keyboard and conceived his debut novel, The Genes of Isis (Matador, 2018), an epic fantasy set under Ancient Egyptian skies.

Next came the supernatural thriller, The Old Dragon’s Head (Matador, 2018), set in Ming Dynasty China.

His third novel, The Coronation (Matador, 2019), speculates on the genesis of the most important event of the modern world – the Industrial Revolution.

His fourth, The Abdication (Matador, 2021), is a supernatural thriller in which a young woman confronts her faith in a higher purpose and what it means to abdicate that faith.

His stories add a touch of the supernatural to history and deal with the themes of war, religion, evolution and the human’s place in the universe.

He was born three days before the end of 1953 and lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.

 Social Media Links:

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Twitter: @drjustinnewland


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Book Spotlight and Excerpt: A Turbulent Peace by Paul Walker


January 1919.

Following the armistice, Mary Kiten, a volunteer nurse in northern France, is ready to return home to England when she receives a surprise telegram requesting that she report to Paris. The call comes from her Uncle Arthur, a security chief at the Peace Conference.

Within minutes of arriving at the Majestic Hotel in Paris, Mary hears a commotion in the street outside. A man has been shot and killed. She is horrified to earn that the victim is her uncle. The police report the attack as a chance robbery by a known thief, who is tracked down and killed resisting arrest.

Mary is not convinced. Circumstances and the gunshot wound do not indicate theft as a motive. A scribbled address on Arthur’s notepad leads to her discovery of another body, a Russian Bolshevik. She suspects her uncle, and the Russian, were murdered by the same hand.

To investigate further, Mary takes a position working for the British Treasury, headed by J M Keynes.

But Mary soon finds herself in the backstreets of Paris and the criminal underworld.

What she discovers will threaten the foundations of the congress.


 Buy Links:

 This book is available to read on #KindleUnlimited

 Universal Link

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Le Pistolet Fumant was an odd name for a restaurant located only a few yards from the Champs Elysees. Some may have considered it strangely appropriate to the subject of our intended conversation. The interior was warm, welcoming and tempting. A subdued light gave an intimate air to an arrangement of ornate tables and chairs cosseted with a flush of maroon velvet trimmed with gold. The only concession to its intriguing name was a pair of ancient muskets hung on the wall facing our entrance. The rich smells wafting from waiters’ trays and filtering through kitchen doors teased my senses and banished all other thoughts as we studied our menus in silence.

Visser had decided. He folded his menu and placed it on the table. He said, ‘Would you consider me too forward if I suggested we use each other’s Christian names instead of the “Mr” and “Miss” from now on?’

‘Not at all.’ I was surprised and pleased he had asked. ‘I would be happy to be called Mary or Maria.’

‘And I am plain Adam with no variant or nickname, I’m afraid.’

We smiled, then I quickly returned to the menu as a waiter approached. Our orders given, both of us seemed to be waiting for the other to initiate a resumption of unfinished conversation from the Astoria.

Eventually, he said, ‘Tell me more about the attack on Keynes and how you came to be following him that night.’

‘Oh, we haven’t finished with the enquiries into Arthur’s murder, have we?’

‘No, but there is no more to be done until I have made a few enquiries. Sazanov heads the most influential of the anti-Bolshevik groups in Paris, but there are others. I need to gather information on the current activities of all of them.’

‘Who would have that information?’

‘I have the SIS dossiers we used for briefing before our assignments in Eastern Europe. The French intelligence service should be able to help, but the Americans will probably have the most detailed information.’

‘I’ve already spoken to Colonel House’s assistant, and the information she offered was helpful but brief and incomplete.’

‘It’s Lansing and his entourage who have the data I need.’

‘Excuse my ignorance, but who is Lansing?’

‘He is Wilson’s Secretary of State, although Wilson doesn’t appear to have much faith in him. Lansing is fiercely anti-Bolshevik and opposed all contact with them. I am assured he holds current and voluminous files on all the parties fighting against Lenin, Trotsky and the Red Army.’

I supposed it made sense, but I had an uneasy feeling I was being side-lined. I related the story of my first visit to Bar Felix with Keynes, the retrieval of his notebook, my suspicions aroused by the scheming in street doorways and a sudden realisation of a possible entrapment with a camera. He heard me patiently and without interrupting while we were served with our aperitifs. Finally, I paused my narrative to tackle the mussels we had both ordered.

‘Tell me, Mary,’ he said, wiping his fingers on a napkin, ‘were you and Major Parkes surprised at the attackers’ use of weapons? You knew a trap had been laid.’

‘I didn’t anticipate weapons would be used in anger for the entrapment. I imagined threats would have been sufficient if needed.’ I paused, remembering the shock of the gunshot. ‘Put it down to my naivety. I should have explained more to Major Parkes, then he would have been prepared. But… we were rushed… there wasn’t time.’ I shook my head to dismiss images of John’s wound. ‘No, please ignore those excuses. It was my fault. I was too eager to scupper their plans. I didn’t think it through properly.’

I was half expecting him to protest that I was blameless and say words to ease my conscience, but he didn’t. He didn’t react at all. I wasn’t sure if he approved of my actions or thought I was foolish. His expression told me nothing. The mussels were finished. Delicious. I dabbed my lips with the napkin, then continued to recount the Keynes incident and its aftermath.

Paul Walker


Paul lives in a village 30 miles north of London, where he is a full-time writer of fiction and part-time director of an education trust. His writing in a posh garden shed is regularly disrupted by children, a growing number of grandchildren, and several dogs.


Paul writes historical fiction. The William Constable series of historical thrillers is based around real characters and events in the late sixteenth century. The first two books in the series – “State of Treason” and “A Necessary Killing” were published in 2019. The third book, titled “The Queen’s Devil,” was published in the summer of 2020.

Travel forward a few hundred years from Tudor England to January 1919 in Paris and the setting for Paul’s latest book, “A Turbulent Peace”. The focus of the World is on the Peace Conference after WW1 armistice. Add a dash of Spanish Flu, the fallout from the Russian Revolution, and you have a background primed for intrigue as nations strive for territory, power, and money.

 Social Media Links:

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Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Book Spotlight: The Muse of Freedom - a Cévenoles Sagas novel by Jules Larimore


First in the series from The Cévenoles Sagas is THE MUSE OF FREEDOM.

Brilliantly told, a story that will stick with you long after you've turned the last page . . . fresh and compelling, as relevant now as it was then.

~ Janet Wertman, award-winning author of The Seymour Saga trilogy

A French Huguenot apothecary’s legacy of secrets, a mystic healer’s inspiration, a fateful decision.

In the mysterious Cévennes mountains of Languedoc, France, 1695, Jehan BonDurant, a young nobleman forcibly held in a Dominican prieuré as a child, comes of age only to inherit a near-derelict estate and his Huguenot family’s dangerous legacy of secrets. While he cherishes his newfound freedom apprenticing as an apothecary, his outrage mounts over religious persecutions led by King Louis XIV’s Intendant Basville, who is sent to enforce the King’s will for “One King, One Law, One Faith”.

The ensuing divisions among families and friends and the gradual revelation of his own circumstances lead Jehan to question his spiritual choices. A journey deep into the heart of the Cévennes in search of guidance, unfolds in a way he least expects when he enters the enchanting Gorges du Tarn. There he discovers his muse, Amelia Auvrey, a free-spirited, mystic holy woman who reveals ancient healing practices and spiritual mysteries.

Together they quest for peace and spiritual freedom by aiding the persecuted until the Intendant’s spy reports their activities and the King’s dragoons are sent out after them. To retain their freedom, they must choose to live in hiding in a remote wilderness, join a festering uprising against the persecutions, or flee their cherished homeland with thousands of other refugees in search of hope.

Inspired by the true story of Jean Pierre Bondurant dit Cougoussac, distilled and blended with Cévenole magic lore, this is an inspiring coming of age story and family saga of courage, tenacity, and the power of love in a country rife with divisions under the control of an authoritarian king obsessed with power.

Fans of Poldark, Magic Lessons, The Lost Apothecary, and The Huguenot Chronicles will find thematic elements from those stories melded into this thrilling and obscure slice of French history.

 Follow the tour HERE


Buy Links

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 Jules Larimore 

Jules Larimore writes emotive, literary-leaning historical fiction to inspire positive change for the oppressed and refugees, and to encourage an intimate relationship with the natural environment.

Influenced by a background in freelance travel writing, Jules uses captivating historical settings as characters. Then distills and blends them with a dose of magic, myth, and romance to bring to life hopeful human stories. A previous career in marketing offered an outlet for creative writing used to romance brands with mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.

With a Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University, Jules has studied medieval history, ancient Greek culture, anthropology, folklore, narrative composition, and architectural design, and has trained under writing geniuses Libbie Hawker/Olivia Hawker and Roz Morris. While investigating the ancestor who inspired The Muse of Freedom, Jules researched late 17th century Languedoc customs, politics, and spiritual traditions specific to the little known Cévennes mountains of south-central France, culminating in a rich repository to feed future novels about the Cévenol people and culture.

Jules lives primarily in Ojai, California, with time spent around the U.S. and in various countries in Europe gathering more treasures in a continued search for authenticity.

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Thursday, September 8, 2022

Book Spotlight: God of Fire by Helen Steadman


‘Love was surely the greatest punishment of all’

He’s a rejected immortal. But can this magical blacksmith fight against fate and overcome the darkness of his past?

Hephaestus fears he’ll never be accepted. Cast down from Olympus and raised by a powerful sea witch, he sets out on a quest to discover his unknown father’s true identity. But he struggles to be taken seriously by the other gods who only want him for his ingenious inventions.

Convinced that solving his paternity will help him earn the love he seeks, the god of fire traps his mother and refuses to free her until she reveals a name. But when he uncovers a terrifying truth, he finds himself with more enemies than allies amongst the wrathful Olympians.

Can Hephaestus unlock buried secrets and prove himself worthy?

God of Fire is an imaginative standalone historical fantasy. If you like forgotten legends, fantastic beasts, and dark tales punctuated with humour, then you’ll adore Helen Steadman’s fascinating expedition into mythology.

Buy God of Fire to unravel the mysteries of ancient Greece today!

Recommended for fans of Mythos, Song of Achilles, Circe, and Pandora’s Jar.

Buy Links:

 Universal Pre-order Link

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Follow the tour HERE

Dr. Helen Steadman

Dr. Helen Steadman is a historical novelist. Her first novel, Widdershins and its sequel, Sunwise were inspired by the seventeenth-century Newcastle witch trials. Her third novel, The Running Wolf was inspired by the Shotley Bridge swordmakers, who defected from Solingen, Germany in 1687. Helen’s fourth novel will be published on 13 September 2022. This is God of Fire, a Greek myth retelling about Hephaestus, possibly the least well-known of the Olympians. Helen is now working on her fifth novel.

Despite the Newcastle witch trials being one of the largest mass executions of witches on a single day in England, they are not widely known about. Helen is particularly interested in revealing hidden histories and she is a thorough researcher who goes to great lengths in pursuit of historical accuracy. To get under the skin of the cunning women in Widdershins and Sunwise, Helen trained in herbalism and learned how to identify, grow and harvest plants and then made herbal medicines from bark, seeds, flowers and berries.

The Running Wolf is the story of a group of master swordmakers who defected from Solingen, Germany and moved to Shotley Bridge, England in 1687. As well as carrying out in-depth archive research and visiting forges in Solingen to bring her story to life, Helen also undertook blacksmith training, which culminated in making her own sword. During her archive research, Helen uncovered a lot of new material, and she published her findings in the Northern History journal.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Book Spotlight and Excerpt: The Eisenhower Chronicles by M. B. Zucker


In 1938 he was a lieutenant colonel stationed in the Philippines; by 1945 the world proclaimed him its savior. From leading the forces of liberal democracy against history’s most evil tyrant to the presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower fought for and kept the peace during the most dangerous era in history.

The Eisenhower Chronicles dramatizes Ike’s life, portraying his epic journey from unknown soldier to global hero as only a novel could. He is shown working with icons such as FDR, Winston Churchill, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and confronting challenges like D-Day, the Little Rock Crisis, and Sputnik.

Eisenhower’s legacy is grounded in defending the world from fascism, communism, and nuclear weapons. This novel shows how he accomplished it all and takes readers into his mind and soul, grounding the history in the man who made it.

Advance Praise:

“An ambitious novel that illuminates the complexity of one of the great figures of the twentieth century. Ike's homespun manner concealed a remarkably skilled, at times Machiavellian, leader who guided the nation through perilous times. M.B. Zucker brings us inside Eisenhower's world as he wrestles with a series of decisions affecting the survival of free government and the fate of humanity. This is a fun, fast-paced, informative read that captures the man and his times. Highly recommended.”

-Stephen F. Knott, Professor of National Security at the Naval War College and author of Washington and Hamilton: The Alliance that Forged America

“A most important aspect of M. B. Zucker's The Eisenhower Chronicles is that it dispels at least two myths about Ike's presidency: that it was but an appendage to his illustrious military career; and, that Eisenhower was more prone to react to events rather than shape them. In a lively and innovative style, Zucker shows his readers how Ike managed the Cold War during its most dangerous period and helped make his country a more fair and just society at home. A must read for anyone interested in mid-20th century America.”

-Alvin S. Felzenberg, presidential historian and author of The Leaders We Deserved and a Few We Didn't

“Zucker's achievement is monumental. In a fast-paced narrative, he captures Dwight D. Eisenhower with mastery and precision-his thoughts, emotions, decisions, and actions. The smooth prose and rich detail put the reader right there with Ike at every step of his military career and presidency, with an accurate and compelling rendering. This is historical fiction at its best.”

-Yanek Mieczkowski, presidential historian and author of Eisenhower's Sputnik Moment: The Race for Space and World Prestige

“This is a vast and minutely detailed account of Eisenhower as both supreme Warlord and President of the United States at a time of truly massive transformation.It is magisterial in its informed account and sweeping in its scope. It is a panoramic study, intensively researched, of Eisenhower as both a private person and a world figure.... Five stars and highly recommended.”

- The Historical Fiction Company Editorial Reviews

Buy Links:

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Ike visits the 101st Airborne the night before D-Day in the most famous moment of his life. This story is told in the first person to make it more intimate. 

I clasped my hands behind my back and walked toward the jumpers, saying nothing to Kay or Bedell. As I approached the warriors I noticed that many of them had painted their faces black. That served two purposes. It helped to camouflage them at night when they would meet the enemy and helped them feel brave. Some jumpers on the outer rim of the group glanced at me, then looked again to confirm the sight. They stood at attention.

“Hey, it’s Ike!” one shouted.

“Look, the Supreme Commander’s here to see us off!”

“Holy cow, Ike’s here!”

Soon dozens, if not hundreds, of jumpers excitedly ran toward me, encircling me in a large group. I’ve never seen so many excited faces. I can’t think of a more humbling experience. These men were the real heroes. They were about to risk their lives to defeat a racist monster. Yet they were excited to see me, who couldn’t compare to their bravery and duty.

“At ease! Come on!” I exclaimed. “Gather around!” I glanced at the crowd, looking as many jumpers in the eye as I could. “Smoke if you got ‘em, jumpers!”

They laughed; many pulled out cigarettes and lighters. I decided it was finally time for me to enjoy one too. I pulled out my cigarette, only to realize I’d left my lighter in the car!

“Anyone got a light?” I asked. They laughed again.

“Here ya go, Ike!” one exclaimed with a thick southern accent. He lit my cigarette and I thanked him.

“You men ready to get the ball through their endzone?” I asked. That lit up their faces. They loved that their general spoke the way they did.

“You ever play ball, Ike?” one asked.

“I did at West Point!” I answered.

“You any good?”

“I nearly tackled Jim Thorpe!”

That led to some “ohs!” from the group.

“Nearly?” another jumper asked.

“Yup,” I replied to some laughs.

“Your team win?”

“Not exactly.” More laughs. I turned to the jumper closer to me.

“Where you from, Corporal?”


“Brooklyn, huh? You a Yankees fan?”

“That’s right!”

Dozens of jumpers groaned. I joined them. I asked a few others. A handful of states were mentioned. New Jersey. Arizona. California. Ohio. Virginia. I wanted to find one from Kansas, preferably Abilene. That would have been a hoot!

“Anyone from Kansas?” I asked after I gave up on trying to be lucky. No one responded beyond a few shaking their heads ‘no.’

“That’s a shame,” I said. “I’m going to need a job after we’ve hit Berlin!”

Some jumpers cheered.

“Don’t worry, General,” one said. “You can work at my ranch in Dallas!”

I smiled and nodded, pretending to consider the option. He continued.

“If I’m not there after the war you can ask my Pa. He’ll give you a job.”

I frowned. That burst the comradery, if for a moment. The reminder of coming death. For them and not for me. I toured several other groups of jumpers over the next hour or so before they took off. No other war in history so definitely lined up the forces of arbitrary oppression and dictatorship on the one hand against those of human rights and individual liberty. And they were the best of our side. They were plunging into the most vicious warfare imaginable, not only for America and Europe, but so the whole world could live in freedom and peace. They had no options of retreat. They had to succeed or die. I felt like a father to those young men when I was among them. But what kind of father sends his boys to kill and die? And they had real fathers waiting at home, anxious that their sons would return in one piece. And I took them away. No, I didn’t. Hitler did, by trying to rule the world. How can one man be so selfish? He was the ultimate example of narcissism. And those jumpers were the ultimate example of duty. I couldn’t be prouder of them.

“How about you?” I asked another jumper.

“What about me, General?”

“Where are you from?”


“Michigan,” I repeated. “How’s the fishing up there?”

“It’s great, sir.”

“Michigan’s a beautiful state. I’ve been fishing up there several times.”

I made a demonstration of my preferred fly fishing technique. That led to a brief discussion on the topic. I became solemn again.

“Are you scared?” I asked the Michigander.

“No, sir!” he declared.

“Well, I am. Many of you boys ain’t coming back.”

“We’re well briefed, sir. We’re ready.”

I smiled.

“We’re going to achieve full victory and nothing less. I can’t stress enough upon you all the historic magnitude of this undertaking. Your service will save the world.”

That led to more nodding—more determination of spirit!

My eyes filled as the last planes flew beyond my ability to see them a short time later. I wiped the tears with my sleeve and slowly made my way to the car.

“Well, it’s on,” I said to Kay. She said nothing. “It’s very hard to look a man in the eye when you fear you are sending him to his death.”

I sat in the car.

“I hope to God I know what I’m doing.”


M. B. Zucker

M. B. Zucker has been interested in storytelling for as long as he can remember. He discovered his love of history at fifteen and studied Dwight Eisenhower for over ten years. Mr. Zucker earned his B.A. at Occidental College and his J.D. at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He lives in Virginia with his wife.

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