In the first novel of a spellbinding new trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Jeff Shaara returns to the Civil War terrain he knows best.
Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . wonderful
Posted August 19, 2012 by caroline , vicksburgI was transported to the battlefield and felt like I now know how my great grandaddy felt at Shiloh Can't wait for the next book.
2 . Great Read
Posted July 24, 2012 by Ken , Portland OregonMr. Shaara does a great job with historical fiction. I read both WWII series he wrote they were great, but i stayed away from the civil war. What a mistake this was great. As soon as I finished it I went back and bought his American Revolution two book series I am hooked!
May 29, 2012
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from A Blaze of Glory by Jeff Shaara
february 22, 1862
"Keep those men out of there! They will not pass!"
Seeley's words were harsh, loud, the men around him doing all they could to obey. The shotguns hung by each man's side, and the lieutenant felt a shaking nervousness, was not ready to give the order that would point the long guns at these civilians. Like him, most of these troopers had never fired their weapons at anything but crude targets. Now the targets were men, surging toward him through the darkness, pushing their way toward the gaping doorways of the supply depot, a massive warehouse close to the river. Seeley had positioned his six horsemen in an even line, to block the way of the crowd, but the crowd was a mob, desperate and mindless, their goal the precious food and bundles of supplies that lay in the warehouse. A few cavalry meant nothing at all, and quickly the mob pushed into them, some slipping past, between the horses. He felt his own frustration rising, could feel the tinder�box explosiveness of the mob, and he shouted out again, could not help the higher pitch, his voice betraying the fear.
"You will stand away! These are government stores!"
Close between him and the next man, a civilian shoved hard, jostling his horse, punching it.
"Get out of my way! Damn you!"
Seeley steadied the horse, his outrage more of instinct, protective of the animal. He drew his saber, but the man ignored him, punched the horse again, and the saber rose high, came down hard against the man's shoulder, flat-�sided, the man collapsing right below him. The civilian rolled over, crying out, shielding himself with one hand above his face. There was no blood, not yet, the lieutenant trying to get control, the horse calmer, the man crawling out through the horse's legs. The lieutenant felt relief, did not want blood. He raised the saber again, mostly for show, but most of the mob ignored him, ignored all the horsemen, still pushed into the warehouse, spreading out in the dark. Behind him a lantern was lit, the glow filling the vast building with soft light reflecting off the mounds of boxes and barrels, bundles of cloth.
More cavalrymen galloped close, and he looked that way, hoped to see wagons, the army's own efforts to gather up the supplies, to move them out of this vulnerable place. But there were only men, a sergeant leading six more, and so Seeley was the only officer, was still in command, the sole authority. The horse jostled beneath him again, men still slipping by him in a rush, and he felt the saber in his hand, could not just assault these people, could not add to what was fast becoming a riot. But still . . . there were the orders, the strict need to guard what was piled up behind him. He steadied the animal with the reins, shouted toward the other horsemen, "Formation here! Beside us! No one is to pass! We must protect the depot!"
The other cavalrymen had already seen the futility of that, were as uncertain as he was. He wanted to shout again, but the mob was growing, more people coming down the side streets, noisy and energetic, women alongside men, shoving their way past, seeking anything they could carry. Some came past him the other way, from inside, weighed down by loot, by the very goods he was supposed to protect. He fought for it in his own mind, how to control these people, how to obey the orders he had been given, the responsibility for this one depot.
"Stop them! They must not pass!"
Seeley's anger was ripening into full fury, the frustration complete, his orders useless, the crowd still swarming around the line of horsemen. Some of the mob was already disappearing into the streets, satisfied for now with what they had grabbed, bundles and boxes and barrels of anything. Out past the depot he could hear splashes in the darkness, away from the lantern light, something heavy tossed into the river. He turned his horse, rode out from the others, tried to see the river's edge, heard more splashes. Some of the civilians had made their way out the back side of the warehouse, were tossing their loot into the water. He could hear someone leading them, instructions barked out from a man he couldn't see. He knew it was one of them, a civilian, orders that carried far more weight than this lone lieutenant in a small column of cavalry. He spurred the horse, moved out around the corner of the building, was in darkness now, frightening, could see only a single speck of lantern light at the wharf. A few of the cavalrymen followed him, the sergeant, curious, their formation breaking down. From the streets out beyond the warehouse, a new crowd came at them, word spreading throughout this part of the city, fresh passion, hot enthusiasm for the treasure, no matter what it might be. The lieutenant turned the horse again to the lamplight, saw his men looking toward him, fear in their eyes, and he caught sight of their weapons, holstered at their saddles.
"Close up this line! Draw your shotguns! Prepare to fire!"
Seeley saw their hesitation, shouted it again, the men obeying, the long guns sliding out from the holsters, tense, nervous glances toward the civilians. Behind him two men rolled a heavy barrel out of the warehouse, and he pointed the saber at them.
"Leave that be! We have orders to fire! You will leave this place! By order of Lieutenant Colonel Forrest, these supplies are the property of the army! Return to your homes!"
One man stopped, close to the horses, shouted back at him, "You have no authority! We have seen your army! They ran through this city like a stampede of rats! Get out of our way!"
Another man moved out of the lamplight, held a bundle on his shoulder, pointed a finger at the lieutenant.
"We know you're going to burn our city! We heard all of that! Just to keep it from the Yankees! We'll not be driven out of our homes by a bunch of cowards! I have a family! We need to eat! You get on out of here!"
Others in the crowd slowed, some seeming to notice him for the first time, and he welcomed that, a glimpse of acknowledgment, a small glimmer of calm through the flood of panic. Others were turning toward him, and he wondered if the threat from the weapons had drawn their attention. He took a breath, shouted out, "No one will burn your city! The enemy is not close! But these supplies . . ."
"Bah! Your own men ran through here like they was chased by the devil himself! Them Yankees are monsters! And you ain't gonna do nothing to stop them! Well, we're not gonna be cut down like cornstalks!"
A woman screamed toward him now, rage in her words, "We've got families . . . children! The Yankees are coming and you can't stop them!"
The moment of reason slipped away, and he could not respond, had no answers for the wild rumors, for their panic. The talk was past, and they resumed their movement, some back into the warehouse, more bundles and boxes hoisted up on shoulders, two men rolling another barrel out through the faint light, shoving it straight into the legs of his horse. Seeley held tight to the reins, gripped the saber hard, prepared again to strike, but something held him back, the civilians seeming to pull away, watching him, testing him. He shouted again, the high pitch of his voice rising above the anger from the mob.