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Tour: Shire's Union Trilogy by Richard Buxton


Book details:

Book Title: Trilogy consisting of:

Whirligig (Book #1)

The Copper Road (Book #2)

Tigers in Blue (Book #3)

Series: Shire’s Union

Author: Richard Buxton

Publication Date:

WG = 22/3/2017

TCR = 26/7/2020

TIB = 8/12/2023

Publisher: Ocoee Publishing

Page Length:

WG = 479

TCR = 421

TIB = 424


@ShiresUnion @cathie.dunn1 @thecoffeepotbookclub



@richardbuxton63 @thecoffeepotbookclub



@RichardBuxton65 @cathiedunn


Shire leaves his home and his life in Victorian England for the sake of a childhood promise, a promise that pulls him into the bleeding heart of the American Civil War. Lost in the bloody battlefields of the West, he discovers a second home for his loyalty.


Clara believes she has escaped from a predictable future of obligation and privilege, but her new life in the Appalachian Hills of Tennessee is decaying around her. In the mansion of Comrie, long hidden secrets are being slowly exhumed by a war that creeps ever closer.


The Shire’s Union trilogy is at once an outsider’s odyssey through the battle for Tennessee, a touching story of impossible love, and a portrait of America at war with itself. Self-interest and conflict, betrayal and passion, all fuse into a fateful climax.


Written by award winning author Richard Buxton, the Shire’s Union trilogy begins with Whirligig, is continued in The Copper Road, and concludes with Tigers in Blue.


Universal Buy Links for individual titles:




Prologue

 

You had to be as tall as a musket to be trusted with one. That was Father’s rule. The boy followed his brother through the scruffy woods and felt the injustice of it. He’d have to wait at least two years to get his own gun. ‘Three shots,’ he called ahead. ‘You only get three shots.’

‘That’s what I said, ain’t it?’ Will called back. ‘Quit whining.’ Ahead, his brother carried the gun in both hands, weaving it between the low branches and saplings that crowded in on the path. A still mist hung amongst the higher leaves that were just on the turn, the first damp hints of yellow and orange about their edges. The two dogs brought up the rear, wise enough to keep behind the gun.

Injustice, the boy believed, was the correct word to describe how he was feeling. He mustn’t call it fairness; Father had no time for fairness. He’d say, ‘Show me a man asking for a fair break and I’ll show you a weak man, most likely a Yankee.’ Injustice was somehow a different thing, though the boy wasn’t sure exactly how.

They reached Low Bald, a clear circle of wet grass. The mist was so thick he could barely see to the other side. Ordinarily they’d have made for High Bald, but that was another hour of climbing. They didn’t want to wait that long to fire the gun.

Earlier, he’d watched Father stand the Springfield musket alongside Will and say there wasn’t a worn cent’s thickness either way, then hand Will the gun along with a dozen cartridges and some percussion caps. ‘Get a good way into the hills,’ Father had said, ‘so that Mother won’t hear.’

Before they’d left, Will had told him to go get something to shoot at. A plain white plate out of the kitchen would have done, but it was busy in there. The parlor was better: there’d been no one to see him slip the piece of china under his coat.

When, as she did so often in the years ahead, Mother would wonder aloud why she had a plate missing from her wedding set, his gut would pull tight and he’d never utter a word.

Up on Low Bald his brother took the plate from him and wedged it in the crook of a tree. The glazed, pink rose at the center made a good target. They walked twenty paces back around the edge of the woods so they could fire across clear ground. The dogs slinked past and sat behind them. He had nothing to do but watch his brother.

Will bit open a cartridge, spat out the paper, and tipped the powder and ball into the barrel. Then he took the ramrod and reached high to slide it in and force the ball home. Placing the percussion cap onto the nipple was a struggle: the gun was awkward to hold in one hand.

The boy only wanted to help. ‘You want me to put it on?’

His brother twisted away. ‘I can do it.’ He pulled back the hammer, lifted the gun and aimed at the plate.

The snap of the first shot died in the mist. Though it hit nothing, they smiled at each other. The novelty of firing alone, without Father, was enough. When the third shot followed the first two into the woods, not even hitting the tree, Will frowned. ‘Go set it higher.’

‘It’s my turn.’

‘It’s too low. I wanna try it higher.’

‘Then go set it yerself.’

Will just loaded and fired again.

‘That’s four. I get four turns now.’

‘Not until I hit it.’

‘You couldn’t hit that plate if it was on the ground right next to yer.’

‘Sut up, Mommy’s Boy. You can’t even reach to ram in the ball.’

‘I can too.’

One of the dogs started whining.

Will fired again.

He’d use all the cartridges if he carried on. The boy picked up an acorn and flicked it at his brother’s feet. ‘C’mon. I got the plate for us.’

‘Go move it higher.’

‘I ain’t no slave.’ He collected a whole handful of acorns and threw them one at a time, harder and harder. The dogs began to bark.

‘Quit it!’

‘Let me shoot.’

Will ignored him and reloaded. But this time, when he came to squeeze the trigger, the gun didn’t fire. He tried once more. There was nothing but a flat click. He cursed and forced back the hammer again.

This was all wrong. The boy wasn’t allowed his own gun and now he wouldn’t even get a turn. He pelted a bigger acorn at his brother and caught him under the chin.

‘Start runnin’, runt.’

He wouldn’t run. Why should he? It was his turn. Will strode over and pushed the stock at his face. He grabbed hold.

A month from now, his parents will still be asking how the gun came to fire. To placate them, to shut them up, he’ll say maybe the dogs jumped up at Will. It’s enough to get the dogs shot.

He didn’t hear the blast, just felt the wet sting of blood, warm as summer rain, spray his cheeks and lips. The gun’s weight was unbalanced and he let it drop. When he opened his eyes, Will was on the ground. There was a last animation of sinew and jaw.

Later that day, after he’s run screaming up the steps and into the hall, after Mother has shaken him to make him talk, after he’s led them to Low Bald and they’ve carried Will down from the hills, Father will lock the door to the hunting room, turn and ask, ‘How was it, when your brother was in charge of the gun, he came to be shot in the face?’







Richard lives with his family in the South Downs, Sussex, England. He completed an MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University in 2014. He has an abiding relationship with America, having studied at Syracuse University, New York State, in the late eighties. He travels extensively for research, especially in Tennessee, Georgia and Ohio, and is rarely happier than when setting off from a motel to spend the day wandering a battlefield or imagining the past close beside the churning wheel of a paddle steamer.

 

Richard’s short stories have won the Exeter Story Prize, the Bedford International Writing Competition and the Nivalis Short Story Award. His first novel, Whirligig (2017) was shortlisted for the Rubery International Book Award. It was followed by The Copper Road (2020) and the Shire’s Union trilogy was completed by Tigers in Blue (2023). To learn more about Richard’s writing visit www.richardbuxton.net.

 

Author Links:

 


Tour hosted by: The Coffee Pot Book Club


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Guest
Jun 11
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thanks so much from me as well. I appreciate the work involved to host me.


Best wishes,


Richard Buxton

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Guest
Jun 11
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you so much for hosting Richard Buxton today, with a great excerpt.


Take care,

Cathie xx

The Coffee Pot Book Club

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