Sunday, July 20, 2014

Travelers of the Gray Dawn by Paul Grimshaw

To say that Tommy Fuller has a major problem is a gross understatement! His day began with a challenging, as well as frightening, situation that was not destined to rapidly improve.

Tommy, Greg Jackson and Mike Phillips are all Civil War enthusiasts,  participating in a major reenactment event. Circumstances bring them together on a journey that transports them into the actual Battle of Gettysburg and into a time where they discover that the Civil War seems to have concluded very differently than their knowledge of history represents.

Embroiled in a situation where they are ultimately living as fugitives in this very different society, they must claw and scratch their way back to their own time and lives. Can they trust anyone to help?

I read this book with particular interest, as I have a old friend who is an expert on Civil War history and happens to be an active reenactor. He performs a one man show in which he dresses in uniform and tells his story of being in the Civil War, describes the physical conditions, the emotional conflicts, the governmental/moral issues of the time, and is so convincing in his performance, one would believe he had really been there in that capacity. Many historical society chapters invite him to speak, and I must say that hearing him is an intriguing experience. A room in his house has been effectively converted into a museum of Civil War memorabilia, and visiting him and his home is unforgettable.

Reading Travelers of the Gray Dawn is a similar experience. It is far more than a step back in time. It takes the division of the north and south states one step further and considers what life might have been like if the outcome of the war had been significantly different. The book is a combination of time travel, history, fiction, and science fiction with a touch of romance included for good measure.

Author Paul Grimshaw educates us about various aspects of the Civil War, while painting a vivid picture of the social implications of such a horrifically divided time in our nation’s history.  Reading the book caused me to pause and ask the question, “What lessons did we learn from the Civil War?” As much as I love friends and family from both the north and the south, I am very much aware that there are still people who harbor resentment toward “those Yankee northern aggressors.”  And there are northerners who still think of the southerners as unsophisticated “Rebels.” How much progress has been achieved in erasing the division and disrespect? Will these stereotypes ever be eliminated?

On another note, this book also sheds some light on what the eager reenactors really do on those battlefields--something that always sparked my curiosity. I could definitely visualize this story as a possibility for the big screen. I hope that Paul Grimshaw will let us know when the movie will be released and if we are invited to its debut!!

Book Description

What if...? What if the South had won the American Civil War? What might the world look like in 2013 if, in 1863, the Confederated States of America won the Civil War? These issues are considered in the action-adventure time-travel thriller "Travelers of the Gray Dawn." This fast moving, movie-like story has been said to be as if "Cold Mountain" meets "Back to the Future" with a little "National Treasure" thrown in for the "fun factor." Join three modern day Civil War reenactors who begin their morning at the 150th Anniversary reenactment of The Battle of Gettysburg, and accidentally stumble through time and space finding themselves in a world that seems familiar in some ways, but is very different in others. This novel, from freelance journalist Paul Grimshaw, takes aim as part cautionary tale, part mystery, and part cops & robbers with a love story at its heart.

A Mini-Interview with Paul Grimshaw

What prompted you to write the story? “I’ve always been a big Sci-Fi fan (too much Twilight Zone as a kid) and an American history buff.  When I saw my first Civil War reenactment in Franklin, TN 25 years ago, I had this crazy notion about a fun story involving time travel and the South winning the Civil War.”

How long did it take you to complete the project? “Who knows? I worked on it in fits and starts over the past 25 years, dropping for 10 years  at one point, picking it back up, stopping for 2 or 3 years, etc. But with the approach of the Sesquicentennial (150th) of the Civil War approaching, I made a mad dash to finish in 2012, just before the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg (2013).”

Are you currently working on Volume II? “Yes and no! I’ve decided on a prequel, and have the rough story idea mapped out in my head, but no actual words to paper (or computer screen) yet. But soon!  I should note that I have a new book deal almost wrapped up with Arcadia Publishing in Charleston. It will be a non-fiction Civil War history and photo archive project, released in 2015. Arcadia is huge – international, 9,000 titles in print, and they are the distribution partner that’s been selling my book at select Walmart stores.”

About the Author

Freelance journalist / musician Paul R. Grimshaw is a lifetime amateur historian, with distant ties, like many Americans, to the U.S. Civil War. Born in Syracuse, New York, Grimshaw has traveled extensively and lived for extended periods in Nashville, TN, Central Mo, and South Carolina, where he currently resides. His debut novel, Travelers of the Gray Dawn, combines his love of sci-fi and history to answer the "What if?" questions of a modern world, in the wake of a Confederate victory. Grimshaw is an active Civil War reenactor, participating in as many 150th Anniversary reenactments as his schedule will allow. He was a part of the historic 150th Gettysburg Reenactment in July, 2013, along with 15,000 reenactors and 100,000 spectators.
Paul Grimshaw

For additional information visit:  

PLEASE NOTE--Paul Grimshaw and Travelers of the Gray Dawn will be featured:
·       September 6, 2014 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in Market Common, Myrtle Beach, SC

·       September 27, 2014 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Clock Tower Books, 105 Screven Street, Georgetown, SC

Stop by, visit the author, and purchase a copy that he will graciously sign!

I will be taking a summer break from blogging on this site, but will periodically feature some particularly interesting books. Check back for updates!

Mary Anne Benedetto
Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!


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