Lexington, Kentucky, 1859. After saving John Hunt Morgan from a puma attack, fifteen-year-old farm boy Will Crump joins Hunt’s militia, the Lexington Rifles. Morgan mentors Will and enrolls him in the local university, where he hopes to study law. As tensions rise between the North and South, Will is torn between his loyalty to Morgan and his love for his family. Will’s father, sisters, and sweetheart follow the Union, while Morgan and Will commit to the South. As part of Morgan’s band, Will participates in ambushes and unconventional warfare until his first real battle at Shiloh. He fights bravely, but increasingly questions what the war is accomplishing, and whether his devotion to honor has led him astray. And where is God in all this killing?

Will’s sister Albinia, friend of the Clay family, becomes increasingly aware of the plight of the slaves. When she finds Luther, a slave she knows, trying to escape, she must decide between her conscience, and her friends. She becomes involved in the Underground Railroad, helping slaves to freedom – but will it cost her love and her freedom?

Will’s other sister, Julia, is approaching spinster status and despairs of ever meeting a man who can give her more than life on a farm until she meets Hiram Johannsen, a son of immigrants who owns a steamship company. They marry and she makes a new life in the North. When Hiram answers the call to fight for the North, Julia runs the steamboat company in her husband’s absence and uses her boats to help Albinia ferry escaped slaves to freedom. Her business relations put her in the perfect position to spy for the North. When the Confederates capture her, will she survive?

Luther is one of the first slaves Albinia helps flee the South after his master cruelly abuses his mother and sister. He escapes with his family, and when war breaks out, he fights for the North as an auxiliary of the Third Ohio Cavalry, alongside Julia’s husband, Hiram, and against Morgan and Will. Luther has to confront the demons of his past, an abusive master, and a slave catcher that kills his little sister. Will the desire for revenge destroy him?

Throughout the war, Will is forced to examine and question everything he believes in—his faith in God, his love for his family, his loyalty to Morgan, and his worth as a human being.

Will and his family must somehow mend the torn fabric of relationships to find peace, and reach Across the Great Divide.

Reviews for Clouds of War

Ross has composed a book that is astoundingly ambitious but, in all ways, absolutely triumphant. This story begins at the first muttering of unrest in a country that was not only politically divided but morally divided as well, and it ends with the Confederate surrender in 1865 and the subsequent release of the prisoners of war. In between the pages of this remarkable book is a story of one family who finds themselves on opposite sides during the war between the North and the South of America. It is a tear-jerking story of heroism and tragedy. It is a tale of survival, of fear, hate, and the insufferable torment of the soul that comes from opening fire on your fellow countryman. But this is also a book about forgiveness, mercy, and above everything else, love. Ross has penned an extraordinarily compelling and unforgettable account of one family as they navigated the American Civil War (1861 – 1865).” –

The Coffee Pot Book Club maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/2020/03/bookreview-across-great-divide-book-1.html

“The plot takes the readers along on a journey through the rough the harsh realities of being young in a country on the verge of Civil War. Ross is an incredibly capable and gifted writer. He delivers beautiful sentences, although sometimes inconsistent in tone and language usage. A pithy staccato is often juxtaposed with more a more lyrical prose style. ”

_The BookLife Prize, Publisher’s Weekly

5.0 out of 5 stars “Can’t put it down” kind of book!Reviewed in the United States on October 8, 2019′

Verified PurchaseI loved reading this book, especially while on a tour to DC, and visiting Abe LIncoln’s Memorial. This book really puts you into the lives of both sides of the civil war, including the hard life of slaves and the underground railroad, and being faithful to your leader. It really brought out some tough issues facing the family that was finding on both sides of the war. REALLY good read … can’t wait for the next book to come out!

The Clouds of War unveils the horrors that slavery and the civil war inflicted on our nation, using an escaped slave’s quest for freedom and justice, and gripping stories of men and women of the fictional Crump family.

This saga paints a vivid picture of pre-war turmoil in the border state of Kentucky through the eyes of a simple farming family, struggling to survive without slaves. As war descends upon them, their family divides in their loyalties. As his sisters secretly risk their lives and freedom in the Underground Railroad, Will Crump joins a southern militia group headed by John Morgan, to defend his state, even though he doesn’t condone slavery.

Meanwhile, the slave Luther’s mother and sisters are abused by their owners, and decide in the middle of the night to head north. When Albinia Crump notices her white friend’s slave in the streets, she risks everything to save his family. Luther’s riveting journey to free Ohio, only to be accosted by slave hunters, and Albinia’s dangerous romance with a famous abolitionist keep the pages turning.

Ross made me feel like I was there, engaging in the conversations, trying to decide the right paths forward, smelling the gunpowder at Shiloh, raiding with the famous Captain Morgan, nervously asking a father for permission to court his daughter, hiding in a false compartment in a buggy while slave patrols harassed, and experiencing the concentration-camp-like conditions of a Union prison camp.