What readers are saying about The 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).
With astonishing attention to the historical detail, Ross, it seems, has a visceral understanding of the era this book is set in. He also has a novelist’s skill to breathe life into people who have long since died. The hours of research that has gone into this book is self-evident — no one can write such crystalline prose without such dedicated devotion to the period. The battle scenes in this book are exceptionally well drawn and were brought vividly back to life — I could smell the blood, and feel the abject terror of the soldiers. I also must mention the depiction of Camp Douglas. — the horrors and the poverty the prisoners of war endured was portrayed with a great deal of skill and diligence to the historical facts. This book is, without a shadow of a doubt, a monumental work of scholarship. It is utterly splendid and a reward for any fan of quality Historical Fiction.
“This novel is based on historical people, as well as historical events and battles that happened during the Civil War. I really enjoyed this novel, and that the author wrote from various character point of views, and the battles scenes were easy to read and understand. But also enough to make you feel the pain of what these soldiers were going through, no matter which side they were fighting for.”readingismyremedy.wordpress.com
“I think this book is appropriately named because the Civil War did just that. It divided our country and our families. Brother against brother so yes this book is appropriately named.”
“I loved reading this book because I love historical fiction and I think this book is appropriately named.”
“I loved reading this book because I love historical fiction and I learned an awful lot in this book.”
“For a debut novel by Michael Ross this is certainly well done!! His research is exquisite and the characters are wonderful!”
“It certainly must’ve been been very hard for the families that were split up during the conflict.”
“I 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!”
“It took a whole lot of courage to stand up for what you believe in. It still does today! One of the questions that stood out to me was ‘Where is God in all of this? Why does He allow bad things to happen?’ I even ask myself that sometimes. I think we all do at one time or another.” (Full review on Redheaded Book Lady)
“5 out of 5 stars ‘Can’t put it down’ kind of book!”B. Harder
(audiobook 5 star review) “The story line was well developed and well written. I was saddened at how terrible the plantation owners treated their slaves. I cringed at the cruelty and my heart went out to them. At times I found myself weeping for them. This is a very emotional story, so you’ll need to have a hanky ready. I didn’t realize how terrible it was before the civil war and now I do. I’m grateful to those who fought against slavery.
The narrator did a great job with the voices and the inflections for each voice were great. He would chuckle when a character chuckled and I liked that.”
BookLife Talks with Michael Ross
Awards and Reviews of Book 2: The Search
Coffee Pot Book Club Cover of the Year
“How could he ever forget and pretend his life was normal?”
The Civil War had left its scars—not all of which could be seen. Will Crump craved peace. Peace from the nightmares which plagued him while he slept, but also while he was awake. Will knows he will never find peace amongst the familiar faces of his family, and so he packs up his life and heads for the mountains, hoping that there he will find the peace he needs. What he had not counted on was the unrest between the United States Army and the native population.
Will finds himself thrust into a conflict he neither foresaw nor wanted. But this time he is not just fighting for a flag and independence, he is fighting for the woman he is falling hopelessly in love with…
The Search (Across the Great Divide Book 2) by Michael L. Ross is a novel that does not threaten to mesmerize, it really does.
Riddled with survivor’s guilt because of what happened at Buffington Island and brought to his knees with grief for those who had died at Camp Douglas, Will is a man living on the edge. He desperately searches for words of comfort in the Bible, and he prays endlessly to God to stop the pain, but he is met with only a cold silence. So he chooses to try to outrun his past, leaving everything familiar behind him. He convinces himself that he will find peace in the mountains. Unfortunately, with the growing tension between the US Army and the native population, Will finds himself confronted with yet another war. I thought Will’s depiction was absolutely sublime. Ross has depicted Will’s extremely fragile mental health with a clear understanding of what we would now know as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. With no mental health help, Will must look inwards to drag himself out of the abyss of misery and guilt that is slowly destroying him. Will’s determination and his struggle to find the peace he so desperately desires and deserves saw me reaching for the tissues on more than one occasion. There is an honesty to Will’s character, which made him not only exceedingly likable, but also profoundly real in the telling. On a side-note, although based upon an actual historical person, William Dorsey Crump (1844–1940), Ross admits in his historical notes that his portrayal of Will during this period is fictional, as there are no primary sources that explain what he was doing during this period of his life.
The other protagonist is the beautiful Dove, the niece of Chief Washakie. In this novel, Dove struggles to understand her feelings for Will—he is a white man and therefore her enemy. Having survived the butchering at Bear River, it is no wonder as to why she holds these views. But she cannot deny that Will had saved her life and continues to do so. I thought Dove’s depiction was truly fabulous. She is this strong woman who knows that what she has found with Will is true love, but there are so many obstacles set between them that being together seems next to impossible. But still, she insists and is determined to find a compromise between her beliefs and Will’s. I adored Dove. She is this marvelously rounded heroine who has seen her fair share of death, but she holds onto hope, and she cherishes the love which she discovers with Will. Dove was a character that I came to care deeply about.
Race and conflict are explored in all of their ugly details throughout this novel. Ross not only examines the violent clash of two profoundly different cultures, but he also scrutinizes the impact of a swiftly changing world to the Indian population. The greed for land and the natural resources this rich and unspoilt frontier had to offer was more important than the lives of those who lived there. The white settlers, and in particular the army, saw the native population as a savage nuisance that must be dealt with. The Bear Rivers Massacre is briefly mentioned in this novel, as is the US Army’s determination to mount an expedition into Powder River Country. But what I found especially sickening was the soldiers’ excitement about their vile orders to kill Indians on sight–no quarter was to be given. This government-backed genocide made for some sobering reading. What made a bad situation even worse was that the natives, who were still trying to hold on to their way of life, still insisted on fighting each other. Ross subtly asks his readers were the native American’s any different from their white brothers? The white settlers claimed land that did not belong to them, but the Indians fought to preserve their territories. In no way does Ross condone the genocide and abject cruelty and brutality which the natives faced, he does however try to show his readers a few small similarities between the two.
Another race-related topic which Ross depicts is that of interracial romance. Will and Dove’s relationship is very tender and sweet. But they both come from two vastly different worlds. They are realistic about the difficulties which their relationship would face. Dove is keenly aware that she would never fit into the white man’s world, and that Will would never give up his God to fit into hers. This ill-fated love was exquisitely told, and I was rooting for them to find the happiness that they both deserved.
Ross has explored the unpredictability of nature, both in the literal and metaphorical sense. Nature is the physical frontier which dictates not only the narrative but also the war between the US Army and the natives. It is the driving force that brings Will and Dove together, but it is also what nearly tears them apart. Ross has given his readers a setting that is on the one hand breathtakingly beautiful but on the other is thwarted with danger. It also fascinated me how the Indians used the knowledge of the land to their own advantage.
Ross has penned a novel that is as impressive in its sweep as it is in detail. Ross has a large canvas in which to tell his story, and he has done so with the utmost care to the attention of the historical detail while leaving out none of the historical controversies. The treatment of the native population and their retaliation has been explored with a keen understanding of this period in history. At times the tension in this story is almost unbearable as our brave protagonists’ battle, not only to stay alive but to stay together in a world that wants to tear them apart. Ross has brought a very tragic but very fascinating era back to life in a story which is so brilliant that it is impossible to turn away from.
Unlike before in The Clouds of War (Across the Great Divide: Book 1) where there were multiple points of view, in The Search the story is focused on Will and Dove. I thought this was a wise move, as Will and Dove’s story is utterly enthralling, and it also means that this book stands firmly on its own two feet. One certainly does not have to read the first book at all to enjoy The Search.
The Search (Across the Great Divide Book 2) by Michael Ross is a novel which gripped me from the opening sentence to the last full stop. It is, in all ways, an absolute triumph.
I Highly Recommend.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde The Coffee Pot Book Club
Whispering Book Worm Review
It has been a long time since a book has left me utterly speechless. When I turned the last page of The Search, I took a moment to let the events that I had just witnessed between the pages wash over me. I found it impossible to put into words how moving this novel is and so, I went for a walk, hoping to clear my head so I could put pen to paper and give this book the praise that it so deserves.
Set during the latter half of the 19th Century, this story follows Will Crump—an ex-Soldier of The Confederate States Army. Will’s life has been shattered by the things he had seen during the war, the things he had done. He is tortured with the guilt of one that survived when so many of his friends had died. In an attempt to hide from the madness that threatens to consume him, Will decides to head to the mountains in the hope that the solitude will help mend the terrible pain that scars his heart so brutally.
Will’s journey is heartbreakingly tragic. A sharpshooter who is now terrified of firing a gun, for the noise brings back terrible flashbacks—how could one not sympathise with his situation? Unfortunately for Will, he finds himself thrust into a very different kind of war. This time the guns are aimed at the natives who are daring to fight for the rights to remain on the ancestral lands of their forefathers. Oh, Will, I wept as his story unfolded in front of me. His desperate desire for peace is hampered by the reality of the American Indian Wars, and to make matters worse he finds himself falling in love with a woman from the Shoshone tribe. Dove is a woman he has no right to love for they are from such vastly different words, but what his head says and what his heart demands are two very different things.
This story really broke my heart, but at the same time, it was a story that I could not turn away from. It is such a beautifully drawn story where love and war follow the same despairing path of uncertainty. I was so swept up in the story that time ceased to matter. This is one of those books that once read, can never be forgotten. Without a shadow of a doubt, it is one of the most enthralling books that I have ever read.
If you are looking for a novel filled with romance, suspense, drama, and the heartbreak of war, then this book should definitely be on your to-read list for 2021.
CandleLight Reading Review
If ever a book is deserving of its own soundtrack then it is most certainly this one. The majestic beauty of the frontier has been brought vividly back to life in Michael L. Ross’ new release—The Search (Across The Great Divide, Book 2).
Having not read Book 1, I was a little apprehensive about reading this novel. But, having been assured that this book did standalone I cautiously agreed to read and review it. To my delight, I quickly discovered that if I have not known that is was Book 2 in a series, I would never have come to that conclusion by myself. This novel stands very firmly on its own two feet, and apart from wanting to know precisely what happened to Will during the Civil War and the years he spent as a prisoner-of-war, I did not feel that I had missed anything from not reading Book 1 first.
This is a story of forbidden love and emotional healing. The story of Will Crump is incredibly moving. Based upon an actual historical person, this novel fills in the missing years of Will’s life. With careful consideration and understanding of the era, the author has penned a plausible story for what happened to Will during those missing years he spent in the mountains. With the ongoing American Indian Wars, it made sense that despite Will’s desperate desire for peace, he would end up being dragged into the conflict.
Will struggles with his emotions throughout this novel. He is also a deeply religious man who tries to live an honest Christian life, and although he sometimes doubts his prayers are heard, he never renounces his God, not even for the woman whom he is falling in love with. Thus being religiously conflicted, Will battles to make sense of his growing desire and love for the young Shoshone woman he saved. Dove becomes Will’s salvation, his redemption. She certainly brings him a level of peace that even the mountains would not have been able to give him. But there is so much against them, so many obstacles to clear that there is a sense of the ill-fated in their relationship. As a couple, Will and Dove were adorable, and they certainly complimented each other as beautifully as the sun does the moon, but they do come from two very different worlds and interracial relationships, especially when it came to marriage, was frowned upon. Nevertheless, I found myself rooting for this couple and really hoping for a positive and romantic outcome.
I really enjoyed reading The Search. I can honestly say that this book will stay with a reader a long time after they have turned the last page. I know it will stay with me for a very long time.
Books, Lattes, and Tiaras Review
Sometimes I agree to review a book before I’ve really read what the book’s about. I put trust in the cover and a quick glimpse of the book description. Let me tell you, I was definitely not disappointed in my choice to review this book! I mean, WOW!
Across the Great Divide: The Search by Michael L Ross. HistoricalNovelsRUS. Release date: 12/15/2020.
Will Crump, a former Confederate soldier, finds himself trying to leave everyone he knows to escape his nightmares about the war where he lost many he knows. He was also imprisoned and doesn’t hope to experience any of that again. Will finds himself trying to head west, using the forts along the way for safety and to load up on supplies.
Little does he expect to run into a Shoshone Indian woman face to face with a bear! Will comes to her rescue and decides he needs to care for her to make sure she heals from her injuries. When they end up at Leavenworth, he finds a man who speaks her language and they’re able to communicate. Dove, the Shoshone Indian woman, was captured by another tribe and her captor was killed by the bear. Dove finds Will constantly looking after her.
Will promises to help Dove return to her tribe. They actually fall in love along the way while they both go through some near death experiences. What will happen when Will finally gets Dove to meet up with her tribe and family? Will he be accepted and finally be able to marry Dove?
A digital copy of Across the Great Divide: The Search by Michael L Ross was provided by The Coffee Club Book Club. I give this book 5 out of 5 tiaras because I was quickly drawn into the story and I just couldn’t put it down! There are so many twists that pull the reader into the story that it’s easy to feel like you’re right there with Will and Dove!
Zoe’s Art Craft and Life Review (audiobook)
With all the majestic beauty of Michael Blake’s Dances with Wolves comes a new book in Michael Ross’ acclaimed series—Across The Great Divide.
I had heard some wonderful things about this series, so when I was offered the chance to review the audiobook of Ross’ new release, I jumped at the chance.
The Search (Across The Great Divide, Book 2) is the story of William Crump (1844 -1940) as he tries to find an escape from the horrors that have haunted him since the Civil War and his appalling treatment at Camp Douglas. Will firmly believes that the peace his soul craves will be found far away from home. Once he has recovered, Will hopes that he can return to his family, pick up his life, and maybe have a family of his own one day. My heart broke for Will. He has no idea what is happening to him, and he fears that he could accidentally hurt someone he loved when the terrors engulfed him. Having no notion of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and mental health conditions brought on by trauma, it must have been absolutely terrifying for the soldiers coming home from war. Will bravely struggles through the endless nightmares and is determined to find himself in the wilderness somehow. Unfortunately, fate is not finished with him yet, and he is reluctantly drawn back into a war where the enemy does not even understand, let adhere to, the rules of war.
Will was a character that certainly captured my attention. The struggles that he faces, the vivid flashback and the fear that he is losing his mind came across very realistically. I could emphasize with his suffering, and he commanded my respect because of his dogged determination not to give in and not to give up. When he saves Dove, a young woman from the Shoshone tribe, from a bear (and, unknowingly from a now dead Cheyenne brave), Will unconsciously begins a journey towards his own recovery.
Will and Dove’s relationship undoubtedly drove the narrative of this novel. Dove’s determination to return to her people is tempered only by her desperate desire to stay by Will’s side. This moving romance reduced me to tears. Their innocence, their hope, and their dreams that somehow, amongst the madness happening around them, that they could build a future together was heartrendingly beautiful.
The historical backdrop of this story is staggering in its accuracy. Ross has captured not only the history but also the wildness of the frontier. Reading this book was a little like watching the movie adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans. It is an exceptionally drawn backdrop.
As I listened to the audio version, I think it is important to say something about the narration. I do not think Ross could have chosen a better narrator for this story than Joshua Young. The narrator really did bring this novel to life.
The Search is a must-read for anyone who enjoys American historical fiction. Dear Reader, even if you are not a fan of American historical fiction, I urge you to add this book to your collection. I promise that you will not be disappointed. If I could give this book higher than a five-star rating, I would.
Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osbourne : Review
I immensely enjoyed this novel, even though I’ve not read the first one in the series (something I’m going to have to remedy). As an author of historical fiction set around the American Civil War as well, I fully appreciated the discussion of how early PTSD in soldiers was treated, and how the men suffering often had to cope by simply escaping. I loved Dove’s character, and felt she was a necessary part of Will’s journey, as well as providing pertinent parallels to modern day prejudices. I look forward to reading more by Michael Ross!
Interview with Michael L. Ross
Historical Fiction Book Club Editorial Review
The Historical Fiction Company: The Search Editorial Review
Book Two of ‘Across the Great Divide’ – ‘The Search’ by Michael Ross finds the main protagonist, Will Crump, moving west and away from his family and all that he once knew. Crump is escaping from the horrors of the American Civil War, he is a deeply troubled and embittered man. A former serving Confederate soldier, he is seeking to forget the horrors of the Civil War and the brutality of a Union prisoner of War camp. He has lost his family, his home, his friends. His is a classic case of war trauma with all the classic symptoms and the reader’s attention needs to be drawn to Ross’s first book in the series, outlining and describing his wartime experiences and divided loyalties.
So Will is moving west, away from his past and in search of peace. He hopes to find an untroubled place of peace that he can call his own and where he can perhaps find his God once more. It is a classic set of what must have been very common motives for making such a perilous move. It is in the face of illness and uncertainty and of a vast unknown country [readers will be grateful to the author for providing a map] and of restless and justifiably hostile North American Indians. This is very much the backdrop of his journey and, indeed, the book as a whole. In it are reflected the prejudices and the racial intolerance of the colonists of the time; the widespread seizure of Indian lands, the broken treaties and the ensuing massacres and attempted systematic genocide of entire peoples and outbreaks of fatal diseases for which there were no immunities amongst the native Indian populations. As the book begins, two events are very fresh in the memory, the massacres of Sand Creek and, in 1863, the massacre at Bear Creek [ in modern day Idaho]. This latter event proves to be of particular significance to Will, as the victims were of the Shoshone people and he is to become very closely linked to them in many significant ways.
Into lands held sacred by the Shoshone, the Sioux, the Cheyenne and the Arapaho comes a flood of eager and expectant migrants; with the army present to protect them and to build forts and outposts as they inexorably move west. Will Crump prudently seeks refuge within the army as a sharpshooter, a skill from his Confederate past, and meets an invaluable friend and ally in the legendary Jim Bridger. Early on he also becomes involved with a young woman. This is Dove. She is of the Shoshone people, her Uncle is Chief, separated from them by circumstance. Having first rescued her, Will becomes determined to bring her safely home to her people. In doing so he falls in love with her and is struck and moved by her own beliefs and the sheer force of her determination and abilities, as he himself challenges and rediscovers his lost faith. In taking this decision, they both become irrevocably caught up in the trauma and the perils of the time.
The whole novel is both fast-paced and gripping. Ross takes the reader on a breathless journey into the west of the times, the narrative is truly action-packed. Along the way we are given insights into army procedure of the time and matters of military protocol. Ross is particularly illuminating on the subject of the habits and practices of the native peoples. We learn, for example, of the Shoshone Creation myth, of why and how the constellations are placed where they are and other matters regarding belief, religion and religious practice, as Crump seeks parallels in his old and battered Bible that he carries with him everywhere, We learn of the hierarchies of each group and, importantly the relation of one in relation to the other with regards to loyalty and enmity, a subject upon which the old scout, Jim Bridger, is eminently qualified to offer advice when it is accepted.
This book is a must for all fans and true devotees of the genre. All the necessary boxes are ticked here, and a wealth of knowledge of time and place besides. Michael Ross is clearly a master of his subject and reveals and displays a deep knowledge and profound natural feel for the time and place. For those new to the subject, this provides a valuable and sturdily constructed launching platform for their own researches and discoveries. There are of course plenty of westerns, past and present, available on the market. The world is awash with the subject of the Western, on film, in television serials, and in book form. Followers of Michael Ross’s work will already be fully aware of the quality and sheer ‘readability’ of his work. This is the ideal opportunity for the old hand to renew the relationship and for those new to the subject area and seeking to refine the search even closer to select the work of a proven master of the form. The uncertain reader, wavering in making a choice, is in safe hands here.
“The Search” by Michael Ross is awarded four stars by The Historical Fiction Company