To Try Men’s Souls by former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and William R. Forstchen The latest in a series of alternate histories penned by the two authors, “To Try Men’s Souls” details Washington’s crossing of the Delaware and Thomas Paine’s writing “The American Crisis.” Gingrich and Forstchen have also written several historical novels depicting the Civil War era and the attack on Pearl Harbor, and they will soon release another about Valley Forge. The thoroughly researched books have done well on the New York Times best-seller list.
“A man stepped forward, pointing to his bare, bloody feet, features red as he cursed a Congress that could not even provide shoes as he fought, while they huddled warm and fat in Philadelphia. [Washington] looked down at the man, unable to speak, for so many of them were barefoot, and money which had been promised them and shoes that any soldier had the right to expect, had never appeared. They were sick of it, exhausted, dying. The war was lost. They were going home.”
Easy Pickin’s by former Sen. Fred Harris (D-Okla.) This Western thriller follows Okie Dunn, a boxer-turned-law student and the new sheriff in Cash County. He’s got a lot on his plate when three strangers turn up looking for an heiress and a body suddenly falls from the sky into an oat field near town. As he follows the clues, Okie finds himself closer and closer to a dangerous enemy.
“She stepped carefully past the tips of my black cowboy boots and sat down on the bed, facing me, making the springs squeak. Our knees were almost touching. She lifted her glass toward me. ‘Well, here’s to motherhood,’ she said.
We drank. The sweet brown mixture gave me little, sickening chills. My experience had been that if you ever woke up with a hangover from whiskey and Coca-Cola, it made you want to swear off and take the cure.”
Vale of Tears by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) King’s third book follows fictional Congressman Sean Cross, whose experience is loosely based on the author’s. In the book, even chapters look back to Sept. 11, 2001, and odd chapters detail a future terrorist attack in which al-Qaida attacks trains, joining with rogue elements of the Irish Republican Army, a group King himself has supported. The Congressman’s counterpart saves the day by persuading reluctant witnesses to help him solve the book’s mysteries.
“The conversation in the bus was still solemn, very similar, it seemed, to the expressions of the New Yorkers walking the streets — somber but undaunted. But there was nothing at all somber about the scene along West Street as the bus — now going south — approached the vicinity of Ground Zero.
Hundreds of people lined the streets cheering, waving American flags and holding up signs, thanking and encouraging the rescue workers who’d come from all over the region and country to do what they could. The windows of the bus were shut tight, but its passengers could clearly hear the crowd’s defiant cheers of USA! USA!”