Following the unexpected death of his father, reporter Calvin Hogue is eager to resume writing his weekly
serial featuring Daniel and Elijah Malburn, brothers who fought for opposing armies during the Civil War
some six decades ago.
After its resounding victory at Chickamauga and subsequent defeat at Lookout Mountain/Missionary
Ridge, the Confederate Army of Tennessee has fallen back to winter quarters at Dalton, Georgia. Spring
arrives, and with it come thousands of fresh Union troops to reinforce the armies under the command of
General William T. Sherman. Soon the Federals launch a relentless offensive against the greatly
outnumbered Confederate army, determined to take the vital railhead at Atlanta.
The Confederates make the first of many valiant stands at Resaca, but are flanked and forced to retreat
toward Atlanta. During a fierce battle near the small town of Dallas, Daniel suffers a severe head wound.
His “pards” report he’s been killed, but he comes to and is captured. Sent north to Rock Island Prison,
Daniel faces a new war—surviving the harsh conditions and cruelties to which the Southern captives are
After unwillingly leading Union forces on a raid through the Econfina Valley, the Malburns’ lifelong home,
Elijah learns the Federals’ next objective is to capture the Florida capital of Tallahassee. The
Confederates confront the invaders south of the city at Natural Bridge, and after a vicious battle win a
striking victory. Elijah survives the fight, but he’s had enough of a war he wanted no part of. With Union
forces scattering in disarray, he and beloved family slave Jefferson desert and set out for home.
The South finally surrenders, but the peace is far from won. Freed from prison, an expectant Daniel faces
an arduous, year-long trek home only to find his dreams shattered and his world forever changed.
Trouble stalks the Malburns in post-war Florida. Amid the violent days of Reconstruction, Daniel and
Elijah face continuing conflict, family turmoil and heart-wrenching tragedy as they struggle toward a hardearned and costly reconciliation.
About the Author
E. Michael Helms is a USMC combat veteran. His memoir of the Vietnam War, "The Proud Bastards," has
been called “As powerful and compelling a battlefield memoir as any ever written ... a modern military
classic,” and has been in print for most of the past 20 years.
His work has also appeared in the books: "Semper Fi: Stories of U.S. Marines from Boot Camp to Battle"
(Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2003); "Soldier’s Heart: Survivors’ Views of Combat Trauma" (The Sidran Press,
1995); and "Two Score and Ten: The Third Marine Division History" (Turner Publishing, 1992).
Book One of his two-part historical saga, "Of Blood and Brothers," was released September 2013. Book
Two followed in March 2014.
The first novel of his Mac McClellan Mystery series, "Deadly Catch," was published in November 2013
and was Library Journal's "Debut Mystery of the Month." The second Mac McClellan Mystery, "Deadly
Ruse," is scheduled for Fall 2014.
"The Private War of Corporal Henson," a semi-autobiographical fictional sequel to "The Proud Bastards,"
will be published late spring/early summer 2014.
Helms lives with his wife in the Upstate region of South Carolina in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge
Mountains, and continues to work on his mystery series.