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True-to-Life Spies Threaten Union Cause in Civil War Novel

Moving Train Books

A new historical novel features a murder mystery in the midst of the Civil War.

The spring of 1862 marked a ratcheting of Civil War tensions between the Union capitol, Washington DC and the Confederate seat of power in Richmond, Virginia, helped in no small part by their relative proximity.

Union Gen. George McClellan would make an attempt to capture the Confederate government and army base during his springtime Peninsula Campaign. It would end in failure by July after a string of six fierce and bloody fights known as the Seven Days Battle. McClellan's inability to take Richmond in this campaign allowed the war to continue for years.

These events preceded one of the most memorable showdowns of the early Civil War – the Second Battle of Bull Run – on this date in 1862, where Wisconsin soldiers fought bravely.

All the while this campaign was going on, real life spies from both the North and the South were doing their parts to aid their causes and thwart the efforts of their opponents.

A new historical novel tells the tale of one of these subversive plots - one that could change the tide of the war. It's up to a young Union artillery lieutenant named Benjamin Eaton and grizzled New York journalist Sanford Ellis to stop it.

Richmond's Bloody Road is written by Milwaukee author Thomas Martin Saturday, or as Lake Effect listeners might know him, Thomas Martin Sobottke - the voice of our Civil War Series.

Sobottke says though he turned to fiction, he's remained true to history.

"It's taking what really was the case and just turning it up just that one little slight notch, than what historically was true, it's real close to what could have happened," he says.

This is the first book in the Ellis-Eaton series, published by Moving Train Books. The second book, The Lamentations of Uriah, will be published late this fall.