Publisher: Fireship Press (September 15, 2016)
Set in the turbulent times of the War of Independence, ‘The Long Way Home’ follows the lives of Thomas Peters and Murphy Steele who are friends, former slaves, fellows-in-arms and leaders of the Black Brigade. Their real-life story is an epic adventure tale as they battle bounty hunters, racism, poverty and epidemic in their adopted country after the war.
‘The Long Way Home’ has resonated with readers around the world as an unforgettable account of courage, hope and determination triumphing over despair and injustice. Thomas Peters, thoughtful and charismatic, and Murphy Steele, strong and impulsive, lead their followers on an inspirational search for a place where they can be free.
“The author has written about such a sensitive topic and in a very beautiful way. The reader will become immersed in a reality that may seem too distant, but written in a language that conjures very vivid images, a tale that will speak to the hearts of readers with eloquence. Bannister has successfully combined historical facts with glowing imagination to deliver a masterpiece that will be well received by lovers of historical fiction. His language succinctly portrays the world of a slave and the injustices prevalent in that world.”–Romuald Dzemo, author of Courage To Embrace Yourself and You Can’t Be A Failure
“Kevin Bannister’s Long Way Home is a novel that grabs your attention from the start and keeps you riveted to the last word. . It is written around an era where the life of an Indigenous North American, and a person of African roots, were deemed by Caucasians to be easily expendable and not a thing to trouble a conscience. It highlights in great detail the fact that when greed and self interest came to the forefront during the American Revolution that Caucasian brothers had no compulsion about inflicting unspeakable barbarities upon each other. An unforgettable read!”–Dr. Daniel N. Paul, C.M., O.N.S., LLD, DLIT, Mi’kmaw eldering, author of We Were Not The Savages, Order of Canada recipient, journalist and lecturer, www.danielpaul.com
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Thomas and Murphy are slaves toiling away on a southern farm in the late 1700's. Both want something more of their lives and itch for freedom. However, they have vastly different personalities. Thomas is mature, patient and a long-term thinker. He was from a ruling family in his former land and held slaves of his own. Murphy was born in the New World and is quick to act, ferociously strong and lives in the moment. Together, they try several times to escape their bonds and fail. That is, until unrest erupts between the colonists and the British. and the British declare that any slave that can make it to British property is free. Thomas and Murphy make it to a British ship and join up. They make a ferocious team and move up through the ranks. When the war is over, the British promised their soldiers benefits, but the former slaves still seem to get the short end of the stick.
This is an inspiring story of courage, determination and perseverance. I was immediately intrigued by Thomas and Murphy's characters as well as the setting. I have not read much at all about slavery before or during the War of Independence and have not read anything about the runaway slaves who fought for the British during the War. The unique characters shed a different light on slaves for the time period; both men were educated and Thomas came from a family that had owned slaves, which gave him a shifting outlook on life. I enjoyed learning about the real regiment that Thomas and Murphy originally joined, Lord Dunmore's Ethiopian Regiment, I had no idea that so many former slaves fought in the war of independence and had a major impact for the British. The men's outlook on life was what impressed me the most, the entire story encompasses the struggle for freedom; even when Thomas and Murphy were fighting for the British, they knew that no matter what side won, they might still be slaves in the end, but, they were willing since it meant they were fighting as free men. This also showed their willingness and inspiration, Thomas and Murphy knew they were fighting for the future; even if they still ended up slaves, their actions now might make things better for future generations. The writing presented an honest, gritty and realistic image and war and what people went through. These men did not have easy lives, from slavery, to war and even after, when they were promised land in Canada. the realities of Thomas and Murphy's struggles and hopes are presented sensibly. Overall, an eye-opening read about two amazing men during the War of Independence.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Kevin Bannister is a rancher and writer living in the beautiful foothills of central Alberta. He would like Thomas Peters and Murphy Steele to be celebrated as the heroes that they were in their lifetimes and to be inspirations to young people everywhere to persevere in the face of bigotry, poverty, government indifference or any other adversity.
Connect with Kevin on Goodreads.