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If God Will Spare My Life

(5 customer reviews)

£10.00

Pre-Order for June 2021

Pembrokeshire, West Wales 1904: Solicitor Arthur Nicholas seeks one William Batine James, heir to a Fishguard farm. He discovers James emigrated to Canada in 1871 and enlisted in the US Seventh Cavalry at Chicago, but the trail goes cold. Arthur knows 210 soldiers of the Seventh were massacred by thousands of Native Americans at Little Bighorn – Custer’s Last Stand – in 1876. Was James among them?

Description

Pre-Order for June 2021

Pembrokeshire, West Wales 1904: Solicitor Arthur Nicholas seeks one William Batine James, heir to a Fishguard farm. He discovers James emigrated to Canada in 1871 and enlisted in the US Seventh Cavalry at Chicago, but the trail goes cold. Arthur knows 210 soldiers of the Seventh were massacred by thousands of Native Americans at Little Bighorn – Custer’s Last Stand – in 1876. Was James among them?
Based on true events, Mike Lewis’s debut novel reveals the lingering curse of a brutal schooling during the ‘Welsh Not’ era when children were punished for speaking their native tongue. As the unsuspecting Seventh head towards their Armageddon, James – plagued by dark forebodings and nightmares –reflects on his troubled past and lost love and ponders desertion after coming to realise he is as
much a fugitive as the Native Americans he is pursuing.

But the one thing a man can never escape is himself…

Additional information

Weight 400 g
Dimensions 130 × 190 cm

The Author

Mike Lewis hails from the former fishing village of Aberporth, West Wales, where his family have farmed for generations. Having joined a local newspaper straight from school, he proceeded to work as a writer and sub-editor
on a number of national titles in London, including “The Guardian” and “The Daily and Sunday Telegraphs”. A lifelong rock and pop music fan, in the 1990s he co-authored biographies on Scott Walker and Syd Barrett, of Pink Floyd. Mike later worked as “The Sunday Telegraph” boxing correspondent, covering the Beijing Olympic Games of 2008. Having returned to his native West Wales to raise a family, he stumbled across the story of William James, the West Wales farmer’s son who emigrated to the United States and joined the US Seventh Cavalry, while working for the “Fishguard County Echo”. Mike subsequently found previously-undiscovered letters James had sent back to his younger brother from America which form the framework of If God Will Spare My Life… A father-of-five, married to Sue, Mike combines his writing career with helping to run Cardigan Amateur Boxing Club.

5 reviews for If God Will Spare My Life

  1. Catherine Thomas

    Tasked with finding the heir to a farm in West Wales, a young solicitor tracks the trail of William B. James, the possible beneficiary.
    “If God Will Spare My Life “is a readable, energetic and well researched story taking us from Victorian rural West Wales to the prairies of North America and the U.S. Cavalry.
    Although based on facts, this is a work of fiction, nevertheless there is an authenticity and authority to be found in the vivid descriptions contained within this thoroughly well researched novel. I loved this book.

  2. Sue L

    What drove a young Welshman to leave his rural home and head west across the Atlantic? Will James was looking for an elusive better life that ended on one of the bloodiest battlefields of American history. If God Will Spare My Life is based on a true story that has been extensively researched and re-imagined by journalist and author Mike Lewis. Taking authentic newly discovered letters as his starting point, Lewis’s well written and descriptive tale follows James from the rolling hills of Pembrokeshire to the broiling Montana prairie. An imaginative, colourful tale that poses questions which have no answers.

  3. Joe Watkinson

    I remember watching this story on Welsh news when it was revealed that a sole Welshman from West Wales had served under Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn. My first initial thought (and many others who watched the news I would imagine) was ‘I wonder what’s his story?’. Indeed how does a man from a rural farmstead back in a time when many didn’t leave a county, end up on the other side of the world deep in Indian Country?

    For me a historical fiction novel deserves 5 stars if I feel it leaves me with the impression that this is what actually happened. I truly felt I was with William James as he makes real human decisions that take him on a gradual path to Little Bighorn. The author is incredibly learned of the events, equipment and people of the time. The battle finale itself is for me as hard hitting, raw and just plain good as any other account you can hope to find in any Custer book.
    The real deal sealer for me though is that reading this I felt it to be an important book. The Custer story has been well covered but the men who served are rarely given much study. Many books merely use the “running from past troubles” line as a generic backstory of a wide range of these cavalry men, never really going into the depth of the choices these men faced in this time. This book really opens light on these people, these real people. There are books on Custer that are written with more finesse and pacing but this stands alone as one on its own and ironically, by that mark, it can rightly regard itself as the perfect reflection of William James himself. This is a book that the Custer story didn’t ask for, but needed to be told.

  4. Valeriia Smirniagina

    I read this book after my partner had finished with it just for something to read. I was expecting a detective novel but this book was so much more than that! Sometimes the way they speak is a little hard going (it’s like they have rocks in their mouth!) but I found myself growing attached to the characters and I’ve spent quite a few hours looking up on Custer and his men just to find out more about them. After doing so I have been flicking back to the book to cross check and I have to say I wish I knew more of the subject the first go around to truly appreciate the author’s attention to detail. I won’t spoil the ending (which directly caused my internet binge) but detective noir it certainly isn’t!

  5. Valeriia Smirniagina

    I read this book after my partner had finished with it just for something to read. I was expecting a detective novel but this book was so much more than that! Sometimes the way they speak is a little hard going (it’s like they have rocks in their mouth!) but I found myself growing attached to the characters and I’ve spent quite a few hours looking up on Custer and his men just to find out more about them. After doing so I have been flicking back to the book to cross check and I have to say I wish I knew more of the subject the first go around to truly appreciate the author’s attention to detail. I won’t spoil the ending (which directly caused my internet binge) but detective noir it certainly isn’t!

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