Item description for The Dark and Bloody Ground by Roberta Webb...
Overview Populated with colorful characters, this sweeping saga of Kentucky history from early pioneer days to the mid 1900s follows five generations who strive to create a paradise in the Big Sandy Valley that had been heralded as the world's greatest, raw resources area.
Publishers Description A sweeping saga of Kentucky history from early pioneer days to the mid 1900s, The Dark and Bloody Ground is the story of five generations who strive to create a paradise in the Big Sandy Valley that had been heralded as the world's greatest, raw resource area. The Edwards family loses two sons to the civil war and their beautiful daughter, Amy to Levi Cantrell, a rogue, philanderer and bootlegger. Levi creates a moonshine dynasty in a well-hidden, splendorous cave while two revenue agents mysteriously die in the vicinity. Levi and Amy's second son, Ben, is Levi's secret weapon, and they keep the secret even from Ben himself. In 1911, eastern moguls sweep into the isolated area to mine a mammoth coalfield and bring with them a modern town that threatens Levi's kingdom. Prohibition arrives and so does Judge Wesley Adams, a man attempting to atone for his one errant act of madness. Adams raises the ire of revenue agents when he becomes friends with Ben Cantrell. Ben's son, Thomas, inherits his father's unique gift and survives World War II because of it.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5" Weight: 1.1 lbs.
Release Date Oct 15, 2005
Publisher TurnKey Press
ISBN 1933538082 ISBN13 9781933538082
Reviews - What do customers think about The Dark and Bloody Ground?
I enjoyed the read very much. Happy to recommend. Jul 12, 2008
The story opens with a melancholic appeal, -Please don't go, Morgan-.
The year was 1840, Morgan Collier was resolute; he and his family were leaving at daybreak for the trek into southeastern Kentucky.
From that beginning we journey with the Collier family as they enter the expedition leading to the place where they will reside in the natural beauty of an area filled with vitality, liveliness and splendor.
On the pages of her first work of fiction Author Webb has fashioned a charming work of historical fiction. The Dark And Bloody Ground is overflowing with profusely detailed characters who refuse to accept hindrances. The perfect example of Kentucky strength is portrayed eloquently, devoid of pretense.
Morgan Collier's father John was working as blacksmith apprentice in England before his arrival to Boston in the early 1800s. He soon established himself as a master craftsman. It was Boston where he met and married his wife, Ingrid Thorsen. Soon the pair journeyed to Ohio where they settled down, built a home and raised their family.
Ingrid was overcome with a sense of premonition, she was certain that she would never see her beloved son again.
1828 had found eighteen year old Morgan marrying his sixteen year old neighbor Liddy Kreiger. Now, a dozen years later, Morgan was all set to set out with his wife and three young daughters ages seven, nine and ten for the wild, untamed Kentucky mountains, friend Calvin Kelly, the Collier's most frequent and value customer during the years of 1805 - 1807 had talked of during his visits to Ohio.
Set in Kentucky, The Dark And Bloody Ground is a history of five generations of one family. Writer Webb proves her talent as she illustrates the assorted characters, manages to keep them in line as she intertwines through time and generation and adroitly creates a plot that is fascinating, motivating, and furthers reader concentration through clashes, prohibition and bootlegging, the dreadfulness of the war between the state, and later world wars, births of children and deaths of fathers and sons and the myriad episodes of life that strengthened them as the generations continue. Coal mining and the rigors the family tolerates in a potent and evolving land are all part of the tale.
Much of the work relates how the family adjusts to mountain living in the wilds of unfamiliar land. The day by day struggles the family meet focus the narrative and move the chronicle forward. Morgan's daughter, Sarah, marries the son of one of the family's neighbors.
From that point; a great deal of the sequence of events focuses on this particular pair, their four sons and one daughter, Amy. Amy in turn marries the son of another neighbor, and the couple produces seven sons. Amy's husband, Levi, launches a successful moonshine production, which thrives during nationwide prohibition, foils all revenue agent endeavors and leaves the family very wealthy. The account follows Levi's whole family, while remaining focused on Ben, his wife and their family.
Learning to acclimatize to the natural untamed surroundings facing accomplishment involving elemental and human enemies, and the power of familial bond all continue the fast pace narrative onward. Morgan's heritage is secured when his daughter Sarah gives birth to her own daughter. Amy will be the mother of Ben Cantrell, Morgan's progeny, and grandmother of Thomas, Ben's son.
In due course, the all-embracing record of Kentucky record from early pioneer days to the mid 1900s, The Dark and Bloody Ground is the account of five generations who go all-out to build a paradise in the Big Sandy Valley. The Dark And Bloody Ground offers a wide-ranging account of Kentucky all the way through the mid-twentieth century from the pen of a gifted Kentucky native. I enjoyed the read very much. Happy to recommend.
Molly Martin Reviewer
Appalachia: A tale of mountains, moonshine and misery Sep 22, 2006
Reviewed by Lynn O'Connell for Reader Views (9/06)
Five generations of Kentuckians, their culture and thoughts on the times, are vividly explored in this 381-page work of historical fiction. The novel opens as Morgan Collier's mother entreats him to not leave home. Yet, living in a town in Ohio, Morgan has been fascinated by Kentucky and the tales of its abundance of land and wildlife since he was a small boy. Finally, in 1840, Morgan and his wife, Liddy, with their children, head to Kentucky.
The following chapters detail how the family adapts to mountain life in the wilderness and all the daily struggles the family encounters. Morgan's daughter, Sarah, marries the son of the family's neighbor. Much of the novel focuses on this couple and their four sons and one daughter, Amy. Amy marries the son of a neighbor, and the couple has seven sons. Her husband, Levi, establishes a booming moonshine business, which thrives during prohibition and thwarts all revenue agents. The story follows Levi's entire family, although focusing on Ben and then his wife and family. Ultimately, the book provides a detailed history of Kentucky through the mid-twentieth century.
There are two sub-plots of the book that add to the book's appeal. First, fourth-generation Ben has a special gift - the eyes of a cat. His mother had a near miss with a panther while she was pregnant, and Ben inherits the panther's eyes which also give him the cat's "nine lives" -- and the ability to survive. One of Ben's sons inherits this special gift as well. Second, Judge Wesley Adams, a friend of Ben's, spends his life dreading the curse that was placed on him as a young man by Lettie Mullins. As Wesley was acquitted for killing her son, Lettie screams in the courtroom: "I curse you, Wesley Adams, and I witch you. You will live to see any son you have dead at your feet." Wesley has three sons.....
Author Roberta Webb is able to draw the reader in with her detailed descriptions of many of the characters - including Amy and Wesley. It is also noticeable how the plot flows smoothly and all-encompassing, leaving no loose ends. The title of the book itself comes from the phrase which was used to describe Kentucky originally because it was a battleground for the different Indian tribes. A native-born Kentuckian, Webb provides detailed descriptions of the timber, mining and moonshine industries in Kentucky. She also touches on the struggle that has always existed in the state: economic advancement versus protection of resources.
The novel is a pleasant and relatively quick read for anyone who enjoys generational sagas. Keep reading, the ending will answer your questions and leave you with a smile on your face.
The Dark and Bloody Ground: Where cat's eyes can see best Mar 8, 2006
Hailing from Jenkins in Southeastern Kentucky, Roberta Webb worked as a psychiatric nursing supervisor, continued her nursing at the University of Virginia, and worked for a short time on the first atomic bomb as a minute technician. Now, living in Texas, she has embarked on a writing career with her debut novel The Dark and Bloody Ground (TurnKey Press, Texas, 2006), a historical saga of a Kentucky family through its five generations.
The story starts with Morgan Collier's irresistible fascination with the wild highs of Kentucky. As he settles there with his family, a full-fledged adventure lived in the open ensues with all the richness of natural vitalism. Adaptation to the wild, action against enemies both natural and human, and the harmony of love and force all constitute the history of life lived in and with the wild. Morgan's progeny is fostered ahead in his daughter Sarah giving birth to Amy, she in turn becoming the mother of Ben Cantrell and the grandmother of Ben's son Thomas. Zooming in on characters across generations, the author skillfully pilots an omniscient voice.
Webb's experience of history contributes immensely to the realism of her novel's story: the Bessemer's Process for purifying steel, the Yamaha Pianos of the Japanese, details of mining and construction, and the craft of winemaking make an imagery of high appeal to evocation. Kentucky is slowly unmasked as the `dark and bloody ground' where a wild innocence sheltered its inhabitants as early as 1840 until the arrival of investment for mining and Levi Cantrell's obsession with making money and until after the Second World War. With the advent of capital and people, Levi's lust for wealth drags him into bootlegging, and murder while the town is ravaged by competitiveness, theft, and worthlessness of man. The care for one's family falls servile before satiating the masses' craving for moonshine. The cracks widen and the Cantrell family is torn between losing their blood to war and keeping their faith in Mother Nature. A plot of its kind!
To involve the reader head over heels, Webb hooks the reader up on the supernatural trait of Ben Cantrell and his son Thomas. Both have got cat eyes, and in the words of Levi Cantrell `...cats have nine lives.' Webb's symbolism certainly conveys the power of nature in human life. To side with the wild is to survive in the eternally fierce world no matter what form wildness assumes. And hence we find Thomas Cantrell breathing his life while his peers enter their graves. Crueler is the case of Wesley Adams who is on a curse by Lettie Mullins, whose son he killed, that haunts her mind as he fears for the lives of his own sons.
The Dark and Bloody Ground is tout in its plot. It outstrips tautology except in the reminders that the old mountain people still looked healthy and beautiful despite their age. A couple of chapters are overly descriptive, exceeding plot and character, and zooming in on labor employed to urbanize Kentucky. But most of the 24 chapters are beautifully written. And at the end of the book you cannot help asking, with a sigh, Sarah Collier's question, `How could a place so beautiful witness so many tragedies?'
From An Author's Heart! Jan 20, 2006
I believe you can tell when an author's heart is in their work, and so is the case with author Roberta Webb and her creation, " The Dark And Bloody Ground." This story set in Kentucky is one of family, spanning five generations and the saga of their lives. The author does an outstanding job of describing locals and characters, keeping them well in line as she moves through time, and craftily weaves them into a perfect flow of storyline, from one generation to the next, one event to another. You are taken through wars, bootlegging, coal mining and all the birth pains that this family endures in this raw and growing land and in their growing family in the passing of life.This work is the story of a part of America, it is the story of an American family, their struggles, victories and losses; it is a story of battling the land, the times, it is one of love and life. It will grab your attention and your heart. Very well done. Shirley Johnson Senior Reviewer MidWest Book Review
Solid praise for "The Dark and Bloody Ground" Jan 12, 2006
Roberta Webb has produced a fine piece of historical fiction in her first novel. "The Dark and Bloody Ground" has richly developed characters who struggle with the obstacles of their era. Ms. Webb captured the essence of the spirit of the people of Kentucky; allowing the reader a glimpse without the usual cliches. The novel is well researched with an overview of the history and resources of the area, but is especially informative with regard to the mining industry. Find a comfortable chair in a cozy corner and be prepared to read cover to cover! You won't want to put it down.