Blood Lines

The Gauntlet Runner - Book IV

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
400 Pages
Reviewed on 09/26/2014
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite

I have been anxiously awaiting this book because the last book left me needing to know the fate of Maggie Murray. Blood Lines, the latest installment in S. Thomas Bailey’s Gauntlet Runner Series, certainly didn't disappoint. I found myself drawn right back into the danger and drama taking place where the last book left off. Even though Maggie is a captive of the Delaware Indians, she never lets her guard down and is always looking for her next chance to escape. Meanwhile, Jacob feels the guilt of not being there to protect his wife when the fort was raided. He will do whatever it takes to get her back, whether his men decide to follow him or not. As he tracks her, he learns that his trek will take him into unknown territory. With danger at every twist on the trail, along with the approaching winter, one is left wondering whether the Murray family will ever be reunited.

Blood Lines, the fourth book in the Gauntlet Runner series by S. Thomas Bailey, is very well researched. Mr. Bailey has a knack for blending just the right amount of detail and action, along with the characters’ personal insight and feelings, to provide for a page turning read. The day to day stress that the characters feel permeates the pages, making me feel on guard just as the characters do, wondering what might lurk around the next bend in the trail. I always find myself caught up in the drama that plays out as Jacob faces the next enemy, or the determination that Maggie always feels to survive. I love that Mr. Bailey makes Maggie such a strong character, being resourceful, able to survive independently, but he also allows the reader to feel her longing of wanting to be with her family. Mr. Bailey actually does an outstanding job of capturing the emotions and feelings of Jacob as well, enabling me to visualise him as a real man with doubts and fears. It's the emotional insight into his characters that makes this entire series shine. Vivid descriptions allow the various scenes of the story to literally jump from the pages, from a pox-ridden Indian village to the arduous trek that the characters make through the vast wilderness - it is so easy to be drawn into each scene because of the descriptive writing. A story that effortlessly transports the reader back in time, making them feel as if they are stepping right into frontier life and the dangers that it entails.

Even though Blood Lines is a work of fiction, Mr. Bailey knows how to bring history alive with smooth, easy to read writing. He makes this time period interesting and actually reading this series has rekindled my interest in this important time in our country’s history. On a scale of one to five, this entire series deserves a six because it's just that good.

Kristie Ingerto

Blood Lines, the fourth book in S. Thomas Bailey’s Gauntlet Runner Series, brings the reader back into Jacob’s and Maggie’s lives in colonial America, a couple separated in the midst of battles in their land. Jacob is fighting along with the colonial militia and is trying to do his part to have America settled and a peaceful place for him and his family to live. Maggie is being held captive by the Delaware and is dreaming of her home and her life with Jacob. Maggie cannot trust the ones who are supposedly trying to take care of things and get the land settled and safe. As they all travel throughout the land, battles are fought, lives are taken, and yet hope must remain in their hearts that this will all be over soon and they can return home.

S. Thomas Bailey is a gifted storyteller as he brings both history and the characters to life in Blood Lines. Blood Lines is the continuation of a story that began three books earlier of a young couple living in colonial America and the trials they face as the British control does not seem to be panning out and there are issues between the various groups of people. I love the maps and timelines that the author includes as it really helps me to visualize exactly where Jacob and Maggie are and where the story is taking place. Also, the timeline at the end will be a great thing to look back over before reading the next book in this series to trigger my memory as far as the events of this book and where it left off.

This is excellent historical fiction as the events are well-depicted and the characters are so real. Emotions run high in this story, making the characters just come to life. I do not want to give away the ending, but I have to say that I love how this book ends and am looking forward to what is going to happen to Jacob and Maggie in the next book!

Trudi LoPreto

Blood Lines: The Gauntlet Runner Book IV by S. Thomas Bailey is a fantastic book. I was taken back to 1756, with my old friends, Jacob Murray and his wife Maggie. The French and Indian War is in full swing and the fighting is fierce. Maggie was taken captive by the enemy and is now forced to live amongst the Indians. She has found her old friend, One Ear, and is being well looked after. Jacob is trying to find her while still being a good ranger and is fighting to save Fort William Henry and Fort Edward along the Lake George, New York Canadian border. Jacob is hungry, tired and battered, but knows he must continue and his reward will be to once again find his beloved Maggie. The fighting is hard, life is difficult and there is a lot of bloodshed, despair, hunger and sickness.

S. Thomas Bailey merges facts and fiction seamlessly and has written another perfect book. Blood Lines was hard to put down. I was drawn into the story and felt the pain, frustration and love of each character. History came alive on each and every page. Blood Lines is a must-read, even if you are not a history buff, because it is just a good, well written, strongly plotted story. This is the fourth book in the series but it stands alone very well. I cannot express strongly enough what a good book and an excellent author S. Thomas Bailey is. Blood Lines: The Gauntlet Runner Book IV is a WINNER all the way.

Anne Boling

Blood Lines – The Gauntlet Runner by author S. Thomas Bailey went beyond my expectations. This is the fourth book in this amazing series. Maggie is once again held captive; she attempts to help the other captives. Recognizing her incredible fortitude and strength, her captors release all the other prisoners but insist on taking her with them. Along their journey, she witnesses the effective of a great illness that few survive. Even in her dire plight she remains strong and continues to have faith that her husband will come to her rescue. Captain Jacob (Murray) Sims is desperate to find his wife, but battles with the French and Ottawa Indians are obstacles that have prevented him from finding her. Their son James is with him after being hostage to the savages. Jacob struggles to reconnect with his son emotionally.

Author S. Thomas Bailey transported me back in time. Through his words, I experienced the bloody battles fought by the English and Colonials against the French and Indians. I witnessed the savage treatment of captives as meted out by the Ottawa Indians. The French and Indian war was brutal. S. Thomas Bailey stays true to history in this fictional account based on fact. I have had the honor of reading and reviewing all four books in this series. I quickly became engrossed in the first book and thought it the best of the first three; however, Blood Lines is now my favorite. I was reunited with several of my favorite characters in this installment. The relationship between Maggie and One-Ear is fascinating. He treats her like a mother or older sister. Joshua is like a son to Jacob. Watching Jacob as he searched for James was heart-rending. I highly recommend this book for high school and college history classes. It will appeal to history buffs and to anyone who enjoys an excellent story.

Maria Beltran

Blood Lines, The Gauntlet Runner Book IV, by S. Thomas Bailey is a historical fiction novel set in colonial America between the years 1600 and 1775. In the autumn of 1756, Fort Stevens has been invaded by a Delaware raiding team who massacred the residents of the English barracks. They have also taken a number of men, women and children as prisoners, including Maggie. Her husband, Jacob, joined an organized colonial militia under the command of Colonel Armstrong when Fort Stevens fell. For Maggie, her husband Jacob, and their son James, family ties will drive them to do courageous acts and into treacherous unknown territories in a cold winter season. And as colonial America is left at the mercy of a cruel war, Maggie, Jacob and James’ lives are left in tatters. Will they be able to pick up the pieces again?

Written by award winning author S. Thomas Bailey, Blood Lines is the fourth book in the Gauntlet Runner series. As in the previous books in the popular series, Blood Lines carries its readers back to colonial America at the height of the French and Indian War. As we follow Maggie’s fate as a prisoner of war, her reunion with Anne and fateful meeting with One Ear, we seem to experience with her a tumultuous era in America’s history, through her eyes and her heart. Stoic and courageous, Maggie goes through her ordeals without losing hope that she will one day be reunited with her family. The brilliance of S. Thomas Bailey’s writing style shines as he relates the family’s story with just the right mixture of detachment and romanticism. On top of this is his obviously strong grasp of an era that shaped the future of present day America.