Fields of Pain

Cotton Field to Battlefield

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
369 Pages
Reviewed on 04/30/2023
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Author Biography

Born in Morecambe, England, into a military family, Nigel Seed grew up hearing his father’s tales of adventure during the Second World War which kindled his interest in military history and storytelling. He received a patchy education, as he and his family followed service postings from one base to another. Perhaps this and the need to constantly change schools contributed to his odd ability to link unconnected facts and events to weave his stories. Nigel later joined the Army, serving with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in many parts of the world. Upon leaving he joined the Ministry of Defence. He is married and lives in Spain; half way up a mountain with views across orange groves to the Mediterranean. The warmer weather helps him to cope with frostbite injuries he sustained in Canada, when taking part in the rescue effort for a downed helicopter on a frozen lake.
His books are inspired by places he has been to and true events he has either experienced or heard about on his travels. He makes a point of including family jokes and stories in his books to raise a secret smile or two. Family dogs make appearances in his other stories.
Nigel’s hobbies include sailing and when sailing in Baltic he first heard the legend of the hidden U-Boat base that formed the basis of his first book some thirty eight years later.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Fields of Pain by Nigel Seed is about a runaway slave and his experiences in mid-19th century America. Set against the American Civil War, the book follows Silas Carter, a black man forced to work in servitude by a cruel plantation owner in Virginia. Desperate for freedom, Silas flees his captors when he finally gets the opportunity and rides the Underground Railroad with slave catchers on his trail. With the help of a kind-hearted Quaker gentleman and a brave woman named Harriet Tubman, Silas and his friend Jackson Strong arrive in Pennsylvania and acquire documented Canadian citizenship. But the advent of the Civil War lays all their plans to waste, and Silas and Jackson find themselves driving wagons for the Union Army. Silas eventually joins the 136th Regiment, rising through the ranks to fight for justice and freedom.

Nigel Seed paints an unflinchingly gritty and realistic portrait of slavery and war. Fields of Pain is a book that showcases the resilience and courage displayed by people who fell into the clutches of slavery and were forced to fight for their freedom and dignity. The narrative also touches upon the brave acts of self-sacrifice and altruism shown by people who helped escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad. Seed places readers in a setting surrounded by actual historical events and personalities seamlessly woven into the narrative. Each character is fleshed-out and grounded, with believable struggles and conflicts that make them feel real. If you're into military or historical fiction, this is the perfect book for you.

Asher Syed

Fields of Pain: Cotton Field to Battlefield by Nigel Seed is set in the Antebellum South and revolves around its protagonist, a black American slave named Silas Carter. Silas escapes from the plantation where he was enslaved and joins the tens of thousands of slaves who made their way north to Canada along the freedom trail of the Underground Railroad. The journey is fraught with danger but most slaves who decide to pursue it knew this danger was no more threatening than the barbarism of plantation life. Silas meets many people along the way, including recognizable figures, and experiences moments in history, and once he has found his freedom, he joins the Union army to fight for those who remain enslaved.

Reading stories about 19th-century American slavery is never a comfortable task. As a man of color with little history not documented by white men, it is especially difficult. I felt the way Nigel Seed presented Silas in Fields of Pain respected this to a degree and this is probably one of the few times where a character written without palpable emotion worked in its favor. This is a Point-A to Point-B style of writing that is very simple and makes the story easy to follow. I enjoyed the rise of Silas, and even if a protracted suspension of disbelief is required, his evolution from slave to warrior, to a man who commands authority and can achieve retribution, is satisfying.