Shades of Death

The Gauntlet Runner Book II

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
383 Pages
Reviewed on 05/02/2013
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

S. Thomas Bailey is an award winning author and independent researcher of early North American life. A raw historian at heart, and a writer by choice.
Bailey’s own sense of history is enriched by a Mi’kmaq grandfather and a family tree that can be traced back to the young surveyor, James Cook, who began his career mapping out the St. Lawrence River system during the French and Indian War.
He resides in a quiet hamlet north of Toronto, Ontario, with his wonderfully supportive wife and two amazing children. His family spends their spring and summers visiting French and Indian War sites, attending re-enactments and living history events and spreading the word about this wonderful period in North American history.
Bailey looks forward to continuing Jacob and Maggie’s story. Watch for additional novels in The Gauntlet Runner Series, coming soon.
Follow, contact or connect with S. Thomas Bailey for updates and events :

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

S. Thomas Bailey continues the saga of the Jacob Murray family in “Shades of Death: The Gauntlet Runner, Book II.” In book one we met Private Jacob Murray from Pennsylvanian and watched as he became a scout for George Washington’s Provincial Militia, in the Ohio Valley. The year was 1754 and the French were invading the English land. Twenty six year old Jacob left his wife Maggie at home to care for their four children and the farm. A raiding party of the French and Huron raided the farm taking his family captive. Jacob was determined to find his family and rescue them. “Shades of Death” picks up where Book I left off. Maggie escaped the Huron only to be sold to a French merchant. Jacob along with Joshua and One-Ear form a plan to rescue Maggie but things go terribly wrong. Maggie and One-Ear journey north toward Canada in an attempt to avoid the French; along their way they meet several tribes of Indians. Jacob is captured by the French and only with the help of Joshua does he manage to escape. Will the Murrays ever be reunited?

I had the honor of reviewing book I in this series and I was enthralled with the plot. It is a great honor to have the opportunity to now review book II. The plot is realistic and the author seems to have captured the essence of the era. The characters marched off the pages and into my heart. As I read this tale it was easy to become engaged in the action. It was like watching a play take place on the stage of my mind’s eye. “Shades of Death” is an exciting historical fiction. This book would make a great mini-series. I look forward to the next installment. Please Mr. Bailey, don’t keep me waiting.

Trudi LoPreto

"Shades of Death" is book number two in the series written by S.Thomas Bailey and can be read and enjoyed on its own merit. I do recommend that you read book number one "The Gauntlet Runner" because it too is a very good book. Jacob and Maggie Murray have been separated for about a year because of the events taking place in the French and Indian War. Jacob has been a soldier fighting and Maggie has been a prisoner of a French merchant and then a Pontiac Indian. Jacob is doing everything he can to try and find Maggie. He fights many obstacles including becoming a deserter, being taken as a prisoner of the French, escaping and re-joining the battle to fight with George Washington and British Major General Braddock. Maggie escapes from her French captors with the help of her trusted protector and friend One-Ear. They survive in the wilderness for a short while and they are happy to be friended by a tribe of New York and Canadian Indians. Unfortunately, Ottawa Chief Pontiac finds Maggie desirable and claims her for his wife and once again she is captured. Jacob and Maggie remain separated with only the dream of finding each other and their children and once again being able to live in peace.

"Shades of Death" is a great book of fiction and real events blended into a very exciting book of adventure and love. As the reader, I could feel the struggles of the characters. I was deeply involved in the pain both the white man and the Indian had to endure and I shared the agony of war and the hope of love with them on every page. I cannot wait for the next book to find out what happens next. This is a five star book. If you like historical novels that relate to the French and Indian War you will not want to pass up this incredible series.

Brenda Casto

The year is 1755 and the British and French are at war in the Pennsylvania territory, but Jacob Murray has little regard for the war because his mind is on rescuing his wife Maggie from the French merchant who purchased her. He has been traveling with One-Ear and Joshua, two young men who have saved his life more than once. When the plan fails, Jacob loses his temper and confronts the French merchant. He is captured and is now a prisoner headed for hanging. Luckily Joshua is with the group that is transporting him to Fort Duquesne. Meanwhile Maggie is headed for Canada where she has been sold as a servant. One-Ear has managed to travel with her, and plans to do whatever, even if it means his life, to keep Maggie safe for Jacob.

S.Thomas Bailey brings history to life in the pages of "Shades of Death." He makes the mid 1700's more than exciting. His storytelling had me feeling as if I had stepped back in time, experiencing the story right along with the characters. Told in alternating chapters allowing us to experience things through the eyes of Jacob and Maggie, it was so easy to imagine the situations they found themselves in, usually in danger, or fighting for survival. The plot moved along at a brisk pace, and when I started to feel comfortable with the way the story was going the author would throw in a twist that would keep me on my toes. The ending was a bit of a cliff hanger that makes me anxious to read the next book in the series! While this is the second book in the ,Gauntlet Runner series,, the author provides enough background information so that it could be read alone, although anyone who enjoys a historically accurate tale woven together with suspense, action, and adventure that will take you on an epic adventure to the days when Indians still roamed the woods will love this series. It is written in a down to earth, easy to read manner that is far from boring. Fact and fiction are woven together to make for an exciting history lesson in "Shades of Death."

Kathryn Bennett

"Shades of Death: The Gauntlet Runner Book II" by S. Thomas Bailey takes us back to Pennsylvania's wilderness. Jacob Murray has not forgotten the events of the past year and he has been lying in wait only a short distance from the French outpost. Jacob has now teamed up with the two young men who helped his wife escape from her Huron captors and keeps his eyes peeled for either Maggie or the French merchant who purchased her. The best laid plans often go awry and that happens with Jacob and Joshua when an ambush goes wrong and Jacob himself ends up as a captive of the French. Thankfully, Joshua manages to help him escape but it is not easy to live as a deserter, especially when two strong forces like the British and the French are preparing to come to blows.

S. Thomas Bailey has created an intense adventure in the wilderness at a time of war. I love a good historical fiction that takes you on an adventure and keeps its facts straight. Of course because it is a fiction there is some license with what goes on. The basics of the history are correct for the time period, including the General of the British forces. Keeping the nice clean historical facts always gets a thumbs up from me. Along with those clean facts, however, in Jacob I find a character I really like. He is a man with a mission and is doing the best he can in circumstances that are a terrible force to deal with. It makes you ask yourself the question what would you do for your family and just wanting the simple life you dream of.

Maria Beltran

The year is 1755 and war is going on between the French and English troops in Ohio Valley. This is the setting of "Shades of Death", which is the second book in a series entitled 'The Gauntlet Runner'. It tells the story of an American pioneering family caught up in the French -Anglo conflict in continental America. Jacob and Maggie Murray's family is torn apart and their farm is destroyed as Jacob joins the Virginia Militia led by George Washington. With the fierce Indian tribe, Huron, in alliance with the French, seizing land from the American frontier families, the situation seems hopeless. Maggie is taken prisoner but with the help of One Ear, a friendly Indian, she manages to escape only to face more conflicts. Meanwhile, Jacob is taken prisoner by the French and he manages to escape with the help of his young companion Joshua. Will he find his family and reunite with them again?

S. Thomas Bailey is a historical fiction writer who has a good grasp of the era he is writing about. He has an excellent descriptive style that not only makes the time and place vivid but also the characters real and alive. This is why the narrative successfully takes the reader on a journey back to the time when Indians populated America and the French and English were waging a war against each other at the expense of the American pioneering families. The format of the story is such that we follow Jacob and Joshua's adventures and intermittently, we also accompany Maggie as she is taken captive. This has the brilliant effect of heightening the separation between them and building up the suspense of a possible reunion. Informative and exciting, "Shades of Death" is a must read for anyone who is not only interested in history's famous personalities and events, but also on its effects on the general population at that time.

Bill Miller

After reading "The Gauntlet Runner," I had to read "Shades of Death." The first book brought back memories of the days when I use to rush home after school to watch my favorite television series, "Daniel Boone." I must say, these books are so well written that anyone who loves history and the American frontier will be truly mesmerized by Mr. Bailey's books. I am eagerly awaiting the release of his next book. I agree with the last review, it would make for a great mini series.

King Bennett

I have become a big fan of these author and can't wait to find out what happens..His take on real characters like Pontiac, or George Washington are very close to the historical truth. I am in the process of reading them over just to keep it all fresh in my mind waiting for the next one.