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John Simons
Sacrificial Lions
David Simons, author
Sacrificial Lions Synopsis Sacrificial Lions is volume one in a proposed six-volume narrative of the American Civil War, which uses unique characters to explore the diverse motives and actions of the participants in an environment of political and military conflict and intrigue. Unlike the usual entries in this genre, it pretends no moral equivalency between the fight for and against slavery. Here the focus is on the Union cause where most of the literature has been obsessed with the lost cause of the Confederacy. At times a political thriller and other times an action adventure, this novel captures the complex goals and relationships that tore the United States asunder and continued to operate against each other within the Union government and military. In 1861 and 1862 the primary enemy of the Lincoln Administration was not the Rebel army, but their own generals. Meticulous in its devotion to historical accuracy, Sacrificial Lions proves truth is often stranger than fiction in portraying historical events and characters previously unexplored in any dramatic medium. At first glance this story is an action adventure as the characters are caught up in the battles and maneuvers, charges and chases of 1862 Virginia. Complementing the action are the complex goals and relationships that tore the United States asunder and continued to operate against each other inside Northern politics and the military. As the story progresses, so run the currents of betrayal and treason that make it a political thriller, exploring the actions of Lincoln’s rivals in the Union Army, led by George McClellan, who strive for amicable reunification rather than military victory. Due primarily to a hatred of abolitionists and their cause, the primary enemy of the Lincoln Administration was not the Rebel army, but his own generals and the politicians and newspapers supporting them. This effort would not end until 1864 when McClellan was finally defeated by Lincoln in the Presidential election – events planned for volume five of this series. One of the principal characters is an English military observer who would much rather fight his own war than watch someone else's. Captain Andrew Logan is a highly experienced British Indian Army officer whose evolution is a principal focus of the story. He brings to America a grave concern that the accepted tactics of combat are no longer appropriate in the age of rifled weapons, which have tripled the range of infantry and artillery. Another central figure is a young West Pointer, Lieutenant Jacob Fletcher from Virginia, who resists family and political pressure to stand with the Union. Many Southern military men stayed with the flag they had defended since their youth, yet that important aspect of the war is rarely mentioned or understood today. The truth is that some of General Grant's best lieutenants were Southerners who did not betray their oaths. Before the war begins, Fletcher and Logan travel to tour Virginia, which is anticipated to be the decisive theatre of the war. Here Logan meets and begins a tentative romance with Fletcher’s sister Angela who he finds delightfully unusual. She is an anti-slavery, freethinking Southern woman, educated in Paris who is not afraid to speak her mind, at least to anyone except her father. As the men leave for war, Angela despises her role and struggles to find a meaningful way to resist the increasing oppression. While in Virginia, Logan is exposed to the complex political machinations that conspired to create the perfect opportunity for the destruction of the Union. Here, too, as they receive word of the fall of Ft. Sumter, Jacob Fletcher makes his final heart-breaking decision. As he watches comrades and friends declare their loyalty to the Confederacy, Fletcher knows he cannot betray his oath to the Union, nor can he fight for a slavocracy. After returning to Washington, they soon depart for Western Virginia, which contains a population of strong Union sympathizers. There Fletcher recruits a company of cavalry and, after training, they join the division of Union General Philip Kearny, the George Patton of the Civil War. Kearny is one of the great overlooked characters of history and his life's story is a fascinating one. Like Patton, the ‘one-armed devil’, was one of those rare men who genuinely loved a good battle. The story follows them with General McClellan on his infamous Peninsula Campaign of 1862. McClellan hates Lincoln and his plan to seek the Democratic nomination for President in 1864 is proceeding. From the brutal Battle of Williamsburg, where the incompetence and rivalry of the Union generals is on full display, to Jeb Stuart’s ride around the Army of the Potomac; Fletcher and Kearny play their parts heroically, but for Logan, no longer neutral, it becomes more and more difficult to observe. The treachery of McClellan becomes increasingly apparent as he proceeds half-heartedly against the Rebel army of Joseph Johnston. Ambition leads him to avoid battle while seeking a political resolution to the conflict. Kearny begins the campaign calling McClellan 'the Virginia Creeper' and ends publicly denouncing him as coward and traitor. Dereliction: Sacrificial Lions Book II \t Recalled to Washington after his failure, the tragic harvest of McClellan's duplicity takes place when he disobeys orders and fails to support General Pope – a rival who has begun an assault on Robert E. Lee. The result is the Union disaster at the Battle of Second Bull Run. Please note: This manuscript is also completed. I was advised by more than one professional that a 530 page manuscript would probably be in excess of 1000 pages in print and for a variety of reasons that would be a bad idea for a first-time author. I wrote an epilogue to the first half, but the second volume picks up right where the first leaves off. I would be happy to defer to the publisher's judgement on this question.