Thursday, September 16, 2021

On tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club: Redemption (The Hacker Chronicles, Book 2) by Philip Yorke #HistoricalFiction #EnglishCivilWar #AuthorInterview @yorkeauthor @maryanneyarde





Saturday, the second day of July, in the year of our Lord, 1644, will be a day long remembered by the men and women committed to ending the reign of a tyrannical King. For on this day, the forces of Charles the First were crushed on the bloody fields of Marston Moor.

The calamitous defeat forces the increasingly desperate Royalists to intensify their attempts to bring about the immediate demise of their Parliamentarian enemies. This includes devising an audacious plan to assassinate the man they believe is key to the war’s outcome.

With the plotters ready to strike, Francis Hacker, one of Parliament’s most loyal soldiers, becomes aware of the conspiracy. With little time to act, he does everything in his power to frustrate their plans. But, alas, things start to unravel when brave Hacker finds himself pitted against a ruthless and cunning mercenary, a man who will resort to anything to achieve a ‘kill’.  



What inspired you to start writing?

In my 20s I played rugby to a decent standard, so would often read match reports in the media about the games I played in. One day, I thought ‘I can write better than that’ – and, over dinner with my girlfriend’s family (who became my wife), my future Mother-in-Law encouraged me to contact my local paper to see if the Editor would meet me and give me some tips about becoming a reporter.

So I did. I wrote a letter to the paper and, to my surprise, got an immediate response which invited me to not only meet the Editor, but have a job interview. It turned out the paper concerned was looking for a ‘cub’ reporter and I had written at just the right time. Within less than 10 days of sending in my speculative letter, I had the job!

As for writing books, I have a friend in the US to thank for this. She had been nagging me for over a decade to put pen to paper and start writing something. So, I did. And 12 months later, Rebellion – the first book in the Hacker Chronicles series – was born. Redemption is the sequel. Both are very different to what my friend envisaged at the outset. But without her encouragement I would have never taken the plunge.


What was the hardest part about writing this book?

To be honest, getting through the pandemic and moving house in the middle of the writing process turned out to be the greatest obstacles. It meant almost five months were wiped out. Thankfully, all is now good and life has returned to near normality.

As far as the writing is concerned (and because I am quite disciplined and structured), the daily process authorship was not taxing at all. Indeed, it was wonderful to be able to immerse myself in the world of seventeenth-century Britain and forget, albeit temporarily, the woes of the 21st century.

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

I suppose it would have to be Isabelle Hacker, who was married to Francis Hacker (my principal character). She was a remarkable woman in every way – and incredibly loyal to the man she devoted her life to.

While researching her character, I discovered an awful lot about Isabelle. Official documents of the time, and anecdotal accounts, painted a wonderful picture of her life and the impact she had on the people of Nottinghamshire. Strong, determined, loving, beautiful, and a wonderful person, she reminds me greatly of my own wife. So, for this very reason, she is my number one character, albeit I write less about her in Redemption than I did in Rebellion. I will have to address the balance in the third book of the series (Regicide) which I have just started to write.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?

This is an easy question to answer. 

The truth is I don’t think I would ever want someone to interpret my books and turn them into a motion picture. I am quite satisfied with the stories sitting in print format and staying there. The big screen may be wonderful for someone’s ego (and possibly their bank balance), but it can often lead to your work being ruined by a third party. So, I am afraid it’s a non-starter for me.

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

Francis Hacker has had a tremendous impact on me – as has the age he lived in. Therefore, my greatest hope is for a reader to ‘get’ what Francis is all about. His faith and utter reliance on God was something that was with him throughout his life, and his beliefs dictated his behaviours. This doesn’t mean he lived a perfect life; far from it. Francis was a deeply flawed man, as we all are, yet he tried to be a just and compassionate soul, even though the three civil wars tested his values to the limit.

It would please me greatly if readers felt closer to Francis by the time they have digested the book and understood what drove him to make the momentous decisions he made.

Buy the Book
This novel is available to read on #KindleUnlimited subscription.

Philip Yorke

Philip Yorke is an award-winning former Fleet Street journalist who has a special interest in history. His Hacker Chronicles series, to be told in five fast-paced historical fiction novels, tells the story of Parliamentarian soldier, Francis Hacker.

Redemption, the second book in the series, is set during the period 1644-46 (during the first English Civil War), when events take a significant turn in favour of Parliament.

Philip is married, and he and his wife have five children. He enjoys relaxing to classical music, reading the works of Nigel Tranter, Bernard Cornwell, Robyn Young and CJ Sansom, and supporting Hull City FC and Leicester Tigers RFC. 

He lives in Leicestershire, England.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

On tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club: Island of Gold (Sea and Stone Chronicles) by Amy Maroney #BookReview #IslandOfGold #HistoricalAdventure @wilaroney @maryanneyarde

1454. A noble French falconer. A spirited merchant’s daughter. And a fateful decision that changes their destiny forever.

When Cédric is recruited by the Knights Hospitaller to the Greek island of Rhodes, his wife Sophie jumps at the chance to improve their fortunes. After a harrowing journey to Rhodes, Cédric plunges into the world of the knights—while Sophie is tempted by the endless riches that flow into the bustling harbor. But their dazzling new home has a dark side. 

Slaves toil endlessly to fortify the city walls, and rumors of a coming attack by the Ottoman Turks swirl in the streets. Desperate to gain favor with the knights and secure his position, Cédric navigates a treacherous world of shadowy alliances. Meanwhile, Sophie secretly engineers a bold plan to keep their children safe. As the trust between them frays, enemies close in—and when disaster strikes the island, the dangers of their new world become terrifyingly real. 

With this richly-told story of adventure, treachery, and the redeeming power of love, Amy Maroney brings a mesmerizing and forgotten world to vivid life.


My Review

There are two things I look out for when I am browsing the bookshelf - a beautiful cover and an enticing blurb. Island of Gold (Sea and Stone Chronicles) by Amy Maroney has both. However, as my Gran used to say, "the proof is in the pudding"! I am pleased to report that this book certainly lived up to my expectations. 

This is a masterfully composed novel that captured my attention so much that I spent the better half of a night sat up reading it. Even with the short chapters which gave me ample time to find a good place to stop and go to bed, I carried on reading! Once started, I found this book next to impossible to put down.

So much happens in this novel which I think is one of the reasons why I could not put it down. I came to really care for the characters, and as events began to unfold around them, I feared for their safety. The author also explored the barbaric practice of slavery in this story. It is hard to imagine a time when slavery was so acceptable. Going to the market to buy a slave was no different to going to the market to buy some fine cloth. Like me, Cédric despises slavery, although his wife, who is desperately trying to keep up with the fashionable world would rather like one. It certainly was a very different time, and the fact that Rhodes' economy depended upon human misery, made it quite a harrowing read at times. 

I also learnt a great deal more about falcons and how they were so prized in this era. I did not realise that to be a master falconer was such a prestigious job! How the birds were transported made for some slightly sickening reading, why on earth would anyone sew shut their eyes, honestly, what were these people thinking? Their pain must have been insufferable. 

At the end of the day, Island of Gold is one of those sit-down-and-finish books. It really should come with a warning, because once started it is near on impossible to put down again. I will certainly be looking out for more books by this author in the foreseeable future.


Buy this Book (you really should)

Amazon 

This novel is available on #KindleUnlimited


Amy Maroney 

Amy Maroney lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family, and spent many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction before turning her hand to historical fiction. When she's not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, dancing, traveling, and reading. Amy is the author of the Miramonde Series, a trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail. To receive a free prequel novella to the Miramonde Series, join Amy's readers' group at www.amymaroney.com. (Just copy and paste into your browser.)

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Monday, September 13, 2021

On tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club: The Wisdom of the Flock: Franklin and Mesmer in Paris by Steve M. Gnatz #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde

 




A WORLD OF ENLIGHTENMENT, REVOLUTION, AND INTRIGUE.

1776: Benjamin Franklin sails to Paris, carrying a copy of the Declaration of Independence, freshly signed. His charge: gain the support of France for the unfolding American Revolution. Yet Paris is a city of distractions. Ben’s lover, Marianne Davies, will soon arrive, and he yearns to rekindle his affair with the beautiful musician. 

Dr. Franz Mesmer has plans for Marianne too. He has taken Parisian nobility by storm with his discovery of magnétisme animale, a mysterious force claimed to heal the sick. Marianne’s ability to channel Mesmer’s phenomena is key to his success.

A skeptical King Louis XVI appoints Ben to head a commission investigating the astonishing magnétisme animale. By nature, Ben requires proof. Can he scientifically prove that it does not exist? Mesmer will stop at nothing to protect his profitable claim. 

The Wisdom of The Flock explores the conflict between science and mysticism in a time rife with revolution, love, spies, and passion.


My Review

I do not recall having read a book about either Benjamin Franklin or Franz Mesmer before, and I am not all that sure that there are many, if any, fictional books about them. So I was really excited when I was given the chance to read this book.

Set in a turbulent time of change in American history, an elderly Benjamin travels to France to try and gain their support in the upcoming revolution against the British. But France, for a man like Benjamin, is like a playground of all his favourite toys—there is a distraction around every corner! And there is nothing as distracting as Doctor Franz Mesmer and his use of magnétisme animale to heal people. With a thirst for scientific knowledge, Benjamin is both curious and suspicious of the doctor, as Mesmer consistently refuses to reveal his secrets to the public.

This novel is fascinating, as it involves many scientists, who are more than happy to discuss and debate different findings. I greatly enjoyed finding out about different things, such as the attempts to harness electricity from an eel! I certainly came away from this book knowing things that I did not know before. This book was both informative and enjoyable to read, and brought to life people and an era that I had not previously had the pleasure to read about. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and it is certainly one I will read again.

Buy this Book

Steve Gnatz

Steve Gnatz is a writer, physician, bicyclist, photographer, traveler, and aspiring ukulele player. The son of a history professor and a nurse, it seems that both medicine and history are in his blood. Writing historical fiction came naturally. An undergraduate degree in biology was complemented by a minor in classics. After completing medical school, he embarked on an academic medical career specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. There was little time for writing during those years, other than research papers and a technical primer on electromyography. Now retired from the practice of medicine, he devotes himself to the craft of fiction. The history of science is of particular interest, but also the dynamics of human relationships. People want to be good scientists, but sometimes human nature gets in the way. That makes for interesting stories. When not writing or traveling, he enjoys restoring Italian racing bicycles at home in Chicago with his wife and daughters.

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Sunday, September 5, 2021

On tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club: Clement: The Green Ship (Clement, Book 2) by Craig R. Hipkins #HistoricalFiction #Medieval #YA @CraigHipkins @maryanneyarde

 



Normandy. The year 1161. 
King Henry ll sends the 14-year-old Clement, Count of la Haye on a secret mission. The young count and his friends travel in the wake of the mysterious mariner known as Sir Humphrey Rochford. Their destination? The legendary land of Vinland, known only from the Norse sagas. The journey is full of adventure and intrigue. Clement battles with a tyrannical Irish king and then finds his vessel attacked by a massive monster from the deep. The Green Ship sails to the sparse and barren land of Greenland where more trouble awaits.

My Review

I actually read this book twice. The second time I read it was via Skype to my ten-year-old granddaughter. I know the age recommendation is twelve, but I thought my granddaughter would enjoy it. While we read, I had to answer a lot of questions, such as:

Who were the Knights Templar?
What does a Kraken look like?
and my favourite
What is a skillet?

I thought it would be nice to ask my granddaughter to write this review, I thought she would say no, as she would rather be doing anything other than writing, but to my surprise she did. Please note, this review contains spoilers:

I really enjoyed Clement: The Green Ship. Clement was very brave and he had some really good friends. He is really kind, especially to Adam. I liked reading about the Kraken, but I thought the Kraken had killed Dagena, but Dagena is a really good fighter so she didn't die. I didn't like Clement's uncle, he is really horrible. I also think that Clement should marry Dagena as they really love each other, although I don't think I would want to get married at fourteen.

I thought this book was vastly entertaining, and it kept my granddaughter engage throughout. The one question we both have is when will Book 2 be out?

Buy this Book (and I really recommend that you do)
This book is available on #KindleUnlimited

Craig R. Hipkins


Craig R. Hipkins grew up in Hubbardston Massachusetts. He is the author of medieval and gothic fiction. His novel, Adalbert is the sequel to Astrolabe written by his late twin brother Jay S. Hipkins (1968-2018)

He is an avid long-distance runner and enjoys astronomy in his spare time.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

On tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club - The Steel Rose (The Boar King’s Honor Trilogy, Book 2) by Nancy Northcott #HistoricalFantasy #AuthorInterview #BlogTour @NancyNorthcott @maryanneyarde

 




THE BOAR KING’S HONOR TRILOGY

A wizard’s misplaced trust

A king wrongly blamed for murder

A bloodline cursed until they clear the king’s name

BOOK 2: THE STEEL ROSE

Amelia Mainwaring, a magically Gifted seer, is desperate to rescue the souls of her dead father and brother, who are trapped in a shadowy, wraith-filled land between life and death as the latest victims of their family curse. Lifting the curse requires clearing the name of King Richard III, who was wrongly accused of his nephews’ murder because of a mistake made by Amelia’s ancestor.

In London to seek help from a wizard scholar, Julian Winfield, Amelia has disturbing visions that warn of Napoleon Bonaparte’s escape from Elba and renewed war in Europe. A magical artifact fuels growing French support for Bonaparte. Can Amelia and Julian recover the artifact and deprive him of its power in time to avert the coming battles?

Their quest takes them from the crowded ballrooms of the London Season to the bloody field of Waterloo, demanding all of their courage, guile, and magical skill.  Can they recover the artifact and stop Bonaparte? Or will all their hopes, along with Amanda’s father and brother, be doomed as a battle-weary Europe is once again engulfed in the flames of war?

The Steel Rose is the second book in the time-traveling, history-spanning fantasy series The Boar King’s Honor, from Nancy Northcott (Outcast Station, The Herald of Day).



What inspired you to start writing?

Hi, Jamie, and thanks for having me!

I like to play “what if,” and I eventually started writing down those ideas—in crayon at first! I stopped writing while I was in school but started with the “what if” game again as an adult. My first stories after that were fan fiction. People who read it seemed to like it, so I decided to try creating my own worlds.


What was the hardest part about writing this book?

The research into the social customs of Regency England was challenging. I’ve read many Regency-set books, but that’s not the same as writing about it. I looked at several books about the customs and manners, which were not always consistent. I was fortunate to have help from two writers who’ve each written numerous Regency novels.

As far as difficulty, the customs of Regency society tie with the events of the Battle of Waterloo. There are enough books written about just that battle to fill a library, possibly with double or even triple shelving, and there are some disputes about what was key to the battle at the end. I chose the versions that worked best for my story. Writing about the battle also involves describing soldiers, who wear uniforms, carry weapons and equipment, and engage in tactics maneuvers. The research was challenging but also fun.


Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

Each of my main characters has a special place in my heart for different reasons. The hero of The Steel Rose, Julian, has my geeky love of books and of solving puzzles. The heroine, Amelia, has my tendency to question myself, though I like to think she’s worse about it than I am!


If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?

For Julian, I would choose Luke Thompson of Bridgerton. He’s a handsome man but also can blend into a crowd, as Julian’s work for the Home Office has often required him to do.

For Amelia, I would go with Elizabeth Olsen. Her character’s arc in Avengers: Age of Ultron, learning to step up when it’s needed and to believe in herself, is a bit like Amelia’s. It’s not the same, as Amelia always steps up, but she doesn’t have the self-assurance in the beginning of The Steel Rose that she develops by the end.


What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

I want them to escape for a while and enjoy the story. When they close the book, I want them to feel satisfied.

Thanks again for having me today, Jamie! 


Buy this Book

Amazon

This novel is available to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription.


Nancy Northcott

Nancy Northcott’s childhood ambition was to grow up and become Wonder Woman. Around fourth grade, she realized it was too late to acquire Amazon genes, but she still loved comic books, science fiction, fantasy, history, and romance. She combines the emotion and high stakes, and sometimes the magic, she loves in the books she writes.


She has written freelance articles and taught at the college level.  Her most popular course was on science fiction, fantasy, and society.  She has also given presentations on the Wars of the Roses and Richard III to university classes studying Shakespeare’s play about Richard III. Reviewers have described her books as melding fantasy, romance, and suspense. Library Journal gave her debut novel, Renegade, a starred review, calling it “genre fiction at its best.”


In addition to the historical fantasy Boar King’s Honor trilogy, Nancy writes the Light Mage Wars paranormal romances, the Arachnid Files romantic suspense novellas, and the Lethal Webs romantic spy adventures. With Jeanne Adams, she cowrites the Outcast Station science fiction mysteries.

Married since 1987, Nancy and her husband have one son, a bossy dog, and a house full of books.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

On tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club: The Whirlpools of Time by Anna Belfrage #BookReview #HistoricalFiction #TimeTravel @abelfrageauthor @maryanneyarde

 



He hoped for a wife. He found a companion through time and beyond.

It is 1715 and for Duncan Melville something fundamental is missing from his life. Despite a flourishing legal practice and several close friends, he is lonely, even more so after the recent death of his father. He needs a wife—a companion through life, someone to hold and be held by. What he wasn’t expecting was to be torn away from everything he knew and find said woman in 2016…

Erin Barnes has a lot of stuff going on in her life. She doesn’t need the additional twist of a stranger in weird outdated clothes, but when he risks his life to save hers, she feels obligated to return the favour. Besides, whoever Duncan may be, she can’t exactly deny the immediate attraction.

The complications in Erin’s life explode. Events are set in motion and to Erin’s horror she and Duncan are thrown back to 1715. Not only does Erin have to cope with a different and intimidating world, soon enough she and Duncan are embroiled in a dangerous quest for Duncan’s uncle, a quest that may very well cost them their lives as they travel through a Scotland poised on the brink of rebellion.  

Will they find Duncan’s uncle in time? And is the door to the future permanently closed, or will Erin find a way back?


My Review

There is something about time travel that not only takes the characters to different times with different lifestyles and different dangers lurking around the corners, but it also takes the reader along for the ride —with no way of turning back, the reader is trapped in the time the characters end up in until the book is over (and then, the reader may still go back to the beginning to relive it all over again).

The world that the characters end up in is 1715, where a revolution brews due to the unrest because a foreign king sits on the English throne. Duncan Melville may belong in this time, but Erin Barnes calls 2016 her home and is in for a rude awakening when she and Duncan must make their way in a world that she is unprepared to live in, with a man she cannot help but love. 

Despite the threat of the Jacobites, Duncan and Erin find themselves in Scotland, searching for Duncan’s uncle, David Graham. I must say, out of the many Grahams in this book, David was one of the only ones I could easily place, due to his extended involvement in the story. The Graham family is a rather large one, but, thankfully, a clear knowledge of the family was not a necessity, and the story of rogues, scoundrels and close encounters unfolded into a wonderful book that I found very difficult to put down.

While I expected fighting for honour and, indeed, fighting for one’s life, I did not quite expect the relationship between Erin and Duncan to be quite so intense. They have not known each other for very long when they take big steps ahead in their romance, but I suppose when you’ve found your soulmate, there is no need to be patient.

This book is the kind of book that draws you in, begging you to turn the pages and start yet another chapter, and you willingly listen, devouring the story and feeling disappointed when you have to put it down to carry out basic human functions such as eating and sleeping. If this book is not on your to-read list, you should definitely add it, and maybe also bump it up a couple of spaces!


Buy this Book (and I highly recommend that you do)

Amazon

This novel is available to read on #KindleUnlimited


Anna Belfrage

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.  


Anna has also published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients. Her September 2020 release, His Castilian Hawk, has her returning to medieval times. Set against the complications of Edward I’s invasion of Wales, His Castilian Hawk is a story of loyalty, integrity—and love. Her most recent release, The Whirlpools of Time, is a time travel romance set against the backdrop of brewing rebellion in the Scottish highlands.


All of Anna’s books have been awarded the IndieBRAG Medallion, she has several Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choices, and one of her books won the HNS Indie Award in 2015. She is also the proud recipient of various Reader’s Favorite medals as well as having won various Gold, Silver and Bronze Coffee Pot Book Club awards.

Find out more about Anna, her books and her eclectic historical blog on her website, www.annabelfrage.com .

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Thursday, August 12, 2021

On tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club: Landscape of a Marriage by Gail Ward Olmsted #BookReview #BlogTour #HistoricalFiction @gwolmsted @maryanneyarde

 




 
A marriage of convenience leads to a life of passion and purpose. A shared vision transforms the American landscape forever.

New York, 1858: Mary, a young widow with three children, agrees to marry her brother-in-law Frederick Law Olmsted, who is acting on his late brother’s deathbed plea to "not let Mary suffer”. But she craves more than a marriage of convenience and sets out to win her husband’s love. Beginning with Central Park in New York City, Mary joins Fred on his quest to create a 'beating green heart' in the center of every urban space. 

Over the next 40 years, Fred is inspired to create dozens of city parks, private estates and public spaces with Mary at his side. Based upon real people and true events, this is the story of Mary’s journey and personal growth and the challenges inherent in loving a brilliant and ambitious man. 

My Review

Some books are written to tell a story, and some are written to inform. This book could be described as a little bit of both. It tells the story of a woman that had previously been overshadowed by her husband, during her life and in history, and puts her in the spotlight for once. It tells the story of a woman in a period of time when women’s roles were not as important as those of the men, and of how these women were actually potentially more important in some aspects than the men.

I loved reading about Mary, and her children. She marries Fred when it seems there are no other choices, yet she does not want a marriage wherein both parties have a feeling of obligation to the other. She wants love, to love and to be loved, and a safe home for her children to grow up in. Watching the progression of her relationship with Fred was beautiful, as was watching her children grow up and figure out who they were and what they wanted to do. 

There are several issues addressed in this book, including women’s rights. Mary is as important to the building of Fred’s parks as he is, for although she works behind the scenes, things would not run smoothly without her. Yet, she gets none of the credit from the public. Her family, however, support her in everything, and their closeness and the love that Mary’s children felt for her was lovely to read about.

This book, in my opinion, is a triumph. The author set out to tell the story of one of her husband’s ancestors, a woman whom not much was known, and she has done just that. This book does not drift away from Mary at any point, and she holds the reader’s attention throughout the entire novel. This book truly is a work of art.

Buy this Book!

Gail Ward Olmsted

Gail Ward Olmsted was a marketing executive and a college professor before she began writing fiction on a fulltime basis. A trip to Sedona, AZ inspired her first novel Jeep Tour. Three more novels followed before she began Landscape of a Marriage, a biographical work of fiction featuring landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, a distant cousin of her husband’s, and his wife Mary. 

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On tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club: Redemption (The Hacker Chronicles, Book 2) by Philip Yorke #HistoricalFiction #EnglishCivilWar #AuthorInterview @yorkeauthor @maryanneyarde

Saturday, the second day of July, in the year of our Lord, 1644, will be a day long remembered by the men and women committed to ending the ...