Yesterday was the official launch day of Duty, Honor, Country, a Novel of West Point & the Civil War, so I believe I might be excused from my usual full of information posts to talk about it a little bit.
But, first, let me give you a couple of reasons, besides the numbers, I went indie with this title:
1. Timeliness. Yesterday was the 150th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War. With New York still sticking to a one year production schedule, there is no way they could have gotten the book out on time.
2. Length. This book is epic. It’s 175,000 words long, about twice the length of my usual book. And we’ve added in around 18,000 words from the opening to The Jefferson Allegiance, a thriller based on history that will be released on the 4th of July. Any time a book goes over 100k, NY starts to think production costs. With ebooks that isn’t a factor. We will be releasing the book in print on demand trade paperback at the end of the month and it will be big, thus entailing a $16.99 cover price, but still much less than a new hardcover.
So– here it is:
They swore oaths, both personal and professional. From the Plain at West Point, through the Mexican War, to the carnage of Shiloh. They were fighting for country, for a way of life and for family. Classmates carried more than rifles and sabers into battle. They had friendships, memories, children and wives. They had innocence lost, promises broken and glory found.
Duty, Honor, Country is history told both epic and personal so we can understand what happened, but more importantly feel the heart-wrenching clash of duty, honor, country and loyalty. And realize that sometimes, the people who changed history, weren’t recorded by it. This book is big, almost twice the length of my usual books, because the story demands a large scale.
Reviews for Mayer’s books:
“Exciting and authentic. Don’t miss this one.” W.E.B. Griffin
“Mayer had me hooked from the very first page.” Stephen Coonts
“Fascinating, imaginative and nerve-wracking.” Kirkus Reviews
“Will leave you spellbound.” Book News
“Mayer has established himself as one of today’s better military writers. A background in Special Operations gives him credibility and understanding from having been there and done that.” Airpower Journal
“A treat for military fiction readers.” Publishers Weekly
Our story starts in 1840, in Benny Havens tavern, just outside post limits of the United States Military Academy. With William Tecumseh Sherman, a classmate, a plebe, and Benny Havens’ daughter coming together in a crucible of honor and loyalty. And on post, in the West Point stables, where Ulysses S. Grant and a classmate are preparing to saddle the Hell-Beast, a horse with which Grant would eventually set an academy record, and both make fateful decisions that will change the course of their lives and history.
The key to this series is a simple fact I had to memorize as a plebe at West Point:
Who commanded the major battles of the Civil War? —— There were 60 important battles of the War. In 55 of them, graduates commanded on both sides.
That struck me as utterly fascinating and disturbing on a core level. After all, how did men who went to the same Academy, who swore the same oath of allegiance, end up fighting each other? So I decided to take a handful of fictional character and insert them into history, to rub elbows with those who would become great and those who would become infamous. And have them live through events, both epic and personal.
The story ranges from West Point; to a plantation in Natchez, the richest city in the United States where cotton was king; to the only mutiny in the United States Navy; to St. Louis where Kit Carson is preparing to depart on a famous expedition to the west with Fremont that would eventually bring California into the Union; to Mexico, where the United States Army suffered its highest casualty rate to this day and brought most of the western United States into the Union; to the founding of the Naval Academy; to John Brown’s hanging; to the firing on Fort Sumter; through First Bull Run; the first battle of ironclads, the Monitor and Virginia; and culminating in the epic battle of Shiloh, where the United States had more casualties in one battle than in all previous wars combined and the face of warfare changed forever.
This is history told both epic and personal so we can understand intellectually what happened, but more importantly feel the heart-wrenching struggle of duty, honor, country and loyalty coming into collision.
This first book will be followed by more books, taking our characters through the Civil War and beyond, into the Plains Wars and further.
As they say at West Point: Much of the history we teach, was made by people we taught.