Revisiting Of Blood and Brothers

August 27, 2014 at 9:51 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , )

blood and brosTitle: Of Blood and Brothers: Book Two

Author: E. Michael Helms

Publisher: KoehlerBooks

Genre: Historical Fiction

Length: 265 pages

“I swallowed the last of my coffee, reached for the pot and poured another cup.”

Cup after coffee cup, I drank and read the second installment of E. Michael Helms Civil War series.

When life is hard, it’s nice to escape into another century’s problems.  I suppose that’s the root of the issue when it comes to historical and science fiction lovers.  We like to flee into other eras when humans are the same, but the world is so different.

My favorite tidbit about Helms series is that he was inspired by two elderly brothers he once knew as a boy, who had a Confederate veteran father.  On his acknowledgements page he tells them, though they are long gone, that “It was your voices that gave rise to the voices of Daniel and Elijah Malburn.” As a fiction writer myself, those tiny details make my heart swoon, because so often we writers are asked where our ideas come from, and so often we are unable to precisely pinpoint it.  Ideas sort of sprout and grow from nothing more than a vibe or a passing fancy, very rarely rooted in much of substance other than things our subconscious has gathered and created from nearly thin air.  That Helms remembers these gentleman who told him stories as a boy is marvelous to my scattered mind.

This is a great piece of fiction to add to a high schooler’s American Civil War studies.  The mind wraps itself around facts and truths of an era so much better when the facts are rooted in a riveting story.  My favorite thing to do when I study any time in history is to read a biography or political piece side by side with a bit of fiction.

Well done, Helms! Looking forward to reading Deadly Catch, one of another series by Helms that I can’t wait to get my teeth into.



  1. benleeirene said,

    I love history and I love reading historical fiction. Great review. I love the middle paragraph where you discuss how, for writers, it is difficult to pinpoint where ideas originate. I would say my ideas are usually based in something, but it might just be a piece of furniture or a place I visited, and so whatever ideas form around that are not based in personal experience.

    • Anakalian Whims said,

      People ask me about my book all the time, and the characters and places are both from all my experiences and none of my experiences. No one character is based on any particular person, no event based on any particular event – it is fiction. I couldn’t tell you where the idea came from or how it grew, I just woke up and the characters were speaking to me all of a sudden, born of writing exercises. I find it refreshing that Helms can boil the ideas down to a source – even though it is still all fiction and it is still his unique telling of that time, he remembers what inspired him to ruminate on it all. That amazed me.

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