It is the autumn of 1858. On the prairies of Central Illinois, Lycurgus (Surge) Sherwood has been more concerned with the day to day business of his farm in Marshall County than with the runaway slaves that filter up the Dixon Trail on the Underground Railroad. When his sister is ruthlessly murdered by Mississippi bounty hunters, Surge suddenly finds himself embroiled in the clandestine and unlawful Freedom Train.
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John Spencer's Surge Series
Action and adventure set in the era of the House Divided! John Spencer's Surge series recounts, through one man's journey, the story of a struggling nation experiencing profound and fundamental change. The main character is forced, by circumstance, to choose sides and take definitive action as a participant in the Underground Railroad.
Surge has taken up his dead sister's torch in the battle against slave-power in antebellum Illinois. After a fiery sermon given by Massachusetts abolitionist Ichabod Codding turns into a free-for-all, Surge and his wife Rachael find themselves on the run, pursued by an angry mob. The hooded throng hounds the Wesleyan Sherwoods on a harrowing flight through both the physical and spiritual landscape of frontier Illinois.
During a tent revival meeting, Lycurgus is felled by a bullet from an unknown assailant. His wife Rachael and frontier Doctor Charles Cutter seek refuge at the home of Owen Lovejoy in nearby Princeton. Their meeting with this determined foe of slavery—and his equally formidable opposition— show Lycurgus that it is frontier Illinois' compromise with slavery that has fostered the border state's ambivalence and division.
A searing drought afflicts Round Prairie— and with it has come a strapping Georgia youth in search of his long lost father. The Sherwoods celebrate the arrival of their son, Charles Douglas, and while grappling with his own newfound fatherhood Surge must now help a father and son reunite. In the face of a fierce prairie storm, Sherwood and the two runaways evade the grasp of river pirates. The climactic reunion of two tormented souls unfolds with all the explosive force of a hurricane.
Jerome Westphal has come to the antebellum Illinois prairies for adventure. He enters Bureau County on a hunting excursion, bagging elk, wolf, bear and panther. When a legendary white buffalo calf is born in the valley the Englishman sees nothing but dollar signs, adding bison to his trophy list. Surge confronts Westphal, warning him to leave the Bureau Valley and never return, but the Englishman is undeterred. abducting Sherwood’s most trusted friend, his loyal wolf companion Lupa. Includes the short story Child of the Storm, in which Lycurgus first encounters the wolf, Lupa.
Features the first three SURGE novels: Round Prairie Inferno, Senachwine Crossing and Four Cedars. Includes a special introduction and map by the author.
About the Author
John Spencer lives and works along the picturesque Sangamon River in the heart of Illinois. He earned his B.A. in Art from the University of Illinois, is a U.S. Navy veteran of Desert Storm and recipient of both the Naut Tahrir al-Kuwait and National Defense medals but it was in his role as assistant to the Historic Sites Director at an Illinois prairie preserve that his interest in antebellum Illinois was piqued.
John is also available for interviews, talks, workshops and discussion. Contact him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For upcoming appearances and events on John's calendar, visit our Upcoming Events page.