Title: Northern Wolf (Northern Wolf Series Book 1)
Author: Daniel Greene
Genre: Military Historical Fiction
A broken man will be forged in the flames of war...
It is late 1862, and the United States has been ripped apart by civil war for over a year with no end in sight. The war is a distant thought to Johannes Wolf, a young German immigrant with a crippled leg keeping him off the muster lists.
Desperately dredging the gutters for recruits, Wolf cons his way into the depleted, demoralized, and poorly run Union army, and is promptly placed in the undesirable F Company of the 13th Michigan Cavalry.
Wolf's company find themselves riding with Custer and the Michigan Brigade on a collision course with master horseman J.E.B. Stuart and the Army of Northern Virginia in a small town in Pennsylvania, called Gettysburg.
Will they stand tall against the knights of the South and prove themselves worthy? Or will they fall beneath screaming bullets and sweeping blades, becoming more bloody fodder for a lost cause?
“Lent,” Wolf said.
The young trooper stared at him wide-eyed and blinked. “Corporal?”
“Remember why you fight.”
Confusion spread across Lent’s face and he gulped.
“You fight for the men at your side.”
Lent nodded, his shoulders shivering.
Custer pulled his horse to a stop in front of his depleted regiments next to their captain. “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, those are your brothers on that field.” His saber screamed as he removed it from its scabbard. It glinted in the sun as he pointed it at Alger’s regiment. They bore down on the men, ready to ride them into the ground, slice them to ribbons with sabers, and shoot them in the backs as they turned to run before the equestrian prowess of their foes.
Custer’s nose flared and his eyes grew wide with the potential delight of battle. The men felt the energy from him, feeding their own internal flames.
Wolf glanced at Wilhelm.
An eerie, cruel fire composed of red violence and green vengeance danced in his eyes, alight with the prospect of killing those that had slain his son.
“Those men intend to run your brothers down. Now let’s go show the enemy what Hell looks like.” He turned his horse around with his saber high in the air. His voice filled with certainty, he yelled. “Sound the forward march!”
The bugler placed his instrument to his lips, blaring a short tune. Down the line, other buglers sounded their horns. The horses’ hooves clopped the ground as the two regiments walked into the pastures. Dust caked both man and horse, saturating the air. The company guidon held by First Sergeant O’Reilly fluttered casually as they walked. He opted to carry the guidon in this battle, taking his place in the ranks.
Custer prompted his horse to a trot and then straight into a gallop. Lifting his saber high in the air, he called out to his men. “Come on, you wolverines. Charge!”
The bugler’s cheeks puffed out as he belted out the same monotone tone in succession followed by high-pitched shrill notes indicating to all the men to charge.
“Ja!” Wolf yelled. The regiment spurred their horses into a gallop and the thumping hooves turned into a growing storm of thunder. Cavalrymen whipped their animals onward, keeping pace with their brothers in arms.
The dismounted troopers in the field gave a volley into the charging rebels and turned to fall back toward McIntosh’s line. The two full rebel regiments swarmed through the dismounted men not fast enough or wounded. A cluster of troopers took refuge in the log cabin farmhouse and surrounding barns.
The gray horsemen surrounded the barn and house, peppering it with pistol and rifle rounds. The Southerners expertly began the process of rolling the dismounted troopers back toward the Low Dutch Road. It was a mixture of corralling the 5th, slaughtering the resisters, and capturing those too tired to escape. Dismounted Union troopers threw their weapons to the ground, raising hands in the air. All while the 7th and 13th built into an angry storm.
Custer’s men chewed farmed earth beneath their hooves. Tossing clumps of dirt high into the air, they were a tempest of violence coming on with feverish energy. The dismounted troopers from the 5th Michigan, 1st New Jersey, and 3rd Pennsylvania, still in the field shifted their remaining line to give room for the descending regiments. Battle calls were made from the charging troopers. The regimental flag flapped in the wind and F Company’s guidon whipped as the horses hit full stride across the field still in tight formation.
The 1st Virginians had seen them now. They wheeled with confidence and proper order, maintaining their composure with few gaps that rapidly were filled. Kicking their mounts to a gallop, they adjusted to meet the charging Northern horsemen.
On the flank of the mounted men, the 7th Michigan took a withering volley from Chambliss’s dismounted troopers. The green unit swerved and changed course. Screams carried from the tired lungs of both men and horses alike as they were driven into a fence made of stone and wood, disrupting any sort of order they’d maintained.
Rebels waited on the other side pouring lead from pistols and rifles into the horsemen. Men, mostly no older than eighteen, crumpled from their saddles as the bullets struck their bodies. Wolf tried to ignore the calls for help as men were cut down with the scythes of war. The 13th had its own bulwark to climb, except this was man and horse.
The gray and brown wall ahead of them accelerated until the cavalries were almost upon one another. One could see their faces now. Wild angry eyes, beards drenched in sweat, open mouths calling for blood, sabers and swords raised at their enemies, pistols in hands, and battle glee.
Wolf made eye contact with the rebel directly across from him. This would be the man he would be closest to when the lines struck like a titan clapping two monstrous hands, one blue and one gray together. His horse was brown, not dissimilar from Billy. His beard was coffee-colored but his chin was streaked with gray, the wind forcing it against his neck as he rode. The man’s nose was bulbous and although Wolf couldn’t make out the color of his eyes they stared through the Union men as if they didn’t exist.
The rebels pointed pistols as they encroached within fifteen yards. The Federal cavalry leaned close to their mounts, shrinking their bodies and merging into one with the animals to avoid the death whistling overhead. Pistol fire sprinkled from each side, not enough to slow the charging forces.
“For the Union!” Custer shouted.
The mass of men and horses collided with a booming crash of flesh on flesh and the chaos began.
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Grilling. I can’t wait to come out of hibernation and get back to grilling food outside.
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Daniel is the award-winning author of The End Time Saga and the historical fiction Northern Wolf Series. Whether it’s a saber charge in the American Civil War or a gun battle between two rival bands surviving a hellish landscape, he is known for his ability to embed every page with fast-paced action, thrilling suspense, and gritty realism.
He is an avid traveler and physical fitness enthusiast with a deep passion for history. The works of George R.R. Martin, Steven Pressfield, Bernard Cornwell, Robert Jordan, and George Romero, have inspired his work. Although he is a Midwesterner for life, he's lived in Virginia long enough to consider it home.
He is a proud member of the Horror Writers Association and the Historical Novel Society.
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