Thomas E. Simmons is the author of The Man Called Brown Condor, Forgotten Heroes of WWII, and Escape from Archangel. By Accident of Birth is the first in a two-part series with The Last Quinn Standing to release in 2016. He has also written numerous magazine articles, an example of which, Growing Up With Mr. Faulkner, was published in The Oxford American, a literary magazine founded by John Grisham.

          

BY ACCIDENT OF BIRTH

A conception by accident, a life of purposeful adventure.

The epic account of the life of Beverly Bethany Quinn. A most incredible life and tragic end begins in 1915 as BB Quinn receives a call from the British Crown saying she is in possession of a cache of arms stored in her sugar mill warehouse in Cuba. An era she thought long past is resurrected in the last “special cargo” shipment to England to aid the allies in WWI. In preparation for the trip, she re-reads her mother’s and Dr. Perkins diaries which brings us to that fate-filled day in 1863 and takes us on a journey we will never forget…

- Five Star Reviews -

First-class fiction, by George Thatcher

This is a book that could climb to the top of the best-seller list. The author artfully tells the story of one family beginning with the siege of Vicksburg and ending during World War I. The plot includes the actions of real, historic personages such as General Fitzhugh Lee (Robert E. Lee's nephew), artists like Manet and Renoir, the captain of the Lusitania, and many others. Settings vary from Vicksburg to Paris to Havana, and elsewhere. Without reservation, I recommend the book to readers as first-class fiction. It is a good read!

                                                    

Amazing Page Turner, by Lovee

I gave this book five stars, because even though it's not the type of book I usually read, I just couldn't put it down. I usually read more than one book at a time, but I hardly read my other books. It is well written with good character development for a modern action adventure novel. It has war and romance. I had to find out what happened to Bethany. Also, the plot had all kinds of twists and turns. Since it is also a historical fiction novel, some general predictions can be made, if you know history, but that's it. The author uses the history to transport the reader to that place and time. It also shows how important heritage and culture are to people from the South. It also shows another side of the Civil War, a history that is not usually taught. It gives the Southern side a human face. As a result, the reader is pulled into the story. In addition, there is a bibliography at the end so that the reading doesn't have to end. In fact, it has motivated me to read more Spanish history and to refresh my memory of French history and culture. I don't want to get too specific because I don't want to spoil any of the book for anyone else. That is a real danger in writing reviews for novels. I recommend this book to everyone who wants to be pulled into a story, but also who enjoys being given more to read which leads to even more reading.

     

Historical fiction at its best, by Avid Reader

Historical fiction is my favorite read but I want to be thoroughly entertained while learning some solid history. This book does just that; an astonishing blend of fictional and real characters woven into historical events in a highly readable saga that sweeps from the U.S. Civil War through the Spanish-American war to the cusp of WW I. Following the very human and complex protagonist, Beverly Bethany Quinn, we live through the Siege of Vicksburg, post-war hardships, travel Europe, board sailing vessels and battleships and live in Cuba while the events and deceptions leading to “Remember the Maine” are intricately told; we understand how war’s horrors in one time and place spread far to affect other countries and haunt future generations. It is impossible to tell where the line lies between truth and fiction as the fictitious characters and famous historic figures interact yet the author’s extensive research and factual detailed descriptions assure the reader of authenticity. As the tag line from a beloved 1950’s Walter Cronkite TV series said, “all things are as they were then and you are there.”

      

A great read, by Martha Sullivan

All her life a beauty in the eyes of others, Bethany Quinn considers herself a “freak” because of the circumstances of her birth and “fortune’s whore” because of the war-shadowed path she is compelled to follow. Conceived through violence, she continues life along an often bloody path that carries her from childhood into womanhood, from rural postwar Reconstruction Mississippi to the Caribbean, from war-scarred Paris to civil war in Cuba. There are two loves in her life, one lost to the Orient, the other, a wounded prisoner of the Spanish. At one point she sinks to the edge of madness from the part she plays in an unintended disaster. With help, she finds the will and strength to recover only to be swept up in yet another war. All aspects of the work are controlled in a flowing and creative style that plays within the confines of historical events and geographical settings, a sweeping tale full of drama, passion and adventure spanning the less traveled period from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of World War I (1863-1915). By Accident of Birth suffuses well-researched, factual incidents with fiction in a seamless manner that gives the reader historic realism during a memorable and exciting journey.

      

Bravo! The best book ever, by Jeanie

From page one, I was drawn into the life of BB Quinn. Immediately, there was the vision of a montage of Scout, Scarlet O’Hara, and Elizabeth Swann; a spunky, gorgeous, raven-haired, green-eyed Tom-boy who never had ‘can’t’ in her vocabulary. Raised by Negro nannies and men of stature (a doctor and a gun-runner), she learned her manners as well as how to handle guns and men; both of which she would never really trust. You could not help but cheer her on and keep turning pages. I craved more at the end, but I won’t have to wait long. The sequel, The Last Quinn Standing, will be out soon. This is a book I will purchase and give as gifts for years to come.

    

Winner of a Gold Medal Award from the Military Writers Society of America

THE MAN CALLED BROWN CONDOR:

The Forgotten History of an African American Fighter Pilot

   

How did a black child, growing up in segregationist Mississippi during the early 1900s, become the commander of the Imperial Ethiopian Air Corps during the brutal Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935? In this gripping, never-before-told tale, biographer Thomas Simmons.

- Five Star Reviews -

“The story of John C. Robinson, born in segregated Mississippi at the turn of the century, and his remarkable story of not just becoming a pilot but rising to become the commander of the Ethiopian Air Force during the Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Simmons spent over 20 years researching the remarkable life of John D. Robinson, who rose from segregationist Mississippi to become a distinguished pilot, founder of the Tuskegee Institute’s school of aviation, a bold defender of Ethiopia during the 1935 Italian invasion, and, finally, founder of the Ethiopian Air Force.” (Library Journal)

“An inspiring affirmation that celebrates the old adage that where there’s a will, there’s a way, even against seemingly impossible odds.” (Kirkus Reviews)

      

Forgotten Heroes of World War II:
Personal Accounts of Ordinary Soldiers Land, Sea, and Air 2nd Edition

World War II was the defining event of the twentieth century. For everyone, it was a time of confusion, fear, destruction, and death on a scale never before seen. Much has been written of the generals, campaigns, and battles of the war, but it was young, ordinary American kids who held our freedom in their hands as they fought for liberty across the globe. Forgotten Heroes of World War II offers a personal understanding of what was demanded of these young heroes through the stories of rank-and-file individuals who served in the navy, marines, army, air corps, and merchant marine in all theaters of the war. Their tales are told without pretense or apology. At the time, each thought himself no different from those around him, for they were all young, scared, and miserable. They were the ordinary, the extraordinary—the forgotten.

    

Escape from Archangel:
An American Merchant Seaman at War
   

During World War II, merchant marine tankers in convoys plied the frozen North Atlantic through the flaming wreckage of torpedoed ships. Working to keep sea lanes open, valiant merchant seamen supplied food, fuel, and goods to the Allies in the last pockets of European resistance to the Nazis.

This exciting book acknowledges that the merchant marines, all volunteers, are among the unsung heroes of the war. One of these was Jac Smith, an ordinary seamen on the Cedar Creek, a new civilian tanker lend-leased to the U.S.S.R. and in the merchantman convoy running from Scotland to Murmansk. Smith's riveting adventures at sea and in the frozen taigas and tundra are a story of valor that underlines the essential role of merchant marines in the war against the Axis powers.

This gripping narrative tells of a cruel blow that fate dealt Smith when, after volunteering to serve on the tanker headed for Murmansk, he was arrested and interned in a Soviet work camp near Arkhangelsk.
Escape from Archangel recounts how this American happened to be imprisoned in an Allied country and how he planned and managed his escape. In his arduous 900-mile trek to freedom, he encountered the remarkable Laplanders of the far north and brave Norwegian resistance fighters. While telling this astonishing story of Jac Smith and of the awesome dangers merchant seamen endured while keeping commerce alive on the seascape of war, Escape from Archangel brings long-deserved attention to the role of the merchant marine and their sacrifices during wartime.

       

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