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Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Trail of Crosses

Jane Mannering can shoot a rifle and handle a knife as well as any Englishman. However, she is no match for the red-painted warriors who ambush her section of a Colonial caravan the moment she and her comrades reach the shores of Virginia.
Jane plots their escape during a forced march inland, leaving a trail of maltese crosses carved on the trees – their pre-agreed upon signal of distress. All the while, she fumes over what interest their captors could possibly have in a twenty-three-year-old spinster and a rugged band of brick masons, sawyers, and farmers.
When the ruthless Chief Wanchese intercepts them at the crossroads of the Great Trading Path, Jane is shaken to discover their greatest enemy plans to keep her for himself. It’s a pity he’s the only man on two continents who’s ever stirred her heart. Alas, she has an entire colony to save, and capturing his attentions is not part of their escape plan.

Trail Of Crosses (Historical Romance/Action & Adventure)
By Jo Grafford
Book Two of The Lost Colony
Clean Read
Price $3.99 Kindle
378 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Impossible To Put Down.”

We first meet Jane Mannering in Book One, “Breaking Ties”, learning that she is a 23 or 24-year-old spinster, not catching men’s eye, nor wishing to. Tall and thin for a woman, she was raised as a hunter and trapper, she is equally skilled with a gun, bow, and knife, and can usually best any man; in fact, she carries three knives on her person at all times. I liked her immediately, as she reminded me Davy Crockett, and many of our early tamers of the land. In this novel she takes front stage. Captured by slavers in asavage attack, she and several companions are taken to a slave market to be sold. Chief Manteo, who was leading the colonists at the time, sends his cousin Chief Wanchese to rescue her.

Chief Wanchese has been smitten with the tall woman ever since the colonists’ arrival, so eagerly trails the slavers. Rescuing her and several others, he leads them back to his village instead of reuniting them with their fellow colonist’s. Being her independent nature she refuses to easily adjust to the role of a woman, wishing to be recognized as a hunter, trapper, and fighter, but Chief Wanchese is determined to tame this proud woman, and make her his mate.  All this while slavers and enemy tribes persists in causing problems, a fierce cyclone, and smallpox plaque the village, as well as unrest within the camp itself. Believe me, this is not just a romance novel, we have plenty of action, and the characterization is wonderful. I did get a chuckle when Jane kills a hooded cobra (native of Asia, not America) in the New World.

Most often reality is harsher than fiction, but it’s in our nature to hope terrible situations end with a positive outcome. Many rumors still contend that The Lost Colony was slaughtered by the indigenous peoples in the New World. However, some facts do remain to lead us in the opposite direction that some may have survived. During the early 17th Century to mid 18th Century natives were found with light skin, blond hair, and blue eyes, a strong indication that the survivors of The Lost Colony intermingled with the local native tribes; many claimed their forbearers originally arrived from the sea in great boats. Whatever the truth of the 115 colonists that disappeared, we want to believe the best in their disappearance. Although Jo Grafford’s novel is fiction, we can still hope that her Romantic tale about the Lost Colony is at least partially true. This was a wonderful read, and I highly recommend it to readers of historical romance, and high adventure. There is never a dull minute in this great action adventure novel of another period. There is one problem with the book, however - I didn’t want to put it down!

Tom Johnson
Echoes Magazine


  1. Oh wow! Just returned into town to read your awesome review. Thank you so much, Tom. Glad you enjoyed the "second installment" of the saga of the Lost Colonists of Roanoke. Really appreciate the beautiful feature on the Pulp Den.


  2. My pleasure, Jo. Remember me when Book #3 comes out (g).