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Honor in the Dust: A Winslow Breed Novel Paperback – August 25, 2009

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Product Details

  • Series: A Winslow Breed Novel (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416587462
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416587460
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gilbert Morris
is the bestselling author of more than 200 novels, several of which won Christy and Silver Angel awards. He is a retired English professor. He lives in Gulf Shores, Alabama, with his family.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


May 1497
Sussex, England

Claiborn Winslow leaned forward and patted his horse’s sweaty neck. “Well done, Ned.” He had pushed the stallion harder than he liked, but after so many months away he was hungry for home. He straightened in the saddle and gazed with pleasure at Stoneybrook, the Winslows’ ancestral castle. It had withstood siege and battle, and it bore all the marks that time makes upon structures as well as upon men. There was nothing particularly beautiful about Stoneybrook. There were many castles in England that had more pleasing aspects. But Claiborn loved it more than any other.

The spring had brought a rich emerald-green growth to all the countryside, and verdant fields nuzzled against the very walls of Stoneybrook. If they were any indication, the summer’s harvest would be good, indeed. The castle itself crowned a hill and was dominated by a formidable wall, outside of which a small village thrived. Even now, late in the day, people and carts and horses moved in and out of the central gate, and on the battlements Claiborn saw the banner of Winslow fluttering in the late-afternoon breeze, as if beckoning to him.

“My heaven, it’s good to be home!”

He laughed at himself, adding, “I’m talking to myself. I must be worse off than I thought.” His mind cascaded back to the battles he had seen, rare but fierce, and the men he had encountered. Some dreaded battle, feared it and could not force themselves forward. Others found joy in the clash of weapons and the shouts of victory when the battle was over. Claiborn was one of these, finding a natural rhythm to battle, a path from start to finish that seemed to be preordained for him. When the trumpets sounded and the drums rolled, his heart burned with excitement. God help him, he loved it. Loved being a soldier. But this, returning to Stoneybrook, had its own charm.

“Come on, Ned.” Kicking his horse’s sides Claiborn guided the animal to the village gate, and as he passed through, he ran across an old acquaintance, Ryland Tolliver, one of the blacksmiths who served Lord Edmund Winslow and the others of the family as well.

“Well, bless my soul!” Ryland boomed. “If it’s not the soldier home from the wars!” He was a bulky man, his shoulders broad, his hands like steel hooks from his years at the forge. He laughed as Claiborn dismounted. “Good to see you, man. You’re just getting home. All in one piece, I see.”

“All in one piece.” The two men shook hands, and Claiborn had to squeeze hard to keep his hand from being crushed by the burly blacksmith. “How are things here? My mother and my brother?”

“The same as they were when you left. What did you expect? We’d fall to pieces without you to keep us straight?”

“No, I’m not as vain as that. I’m sure the world would jog on pretty well without me.”

“Tell me about the wars, man.”

“Not now. I need to go see my family. But I’ll come back later. We’ll have enough ale to float a ship. I’ll tell you lies about how I won the battles. You can tell lies about how you’ve won over the virtue of poor Sally McFarland.”

“Sally McFarland? Why, she left here half a year ago.”

“I thought you were going to marry that girl.”

“She had other ideas. A blacksmith wasn’t good enough for her.” He looked at Ned and said, “Not much of a horse.”

“He’s a stayer. That’s what I like. He needs shoeing, though. I’ll leave him with you. Feed him something good. He’s had a hard journey.”

“That I’ll do.” He took the reins from Claiborn. “What about you, master? What brings you home at long last?”

Claiborn glanced back at him, and a smile touched his broad lips. “Well, I’m thinking about taking a wife.”

“A wife? You? Why, you were made to be a bachelor man! Half the women in this village stare at you when you walk down the street.”

“You boast on my behalf, but even if it was God’s own truth, I’d not have just any woman.”

“Ah, I see. So have you got one picked out?”

“Of course! Grace Barclay had my heart when we courted and she has never let it go.”

“Oh, yes, Grace Barclay.” There was a slight hesitation in the blacksmith’s speech. He opened his lips again to speak, but then something came over him, and he clamped them together for a moment.

“Ryland, what is it? Grace is well?” Claiborn said, his heart seizing at the look on the blacksmith’s face.

“She is well. Still pretty as ever.” Ryland had ceased smiling, and he lifted the reins in his hand. “I best go and take care of the horse. He must have a thirst.”

“As do I. I’ll return on the morrow. Give him a good feed too. He’s earned it.”

The servants were busy putting the evening meal together, and as he passed into the great hall, Claiborn spoke to many of them. He was smiling and remembering their names, and they responded to him well. He had always been a favorite with the servants, far more than his brother Edmund, the master of Stoneybrook, and enjoyed his special status. He paused beside one large woman who was pushing out of her clothing and said, “Martha, your shape is more … womanly than when I departed.”

The cook giggled and said, “Away with you now, sir. None of your soldier’s ways around here.”

He grinned. “You are expecting a little one. It is nothing shameful, I assume.”

“Shush! Mind that we’re in public, sir. Such conversation is unseemly!” Her face softened and she leaned closer. “I married George, you know. A summer past.”

“Well, good for George. With a good woman and a babe on the way, he must be content, indeed. What’s for supper?”

“Nothing special, but likely better than some of the meals you’ve had.”

“You’re right about that. Soldier’s fare is pretty rough stuff.”

Passing on, Claiborn felt a lightness in his spirit. There was something about coming home that did something inside a man. He thought of the many campfires he had huddled next to in the fields, sometimes in drizzling rain and sometimes bitter-cold weather, dreaming of the smells and the sounds of Stoney-brook, wishing he were back. And now, at last, he was.

He turned to see his brother, emerging from the central door. “Edmund!”

He hurried forward to meet Edmund and said, “It’s good to see you, Brother.”

“And you,” Edmund said, holding him at arm’s length to get a good look. “No wounds this round?”

“Nothing that hasn’t healed,” Claiborn returned.

“Good, good. Mother will be so relieved.”

The two turned to walk together down a passageway that would lead to their mother’s apartments. Claiborn restrained his pace, accommodating his smaller, older brother’s shorter stride. “All is well here, Brother? You are well?”

“Never better. There is much to tell you. But it can wait until we sup.”

A servant had just departed, after breathlessly telling Leah that her son had returned. Lady Winslow wished she had a moment to run a brush through her gray hair, but she could already hear her sons making their way down the corridor. She rose, straightening her skirts. How many nights had she prayed for Claiborn’s return, feared for his very life! And here he was at last.

The two paused at her door. Leah’s hand went to her breast as she surveyed her sons. Claiborn’s rich auburn hair with just a trace of gold; Edmund’s dull brown. Claiborn’s broad forehead, sparkling blue eyes, high cheekbones, determined chin, generous lips that so easily curved into a smile. Here, here was the true Lord Winslow, a far more striking figure than his sallow, flabby brother. Her eyes flitted guiltily toward her eldest, wondering if he read her traitorous thoughts.

But Claiborn was already moving forward, arms out, and she rushed to him. He lifted her and twirled around, making her giggle and then flush with embarrassment. “Claiborn, Claiborn!”

He laughed, the sound warm and affectionate, and then gently set her on her feet. “You are still lovely, Mother.”

“You are kind to an old woman,” she said. She reached up and cradled his cheek. “The wars … You return to us unhurt?”

“Only aching for home,” he returned.

He took the horsehide-covered seat she offered and Edmund took another. A servant arrived with refreshments and quickly poured.

“Are you hungry, Son?”

“Starved, but this will tide me over until we sup.”

“Well, tell us about the wars,” Edmund said.

“Like all wars—bloody and uncomfortable. I lost some good friends. God be praised, I came through all right.”

Edmund let out a scoffing sound. “Don’t tell me you’ve turned religious!”

“Religious enough to seek my Maker when facing death.”

Edmund laughed. Leah frowned. He had a high-pitched laugh that sounded like the whinnying of a horse.

“Not very religious when you were growing up. I had to thrash you for chasing the maids.”

Claiborn reddened and guiltily glanced at Leah. “I suppose I troubled you greatly.”

“You were young,” Leah put in. “Now you are a man....

More About the Author

Gilbert Morris is among today's most popular Christian writers; his books having sold nearly six million copies worldwide. He specializes in historical fiction and won a 2001 Christy Award for the Civil War drama Edge of Honor. Once a pastor and English professor who earned a Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas, Morris lives with his wife in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
This Christian historical fiction is a delightful read.
William Tyndale proclaims for all to hear that he will translate the Bible from Latin into the language of the commoner.
Harriet Klausner
If these were the ancestors of the House of Winslow, he did an excellent job of telling a good story of their history.
Martha A.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Martha A. on August 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
I hesitated to read this book for review as I hate posting reviews about books I do not like alot, and when I saw it was about the Winslows and by Gilbert Morris, I wondered if I would be able to like it! But since I know that some of Gilbert Morris books I have loved as well as hated some, I got it and I am glad I did. It may be a precursor to the long House of Winslow series, but you do not see it in this book. I loved the story!
It really wound alot of history through it with King Henry lllV, Anne Boleyn, William Tyndale, and other well known characters in history through it. If these were the ancestors of the House of Winslow, he did an excellent job of telling a good story of their history. Don't get me wrong, I loved the House of Winslow series, the first several that is.... Anyhow, if you enjoy a good historical fictional story, you will enjoy this one. True to Gilbert Morris fashion, the young man in the story is somewhat wild though before coming to Christ, but there is a conversion and change in him that is obvious and not a overnight switch. But because of some of the things mentioned in his wild part of his life, I would recommend this for older readers
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By tiara510 on September 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very hopeful for this book, but was pretty disappointed. I have read many historical fiction novels about the time period this book takes place in, so when historical inaccuracies showed up in this one, it was glaringly obvious. Queen Catherine would not have been still at court at when point in the story when it puts her there and the main character would not have had the access and familiarity with the royal family that he had. It was so unrealistic at points it was painful for me to read. I did like the story of redemption and how Morris tied in the story of the English translation on the Bible, but for historical accuracy, this one gets a big C-.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Katie McCurdy on March 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
Gilbert Morris - known as the grandfather of Christian fiction - has once again crafted a wonderful story set around the time that William Tyndale began translating the bible into the English language. But the story is not of this brave man who gave his life to bringing the Word of God to the common people. Instead, it is the story of Claiborn and Stuart Winslow's life. The book begins with Claiborn's story and then continues on to give Stuart's life the center stage.

He attracts the attention of the king as a young man and lives in the King's courts, where evil runs thick and is openly accepted. Characters often discuss the different affairs King Henry VIII became involved in, but they don't go into much detail except naming the mistresses. While Gilbert doesn't shirk from showing the immorality and adultery that ran high in the courts, he doesn't go much farther than telling it like it was. It was sad and sobering to watch Stuart fall - throwing away his money, purity, and honor - but the message the author conveyed through Stuart's testimony was strong. Stuart fell, but God raised him up.

The writing was different from what I am used to, but it wasn't difficult to read and after a few pages, I was used to it. It was a bit different in that the book opens up with Claiborn and Grace as main characters, and then halfway through the book shifts to their son, Stuart, as the main character.

The culture of that time was really neat to read about. I really enjoy reading a book where I actually learn something about that time period - and that's how it is in "Honor in the Dust"! I have read a few of Gilbert Morris' books through the years, and this is one of my favorites. It really picks up towards the end and for the last hundred pages I could not stop.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Margaret C. VINE VOICE on August 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
"Honor in the Dust" is my first experience reading a book by Gilbert Morris if you can believe that with my loving Christian Historical Fiction, but you can believe that it will not be my last. This being a prequel for a previous Winslow Series, I am excited that there are already some books for me to jump back to as well as being excited for the rest of the Winslow Breed series to come in 2010 and 2011. Set in England in the time period of King Henry VIII makes an interesting background as the story goes through two generations and really brings a reader to care about the families and individual characters involved, one can really see the young men grow and blossom in their relationships.

There are many themes in this book. Besides from being a good read overall, there are lessons available to learn. From similarities in life to Biblical lessons to trying to hold strong in ones "honor" in a temptation arena, the challenges are realistic and hard. With historical characters such as Queen Catherine, King Henry VIII, and William Tyndale make it very interesting. There is sword play and adventure, betrayal and romance, espionage and disguise and a dozen other features that make this an all around enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Sutton on September 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
Honor in the Dust blew me away. I was totally enthralled by the book and didn't want to put it down. I don't think I've ever read a book by Gilbert Morris before, though my husband has and he seemed to enjoy the stories. Now I can see why.

This novel truly impressed me. For people who love reading about King Henry VIII and his many problems having a son, his issues with the church, and his numerous affairs, this will definitely fit that taste. However, the book is more about God using William Tyndale to translate the Bible into English so the common people could read God's word. It follows the infamous Winslow clan that Gilbert is known for creating for his many House of Winslow books.

I love stories that delve so much into the culture that you feel like you are there. Morris does this well with just enough detail to make the setting come alive, but without grossing you out at the same time. He also lets his characters mess things up and suffer the consequences. He doesn't gloss over their sin and the shame that comes with it.

Morris also does a fantastic job of putting his characters into seemingly impossible situations and having God and/or His people come through for them, but not every single time. Life isn't like that and Morris doesn't portray it that way. However, when good triumphs over evil and when God changes the hearts of several characters, as a reader I couldn't help cheering for them. I thoroughly enjoyed this story.
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