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A Strange and Bitter Fruit [Kindle Edition]

Barry Davis
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (327 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.90
Kindle Price: $5.99
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  • Length: 326 pages
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Book Description

A chilly spring night in rural South Carolina at the tail end of Reconstruction, the murder of innocents. This is the setting for the initial chapter of the historical thriller, A Strange and Bitter Fruit.

Thomas “Tee” Powell, 15, manages to escape as his family is lynched. His father, Zeke, mother Hessie and young sisters Lannie and Effie were hung to teach the blacks of Aiken that voting is not the right of the former slaves, not anymore.

He is angry, but instead of wildly lashing out at the Klansmen that murdered his family, he runs away. After a disastrous detour to Tallahassee, Tee joins the Army and ends up in the West, at a remote Army outpost on the lip of the Black Hills. Here, he grows up and begins to accept responsibility for his life and for the lives of others. After six years, the past, in the form of two of the Klansmen, one now a U.S. Senator on a mission to sign a treaty with the Indians, confronts him.

He had buried his past deep, even changing his last name. Now, he has to confront it head on, starting with the two killers that entered his fort. Trained by the Army to kill, Tee emerges from his exile and takes revenge on those that committed the murder of his family, beginning with the two men. His purpose is now clear, he must take revenge, and he proceeds ruthlessly to do so. But revenge has its own cost, and Tee suffers that price. Many innocent people are killed, and he struggles with the guilt.

A Strange and Bitter Fruit is the story of revenge and its consequences. It is a story of violence and race, a true American story. The novel raises serious questions: Is there a limit on revenge? Is there an act so horrible that any response, no matter how vicious, is just?

A Strange and Bitter Fruit, although it takes place in the 19th Century, confronts the reader with many of the issues of race and violence that we continue to live with today.


Editorial Reviews

From the Author

As of November, 2013 A Strange and Bitter Fruit has been downloaded by over 50,000 readers. Thanks to all those readers and especially those who have taken their valuable time to review the novel.  Based upon your feedback the updated version of the text has corrected some editing issues.   I also took the opportunity to fine-tune the work for historical accuracy.  (For example, I had central Philadelphia wired for electricity 2-3 years before it actually occurred.  Not a significant part of the narrative but I strive for perfection.)
 
A Strange and Bitter Fruit as a literary work remains unchanged - it is still an exciting but brutal tale of significance told with honesty and passion. 
 
Thanks again for reading.

About the Author

I am a University of Pennsylvania engineering graduate who currently lives in suburban Philadelphia with my wife, Deb, and our two girls. I have been writing for the past 10 years. I have written screen plays, novels and short stories and I have had several short stories published in webzines and print magazines. I write the type of material that I read - urban crime, thrillers, horror, historical and humor.  I am an avid cyclist and gamer.  A Philly boy through and through, I live and die (mostly die) with my Philly sports teams and I have never met a cheesesteak or soft pretzel I didn't like.  I write to educate, provoke and inspire.  I want readers to be uncomfortable, shaken from the 'zones' we inhabit.  If my writing does not accomplish that, I have failed.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1643 KB
  • Print Length: 326 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003A846YK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,627 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
(327)
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Promise of Things to Come September 22, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First and foremost, this guy can spin a yarn. On the surface it would appear to be just a straight ahead revenge tale but the author throws in some plot twists that I'm sure you won't see coming. That said, there are major issues which could have been fixed with a good proof read and some minor editing that distract me time and time again. Even so, I still really enjoyed the story and can't wait until Mr. Davis gets his feet under him and really settles into his style. Technique can be learned but he's got something I don't think can be taught - he's a storyteller.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT June 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a moving book, a story of a young man born into slavery. When the Civil War comes along and slaves are free, technically, the lords of the manors still feel they have the right to discipline any person of color who gets out of line. Their word for such behavior is uppity.
The story opens with this young man running from the KKK as his parents and two younger sisters are lynched. The title comes from a song comparing swinging, swollen bodies to strange fruit, but I only know that cause I'm pushing 60. We aren't told why the family 'deserved' this treatment for most of the book.
The boy escapes, gets into a minor skirmish that isn't his fault and escapes again. He seems to be an accomplished soldier on the frontier, but you can't escape racism. Strangely enough, our former slave seems to be one of the few people interested in making peace with indigenous people. The worst Lt. at the fort would rather kill every person of color he sees, even if they're wearing the same uniform as he is.
A bloodbath ensues. It gives him a head start on the revenge he had always planned to take on the klansmen who tied the nooses.
But now they know he's coming; he has to hide for a little while. While hiding, he falls in love. And she doesn't believe in revenge.
There's much more to the story than this. And you can tell I haven't explained all of it. There are more tears before there's any joy, but there's plenty of both before this story is told.
I only have one objection to this book. While Tee was on the frontier the author said counting coup was killing a man. No, Mr. Davis, it isn't.
Counting coup is considered the ultimate act of bravery. A warrior would touch his enemy. That's all. Usually the warrior would use a coup stick, more slender than even a drumstick. Touch your enemy and leave. Turn your back on an armed man and walk away. Do you see why counting coup requires more bravery than killing a man?
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely excellent March 10, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Someone please tell me that there plans on making a movie out of this book. The first pages had me hooked. I was very against ebooks at first. Now I can't put this kindle down. I search everyday for something to read. This book was a great find.

I routed for the main character the whole way. But in the end God will work it out. Don't want to ruin it for you. It is a great book.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome March 26, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Omg. I love historical fiction, and this book did not disappoint. The storyline was great. The characters so real. I felt like I was right there with them. This author has the ability to make you feel each and everyone of the characters. Keep up the great writing. I will definitely find more books written by this wonderful author.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good plot, flawed execution August 14, 2013
By Gary S.
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a powerful, but flawed, historical novel. I am a retired American history teacher, and I have studied the period of Reconstruction. The plot of "Strange and Bitter Fruit" grabbed me from the first page. Though generally true to this period, there were some historical errors. For example, the author has "renegade" Indians in Dakota Territory speaking Cherokee, not a dialect of the Lakota languages. He also has electric wires over the streets of Philadelpuia in 1883. This is 5 to 10 years too early. The main problems I found were the many spelling errors, and a failure to do basic editing. At one point, I seriously considered stopping reading of this book. I am glad I continued, for the endinfg was powerful. Thomas "Tee" Powell was a very strong character who had to deal with a devastating moral dilemma. This book is worth reading.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great and Thrilling February 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The author keep you at the edge of your seat the entire book. His writing style was extremely engaging, and allowed you to actually visualize the characters and what was happening to them. I have already downloaded another one of his books.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Strange And Bitter Fruit by Barry C. Davis April 2, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This book was very very good! So many things that happened in the book happened in real life. The promising of rewards but receiving death instead. A must read for everyone.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The ‘n’ word is used quite extensively. Lots of other bad words are in the book. A few naughty bedroom scenes, none of which involve people who are otherwise married to each other. But that isn’t what gives offense from this story set in reconstruction and post-reconstruction America.

What really offends is a time and place when the sheriff and some of his sidekicks can lynch a man, apparently because he was getting people registered to vote. While he was on a horse with the rope around his neck, he watched his wife get lynched. Moments before that, they both watched three of their children swing from the rope. Next day, all the black folks in the area were marched out to see the bodies, then asked who else wanted to vote.

What’s offensive is a time and place when it’s okay that one of the people who orchestrated the above event could rape a slave, ship her to a far off plantation to give birth to the resulting child, place the child to be raised in a white family when mild complexion and red hair appear, watch over the adult as his son, and the key people in the county (but not the son) know all about it.

A white soldier who hates blacks so much that he beats, shoots, and kills soldiers in the U.S. Army merely because they are black. Now that’s offensive.

A national detective agency that will kill as many black people as you want, if you pay an adequate fee. Kidnapping the target’s children is no extra charge, since they are on the kill list. That’s offensive.

The author labels killing off alpha males and females in the post-reconstruction era as terrorism. Sort of hard to disagree with that assessment based on my other reading of the times.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Not my normal type to read
This was an excellent well written book. I enjoyed every minute of it. As i said not my normal reading preference but I would and will recommend to others. Great Job!!!!!
Published 1 month ago by saucybuff
5.0 out of 5 stars An unflinching tale of a man in Reconstruction era America
Mr. Barry Davis is a man after my heart. This was a wonderfully written and chilling tale of a man who struggled to do the right thing against the odds. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Derek Kruger
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting history lesson
I guess I was more overtaken by the generation passing their sin onto their children. You may not think your pride and your
Prejudices are showing but be aware of what you... Read more
Published 3 months ago by rglaes
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read. I found myself going from victim to perpetrator and back many times.
Published 4 months ago by sally j shiley
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie Material
This is one of the best books that I have read in a long time. I usually do not read books like this, but as I like to read black historical fiction and nonfiction, I tried it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by GeorgiaPeach
4.0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed this book and there is only one reason I ...
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and there is only one reason I did not give it a five. Around the 258th page when Sara convinced her husband Tee aka Thomas to be allowed to got... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Big Sistah Patty
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great transaction!
Published 7 months ago by Lucynda P. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars good book hard to put down wanted to see what ...
good book hard to put down wanted to see what happens next wakes you up to what used to happen long ago
Published 7 months ago by Pat Morse
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Have not read the book.
Published 7 months ago by Dan
5.0 out of 5 stars I have recommended it several friends
It grabs you form the first page. I literally couldn't put the book down. It is historical fiction, a thriller, and so much more. Read more
Published 8 months ago by T. Brown
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More About the Author

I am a University of Pennsylvania engineering graduate who currently lives in suburban Philadelphia with my wife, Deb, and our two girls. I have been writing for the past 10 years. I have written screen plays, novels and short stories and I have had several short stories published in webzines and print magazines. I write the type of material that I read - urban crime, thrillers, horror, historical and humor. I am currently working on a follow-up to my novel A STRANGE AND BITTER FRUIT. Look for it in December 2015.

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