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A Passel of Trouble: The Saga of Loyalist Partisan David Fanning Paperback – November 9, 2016
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"Taut. Gritty. Riveting. Compelling. A must read for those seeking well-written fact-based fiction. Those words partially illuminate former Green Beret Joe Epley's second telling of the story of the brutal Revolutionary War fought in the Carolinas, A Passel of Trouble.
The novel's hero (or anti-hero, depending on one's point-of-view), is real-life partisan Loyalist David Fanning, notorious in the annals of this war's history for cunning, tactical brilliance, and audacious actions. From the moment that that young David Fanning crawled out of the muck that harbored his emaciated, tortured and near-dead body in 1770, through his seven-year evolution into the most feared and accomplished Loyalist leader of the Revolutionary War in the Carolinas, the drama literally leaps from the pages of this 422-page novel."
-- Tryon Daily Bulletin
"Epley's exhaustive research offers a clear perspective on the second and third order effects of America's war for independence on the families of the Carolinas and the ensuing partisan warfare which claimed thousands of lives." --Lieutenant General(Retired) Michael S. Tucker, US Army
"In Epley's skillful hands, Fanning's story crackles with excitement -- bold action, narrow escapes -- set against the backdrop of the American struggle for independence. A compelling tale, mighty well told." -- Robert Inman, author of Liberty Mountain, The Revolutionary War Drama
"The author combines his academic rigor with novelistic strokes, showing how David's feats on the battlefield became the fodder of legend, even myth... Epley's protagonist leads a wildly adventurous life that's often riveting. It's also exceedingly rare to see a sympathetic treatment of the Loyalist side--fictional or otherwise--which makes this novel an uncommon treat."
About the Author
Joe Epley is a guy who has worn many hats over his adult life -- Green Beret, television journalist, public relations executive, change agent and now, novelist. He also has canoed Arctic wilderness rivers, hiked the Australian outback and helped restore homes destroyed by hurricanes. His first historical novel won an award from the Military Writers Society of America and was named "Editor's Choice" by the Historical Novel Society. For nearly 40 years, he led Epley Associates, a successful public relations firm in Charlotte, N.C., and achieved international recognition for his leadership in the field. He was president of the Public Relations Society of America and at various times headed its prestigious College of Fellows, Counselors Academy, and the PRSA Foundation. He was a co-founder and global chair of the Worldcom Public Relations Group, the world’s largest consortium of independent public relations firms. In addition to lecturing at universities and before professional groups throughout the world, he helped introduce the PR profession to Russia in the waning days of the Soviet Union. During his career, he also held leadership roles in a number of organizations. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of The Marketing Alliance, a public traded life insurance brokerage firm that serves independent agents nationwide, and the Military Writers Society of America. Among Joe’s honors is the Gold Anvil, the highest award in the public relations profession for lifetime achievement. In addition to his election to the University of North Carolina’s Journalism School Public Relations Hall of Fame and the alumni hall of fame for the Defense Information School, he has been awarded of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest award for noteworthy citizens. After selling his business in Charlotte in 2005, Joe retired with his wife to the wooded hills near Tryon, N.C. where he continues public service work in addition to research and writing about the American Revolutionary War. He remains active as public relations consultant and as an advisor for international public relations studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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This sequel not only lives up to the author-historian’s impressive debut novel of 2013, 'A Passel of Hate', it adds dimensions and perspectives that reflect diligent research, soul-searching, and attention to craft that enshrine him as one of the most significant chroniclers of Revolutionary War history.
The Tryon, North Carolina author spins this remarkable saga through the eyes of real characters, and his fertile mind makes the entire read exciting, and believable. Epley bravely tells the story from the Loyalist viewpoint without prejudice – he leaves it to readers to side with and root for the Americans fighting for independence, and the liberty all Americans enjoy today.
The novel’s hero (or anti-hero, depending on one’s point-of-view), is real-life partisan Loyalist David Fanning, notorious in the annals of this war’s history for cunning, tactical brilliance, and audacious actions. From the moment that that young David Fanning crawled out of the muck that harbored his emaciated, tortured and near-dead body in 1770, through his seven-year evolution into the most feared and accomplished Loyalist leader of the Revolutionary War in the Carolinas, the drama literally leaps from the pages of this 422-page novel.
The sequences frame actual battles; but the realistic dialogue, inter-actions and expressed emotions are those posed by the master storyteller.
The story begins with the initial 1775 battle pitting - backcountry Loyalists against neighboring revolutionaries, through the British evacuation from Charles Town (Charleston SC) in 1782.
Fanning fought in the first battle in the south then went on the run for three years, except for the 14 times he was captured by patriot forces. His escapes were especially remarkable because of his ability to survive in backcountry wilderness. He often hid out along the Green River, now a part of Polk County SC.
Fanning’s last two war years were fought in central North Carolina, where his leadership and exploits won praise from the British, and caused dread among Americans fighting for independence.
Epley does not spare the reader as he relentlessly and graphically portrays the unspeakable cruelties of war, and of the humans who conduct them. He insightfully apportions charges of avarice and greed in equal measure in this noble/ignoble example of war making, and war mongering.
Historian James Watterson in his biography of Governor Thomas Burke wrote: “Fanning’s tactics defied suppression. His clandestine movements, executed usually by night over remote and difficult terrain, were exceptionally hard to contain."
Epley’s paean to our forbearers clearly reflects the savage intensity and patriotism in that first war, however partisan, and graphically memorializes why its blood-soaked battlefield soil is forever sacred to this nation.
Epley’s historian voice seamlessly merges the brutality and gore of the war with his humanitarian voice that pays homage to the sanctity of nature - before it is despoiled by man. Neither aspect dominates the other.
That the war no doubt was waged very closely to the way Epley describes it is to his credit, as both a novelist and an historian.
(Reviewer and author Jack J. Prather’s seven books include ‘Twelve Notables in Western North Carolina’ and ‘Six Notable Women of North Carolina’ that were nominated for the NC Literary & Historical Association’s Ragan Award for Non-Fiction in 2013 and 2016.)
It is with this talent that he has put before us the life of one David Fanning. Young David suffered a difficult start in life. One that followed him all his days, yet did not succeed in stopping him from rising to a high profile during America's Revolutionary Conflict. He was able to gain the attention of leaders on both sides during the war. On the Loyalist side he was revered as a leader and warrior, on the Patriot side, a feared and dreaded opponent.
Mr. Epley's narrative of the exploits of David Fanning, and the struggles of the folk of the Carolinas and Georgia during the Revolution made an immediate impression on me that each side held strong convictions as to their leanings. I now, as a result of this book, approach the world of Politics with a new vow to try to see both sides of issues, and not let passion guide my thoughts. I am a patriotic soul, and still get a tightness in my throat, when the Flag goes by, or Our National Anthem is sung. But in the story of David Fanning, I could clearly see the picture from his and his followers point of view.
My ancestors, some of which marched to the same drum as did David Fanning, and others which stood with weapons at ready against him., have been pushed to the front of my thoughts, and to the point of much more research after this great story. I could write several more paragraphs in praise, but I had rather put aside my thoughts, and encourage you to take the time and read "A Passel of Trouble" by my friend Joe Epley.
My only regret Joe, is the book ended, before I was ready, but is was a story well told and ended properly, so now Sir, "More".