Monday, 15 November 2010


Head held high, I’ll admit that I devour every word and line I set my eyes on that touch on the 19th Century American War Between the States: What has become known as THE Civil War.

But if you are to read only one novel based on this world-changing tragedy and travesty, it should be The Ballad of Johnny Madigan by John Bray.

It is Gone With the Wind, The Red Badge of Courage, Andersonville, Gettysburg, Cold Mountain and a shelf full of other finely crafted novels rolled into one new powerful, painstakingly researched and fulfilling piece of historical fiction that should make even the genre itself proud.

BeWrite Books is delighted to announce its release today (Nov 16) in paperback and all ebook formats.

Here’s the back cover note:

***Johnny Madigan's journey starts with a lie – then life presents him with the reality of its most terrible truths.

The lie is told to a Union Army recruiting sergeant on the dockside when Johnny – orphaned, penniless and barely sixteen years old – blushingly claims to be eighteen to join up and march to war.

It's Johnny's first and last lie. And it almost costs him his life, time and time again. Will his next brush with death be his last?

There is no room for make-believe on the blood-soaked killing fields of the bitter battle between the states. He becomes a reluctant killer … and a mourner ... as close friends in blue and stranger-boys in gray are scythed down by the pitiless and ravenous reaper of young lives and innocent dreams.

But it is a dream that sustains Johnny: A young girl who showed kindness to him back in the slums of New York City.

As the mini balls and shells take their awful toll, as he suffers capture, as he struggles to live through the ordeal of a gruesome makeshift hospital, as he plays the deadly game of undercover work to expose a nest of enemy plotters, Johnny has two questions burning in his mind …

Can he survive? And if he can, will he return home in time to thwart his sweetheart's mother's plan for her to become a nun?

John Bray takes no prisoners in this disturbingly detailed telling of the ordeals of that cruelest of all conflicts – civil war. As the pages turn, the reader can only hope that Johnny will survive against all odds, that his endearing innocence will somehow escape being slain or maimed in the bloodbath, that he will save Deidre from life behind a convent's walls. This is a tale terrible yet tender, brutal yet beautiful.***

You can read about the book, read an extended excerpt and also read about the author’s intriguing background by going to the novel in the front page of the bookstore at BeWrite Books’ website ( or simply clicking the open book icon at the top right of this blog post.

The book was written by John Bray, edited by Hugh McCracken and proof read by the entire BB editorial team. Tony Szmuk provided cover art and external and internal design and also produced all ebook formats.

The Ballad of Johnny Madigan is available in paperback at all major and minor online bookstores or on order from your local brick-and-mortar bookshop. Ebook versions are available in the format of choice for all digital reading platforms from all online ebook retail stores. Paperback and ebook formats are also available direct from BeWrite Books at

Sound, exciting, touching  and satisfying reading of rare quality, folks. Beautifully written by a master wordsmith. Highly recommended. Neil M

The first BeWrite Books blog reader to email me ( will receive a free paperback copy hot off the press. Three others can claim the ebook edition in the digital format of their choice. N


  1. Hi Neil
    Another great looking book that promises content that's just as superb.

    I have awarded your blog with a Verstile Blogger green square! To see the details, please visit mine at
    I hope you enjoy many visits.


  2. Many thanks for the Green Square, Rosanne. I see we're in good company. Cheers. Neil