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03 November, 2014

Guest Book Tour: “The Serpent’s Tooth” trilogy by Kathy Fischer-Brown



In Courting the Devil and The Partisan’s Wife (Books 2 & 3 of “The Serpent’s Tooth” trilogy), a major plot thread involves espionage during the American Revolution. One of the oldest occupations, spying on an organized level has been around for as long as men have waged wars. While in no way possessing the skills and training of a modern-day spy, covert agents played a vital role on both sides of the conflict. 



George Washington relied heavily on gathering and exchanging information about enemy strengths, movements, and supply lines. He also expended time and resources in disseminating misleading information. But during the first few years of the war, American intelligence efforts were no match for their British counterparts. 



Under the auspices of The Committee of Secret Correspondence, created during the Second Continental Congress in November of 1775, Washington availed himself of an assortment of alpha-numeric codes—with several kinds of secret ink and several ways to employ them—as well as novel methods of transporting and exchanging these communiqués. In addition to hiding messages in canteens and false heels of shoes, another clever method was to tear the message into narrow strips, roll them up small, and stuff the slivers into the hollow stem of a goose quill pen.



The accompanying photographs (of a dispatch from General Sir Henry Clinton to General John Burgoyne) present an example of one of the coding methods employed by the British. The “Code Mask” was placed over a seemingly innocent letter—or one filled with misinformation, such as the one to the right. The words revealed (below) contained the message.



People from all walks of life served as eyes and ears for their respective causes. Among their numbers were women. Although a few names have come down to us through history—Lydia Darragh, Anna Strong, Ann Bates, to name but a few—no one knows exactly how many women worked behind the lines, selling food and other necessaries in the camps and meeting places frequented by Rebels, British, and Tories. In many cases, such as that of Agent 355 of the “Culper Ring,” we don’t even know their real names. It’s safe to assume we may never know.



In the Courting the Devil, the treatment of my protagonist Anne by Loyalists who have been misled to think she’s a spy is in no way far-fetched. In fact, I saved her from a far worse fate—that suffered by the Canadian Tory, “Miss Jenny,” at the hands of French soldiers serving under Lafayette in 1778. Under the pretense of seeking her father in their camp, she aroused suspicions and was arrested. Not only did her captors try to beat the truth out of her, they raped her. If that wasn’t despicable enough, they cut off her hair—an act considered the height of humiliation at the time. (Miss Jenny, however, did not relent and successfully completed her mission. After returning to the British camp with her intelligence, she vanished from history.) It is also interesting to note that women, in general, were considered too “simple” to understand the complexities of a military campaign, and for the most part, were not taken seriously by either side.



Excerpt from Courting the Devil




Four years after a near fatal blunder uproots her from her home and inheritance, Anne Darvey, daughter of the Marquess of Esterleigh, finds herself an indentured servant on a farm near Fort Edward in New York, as the British army advances toward Albany. Driven by guilt over the pain she has caused her father and grief over her lover’s death, she sets out to deliver a message. The consequences lead to the discovery that all is not as it seems, and sets in motion events that lead to love and danger.



Set against the backdrop of the American Revolution, Courting the Devil is the second book in “The Serpent’s Tooth” trilogy, which follows Anne from her childhood in the rural English countryside, to London society, and into the center of the American Revolution.



~*~



The ledge of rock on the steep precipice overlooking a swollen stream offered some protection from the weather. Though the ground was damp, the roof of the cramped hollow provided all the protection they needed. With the few pieces of dry kindling he was able to gather, LeClair built a small, smoky fire, and there they huddled, close around its crackling warmth, to wait out the storm.



Having satisfied himself that Anne was as comfortable as the conditions would allow, LeClair turned his attention on Zacky, who continued to eye Anne with suspicion. “Did the captain send you to find me?” he asked quietly.



Filling his cheek with a wad of tobacco, Zacky nodded. “He figured you’d be lookin’ for us. Was in a nation of worry that you wasn’t around when the others headed south last night.”



“The others? And what of the captain?”



Zacky squirted the fire with a stream of tobacco juice. “He went to pay his respects to Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne at Fort Edward. Got himself set up at General Schulyer’s old place. Hell, I wish I coulda gone. I hear Burgoyne sets a nice table.”



LeClair stared at him with stolid eyes. Zacky smiled, then he glanced apprehensively at Anne. Absorbed in her own thoughts, shivering with cold, she gazed into the feeble flame. Zacky changed the subject.



“What d’you plan on doin’ with her?” he asked in a whisper. He wiggled his eyebrows.



LeClair did not bother replying. “Why did he go to the British general?”



Again Zacky spat, and drawing the back of his hand across his mouth, he smiled. “It was Harris’s idea. I don’t know all the details. Somethin’ about sendin’ them British off on a false scent. The cap’n, he headed south with the men a ways, then he was goin’ to circle back around...him and Crowley...so it’d appear they was comin’ up from that way. Oh, he looked grand, LeClair...all decked out in lobster red.Hardly knew him!” Zacky leaned back against the rock wall, his hands clasped behind his head. “He said you was to meet him at the tavern tonight.” “I can hardly wait to hear what he—”



“When did they go?”



“Oh, hell! Yesterday, musta been...about sundown.”



LeClair fell pensively silent. Suddenly Anne looked up. She had been listening with half her attention to their conversation, but when her thoughts congealed, understanding shook her.



“You’re spies,” she said darkly.



“No, ma’am,” Zacky said, accompanied by a squirt of tobacco juice. “We’re scouts.”



“You could all be hanged.”



LeClair avoided her steady gaze and looked out at the storm. The rain had let up. “It’s time to go,” he said, and quickly doused the fire.



Praise for Courting the Devil



“... a high caliber historical drama. I commend Ms. Fischer-Brown on her research and attention to detail. It moves well with interesting characters and story lines....Two thumbs up for Courting the Devil.” --Writer Wonderland



“...kept me in suspense and filled with anticipation of what was to come. This book was written with gentle reminders and hints of the past without rehashing the original story and the scenes were descriptive and engaging....I like the Anne of this book a lot more than the previous book. It is clear she has grown up a bit and sees things differently.” — Romantic Historical Lovers



More Information on The Serpent's Tooth Trilogy


Lord Esterleigh's Daughter (Book One, Serpents Tooth Trilogy)
01_Lord Esterleigh's Daughter
Publication Date: June 13, 2012 
Books We Love Ltd. 
Formats: eBook, Paperback 
 Genre: Historical Fiction 

Add to GR Button As a child, Anne Fairfield dreams of the father she never knew, the hero who died fighting the French and their Indian allies in a land across the sea. Her mother's stories, and fantasies of her own devising, sustain and nurture her through a poor and lonely existence. Until one winter night, a strange man comes to call, and the life she has known comes crashing down like shattered glass. Forced to confront sordid truths, secrets and lies, the headstrong young woman begins to learn that, like generations of women ruled by their hearts, she is destined to follow in their footsteps. Set against the backdrop of 18th century England, Lord Esterleigh's Daughter is the first book in The Serpent's Tooth trilogy, which follows Anne from the rural countryside, to London society and into the center of the American Revolution.

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Courting the Devil (Book Two, Serpent's Tooth Trilogy)
Courting the Devil
Publication Date: August 31, 2012 
Books We Love Ltd. 
Formats: eBook, Paperback 
 Genre: Historical Fiction
Add to GR Button Four years after a near fatal blunder uproots her from her home and inheritance, Anne Darvey, daughter of the Marquess of Esterleigh, finds herself an indentured servant on a farm near Fort Edward in New York, as the British army advances toward Albany. Driven by guilt over the pain she has caused her father and grief over her lover's death, she sets out to deliver a message. The consequences lead to the discovery that all is not as it seems, and sets in motion events that lead to love and danger. Set against the backdrop of the American Revolution, Courting the Devil is the second book in The Serpent's Tooth trilogy, which follows Anne from her childhood in the rural English countryside, to London society, and into the center of the American Revolution.

Buy the Book
The Partisan's Wife (Book Three, Serpent's Tooth Trilogy)
01_The Partisan's Wife
Publication Date: February 6, 2013 
Books We Love Ltd. 
Formats: eBook, Paperback 
 Genre: Historical Fiction
Add to GR Button Faced with an impossible choice, Anne Marlowe is torn between her husband's love and the hope of her receiving father's forgiveness. As American forces follow up on their tide-turning victories over the British at Freeman's Farm and Bemis Heights, Peter is drawn deeper into the shady network of espionage that could cost them both their lives. Is his commitment to 'the Cause' stronger than his hard-won love for Anne? Will her sacrifice tear them apart again...this time forever? Or will they find the peace and happiness they both seek in a new beginning? The Partisan's Wife follows Anne and Peter through the war torn landscape of Revolutionary War America, from the Battle of Saratoga to British-occupied New York and Philadelphia, and beyond.

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Winter Fire

02_Winter Fire
Publication Date: November 6, 2010 
Books We Love Ltd. 
Formats: eBook, Paperback 
 Genre: Historical Fiction 
Add to GR Button When Ethan Caine pulled the unconscious woman from the half-frozen creek, he had no idea that his world was about to explode. Dressed in quilled doeskin of Iroquois design, she stirred up dark secrets from his past. At the same time, she was everything he desired. But she was more Indian than white, and on the run for murder. He needed to know the truth. He needed to find it within himself to trust her. Banished by the Seneca Indians who adopted and raised her, ostracized by the whites in the settlement, Zara Grey wanted only to be accepted. 'Ethancaine' treated her with kindness and concern. It was easy to trust him. But her Indian ways disturbed him, and in her heart she would always be Seneca.

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About the Author

03_Kathy Fischer-BrownAs a child Kathy wanted to be a writer when she grew up. She also wanted to act on the stage. After receiving an MFA in Acting from the Mason Gross School of the Arts and playing the part of starving young artist in New York, she taught theater classes at a small college in the Mid-West before returning home to the East Coast, where over the years, she and her husband raised two kids and an assortment of dogs. During stints in advertising, children's media publishing, and education reform in the former Soviet Unions, she wrote whenever she could. Her love of early American history has its roots in family vacations up and down the East Coast visiting old forts and battlefields and places such as Williamsburg, Mystic Sea Port, and Sturbridge Village. 

During this time, she daydreamed in high school history classes, imagining the everyday people behind all the dates and conflicts and how they lived. Claiming her best ideas are born of dreams, Kathy has written a number of stories over the years. Her first published novel, Winter Fire, a 1998 Golden Heart finalist in historical romance, was reissued in 2010 by Books We Love, Ltd., which also released Lord Esterleigh's Daughter, Courting the Devil, and The Partisan's Wife.  
When not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, photography, playing 'ball' with the dogs, and rooting on her favorite sports teams. For more information visit Kathy Fischer-Brown's website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Kathy Fischer-Brown Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 6 Spotlight at What Is That Book About 
Monday, October 13 Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing 
Thursday, October 23 Review at Book Babe (Winter Fire) 
Friday, October 24 Interview at Dianne Ascroft Blog 
Monday, November 3 Guest Post at A Bibliotaph's Reviews 
Thursday, November 13 Spotlight at Layered Pages 
Tuesday, November 18 Spotlight at Let Them Read Books 
Friday, November 21 Guest Post at Broken Teepee 
Wednesday, November 26 Spotlight at The True Book Addict
Sunday, November 30 Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Giveaways

To enter to win any of the following prizes please complete the form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Choice of Paperback: Lord Esterleigh's Daughter, Courting the Devil, The Partisan's Wife, or Winter Fire
Choice of eBook: Lord Esterleigh's Daughter, Courting the Devil, The Partisan's Wife, or Winter Fire
Kindle eBook Set: The Serpent's Tooth Trilogy

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on November 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on December 1st and notified via email. Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. a Rafflecopter giveaway

13 comments:

  1. Wow, Kathy! What great presentation. Love the trailer too...

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Sydell. I appreciate your support. Which trailer are you referring to? I think they're all pretty cool :-)

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  2. Great presentation, Kathy. Your Serpent's Tooth Trilogy is a wonderful read. :)

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    Replies
    1. I most graciously thank you. I'm so glad you enjoyed the books :-)

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  3. Hi Kathy,
    Looks great. I have read two books in the Trilogy, wonderful stories. Your research and love of the era really shines through. I am looking forward to reading the third.

    Regards

    Margaret

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    Replies
    1. Hi Margaret, Thanks for visiting. Yes, I do love this period and am glad you enjoyed the other two books.

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  4. Hi Kathy: An excellent presentation! This is an impressive site, and I hope that the good news about your intelligent and entertaining trilogy reaches more readers.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Juliet. From your mouth to the Goddess's ears :-)

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  5. Enjoyed the article and the taste of history. Attitudes have changed, at least I hope so.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Give there were so many women involved, attitudes would have had to change...even back then.

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