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Sins Of The Father - Cover
© Cover Copyright 2000, Trace Edward Zaber

Spectrum 2001 Finalist Eppie 2001 Finalist WordWeaving Award For Excellence

ISBN: 1-59279-016-X
Available November 2002 From Amber Quill Press


Trace Edward Zaber has created a vivid historical that takes you back to the Civil War era. His characters and imagery swirl around you in mist and transport you back in time as his words seem to leap right off the page. Rarely am I in awe of one’s talent, but with Sins of the Father it is obvious Mr. Zaber is one author to keep your eye on and watch his rise to the top.

Patricia A. Rasey, author of Deadly Obsession and Kiss Of Deceit.

Historical fiction has a hero in Trace Edward Zaber. In his firstborn novel Sins Of The Father, Trace depicts the conflict between families during the Civil War in such a realistic fashion to make one pine to see it depicted on screen. A lengthy novel of 165,000 words, the reader soon learns that Trace fully utilizes every one of those words in prose that practically dances in expressing the drama of that historical period of time.

General Jebediah Ellsworth and Faith Bradshaw cross paths after Gettysburg when Jeb is hospitalized in the Bradshaw home due to the saturation of the area’s hospitals, public buildings and homes with both Confederate and Union wounded. Both individuals hold strong beliefs appropriate to their upbringing in the North for Faith and South for Jeb, instilled in them by their respective fathers. The story line takes these two through the war’s end to Sherman’s march to the sea and, subsequently, to Lincoln’s assassination.

The story line is a familiar one, but it is the poetry of the dialogue and mannerisms that bring this tale alive. Trace has sculpted a Civil War tale using historical accuracy woven with fictitious color through scenes in Gettysburg, Washington, Baltimore, and Atlanta and with characters equally matched to those in North and South and Gone With the Wind. Rhett and Scarlett have nothing over Jeb and Faith. As a matter of fact, the fate of Trace’s duel protagonists is much more pleasing leaving the reader with a wonderful sense of coming full circle with lessons learned we can only wish our neighbors today could absorb.

Sins Of The Father represents one of those stories that stays with the reader. And it is one of those rare stories that this reviewer would revisit to see what phrase, nuance, or action was missed the first time around. Such is the richness of this saga, and such is the lyrical wording of this tale.

Reviewed by Hope Clark for Word Weaving Ezine.

Open the pages of Sins Of The Father and take a step back in time. Let Trace Edward Zaber’s masterful storytelling transport you to the third year of the American Civil War. With his words, experience the smells, sounds, and sights of the Battle of Gettysburg; the heart-wrenching assassination of Abraham Lincoln. You will never again think of this period in 19th-century America as the remote, dusty past.

Mr. Zaber has created a vivid, colorful cast of characters in his novel that easily carry the weight of a story rich in action, intrigue, and deeds of valor. His protagonist duo set the tone for the book. Confederate General Jebediah Ellsworth, wounded during Pickett’s Charge, convalesces in the Gettysburg home of Faith Bradshaw. The two symbolize the regional differences that have torn apart the country. Their growing love for one another overcomes philosophical dispute, and their shared experiences during an odyssey to solve a mystery in Jeb’s past cement the relationship. A parallel story line sweeps the reader into twists and turns of betrayal, deceit, and madness in Washington D.C.

A powerful theme wraps around the two major male characters as each struggles to come to terms with his father’s destructive legacy. This commonality unites the saga into a quick-paced delight. Especially gratifying is the rip-roaring climax that meshes the story lines into a scene that leaves the reader breathless and hungering for more.

Meticulous attention to detail, impressive historical accuracy, and a keen sense of drama make this a highly entertaining and educational read. Mr. Zaber has scored a major salvo in his debut book. This is no Gone With The Wind ‘wanna be.’ This is a fully-crafted novel that stands on its own considerable merit. Civil War buffs will be in heaven! Those unfamiliar with this niche of historical fiction will be hooked for a lifetime. The only detail left dangling is the release date for Mr. Zaber’s next book. We can only hope it is close at hand.

Reviewed by J. L. Abbott, author of The Bluecoat Affair, Dark Watch, and Jonquil.

...And I have to sing the praises of Trace Edward Zaber, our featured guest in my interview in Word Weaving. Author of Sins Of The Father coming out in March, Trace revives the romance of Civil War historical fiction. Visions of Gone With The Wind and North And South come to mind when reading this wonderful story of two families of opposite factions torn apart by the beliefs of their fathers, but drawn together by the love of a Northern daughter and a Southern son. The heart-pounding intoxication of their relationship is thrilling, and the historical accounting of actual events intertwined with fiction is amazing. Wonderful book!

Word Webletter.

Sins of the Father is a sweeping historical saga, punctuated by intrigue and fraught with heart-pounding romance. When a stalwart Southern son (General Jebediah Ellsworth) finds himself wounded at Gettysburg and lands in the makeshift hospital, a certain headstrong Yankee woman’s (Faith Bradshaw’s) home, he finds the tide of his erstwhile convictions starting to turn. For years, Jeb has always believed that his father was “right,” an honorable man who knew best about the war, knew best about the “cause,” knew best about so many things...And yet, here is this beautiful, compassionate woman, who is able to look beyond the differences of North and South and nurse Jeb back to health...And, as she cares for this wounded Rebel officer, so gentlemanly and undeniably handsome, Faith also finds her own preconceived notions beginning to crumble. But—unbeknownst to the two of them—Jeb has a past and Faith has a present that threatens to destroy them both! And, beyond that—shake the balance of the nation as a whole!!!

In his stunning debut novel, Trace Edward Zaber proves himself a master of the written word. At 165,000 words, Sins of the Father is genuinely worth every exquisitely crafted line. An outstanding intermingling of fiction and fact will leave you spellbound at Zaber’s ingenuity and incredible mastering of historical detail. Each nuance, from the impeccable period dialogue to the heart-gripping relationship between Jeb and Faith, delineates fiction at its very best! If you only read one book this year, make it Sins of the Father by Trace Edward Zaber—a phenomenally satisfying read!!!

Excellent!!! Very highly recommended!!! Rating: 5+

Reviewed by Rosa Turner Knapp, author of Force of Fire.

Mr. Zaber’s in-depth knowledge of the Civil War and command of the language blend a sweeping tale of romance and intrigue. From the opening scene at the battle of Gettysburg to the dramatic climax, Sins of the Father captures the essence of the people that lived, loved, and died during America’s greatest conflict. A story well worth reading!

Kim Murphy, author of Promise & Honor.

...I think Sins of the Father belongs next to North and South and The Blue and the Gray. It’s earned a place on my bookshelves, which is something I reserve only for the best of the best.

Cindy Vallar, author of The Sottish Thistle

5 Stars

Jebediah Simpson Ellsworth is a young brigadier general who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, only to suffer losses that would haunt him. Wounded, he is taken in by a young woman, Faith, and a loyal ex-slave, Isaiah. While recuperating, however, he is accused of planning to commit a murder. In enemy territory, Jeb, with the aid of Faith and Isaiah, would have to clear his name. In the attempt, he would soon reexamine his values and confront his past.

Sins of the Father is a moving, wonderful account of a man’s self-discovery in time of war. That it is also a romance is a wonderful plus to readers of romantic historical novels...Sins of the Father is worth the time spent reading it. Be prepared to enter Trace Zaber’s rich, tumultuous world of the Civil War.

Reviewed by: Defelah Morgan for Scribes World Reviews.

Sins of the Father is not just another historical novel. This book is overflowing with hang-by-your seat suspense, and fraught with danger and intrigue. Trace Zaber takes you through the annals of history with an attention to details that is absolutely fascinating and terrifying in some aspects.

He captures your interest with his epic saga, and holds it without letting go, as you read and live through the perils of a war-torn country, murderous assaults and nefarious plots that could destroy the very fabric of America.

The heart-warming love, fear and heartache that Jebediah and his beautiful Faith Bradshaw share through their trials and tribulations serve only to make them stronger as they face each new day. Readers, I guarantee you will love Sins of the Father. I look forward to reading more books written by this author. Trace Zaber is most assuredly a rising star! I found this book to be an excellent read!

It surely deserves 5 stars. *****

Reviewed by Jewel Dartt for Midnight Scribe Reviews.

What a book! Read it--it’ll knock your hoops for a loop.

Or to be more in keeping with the magnificence of Mr. Zaber’s elegantly presented and carefully researched prose, I should couch my observations in the style of his times:

Gentle readers, this excellently written, masterfully executed tome depicts the sweep and grandeur of an era vanished into the mist of history. Sins of the Father will give you incredible insights into the horrors of the Civil War, the maturation and growth of two strong and worthy people, and the patriarchal dictates of what constitutes truth, honor and right.

Gone With the Wind revisited? Absolutely, positively not.

Sins of the Father explores new territory, and does it vividly and well. Every one of the book’s 165,000 words leads the reader deeper and deeper into the lives of the believable characters, allowing the reader to accompany them on their road to discovery, growth, and final resolution. The power and excellence of the style makes this reader want to read it again--if only to savor the marvelous prose.

The North, symbolized by Faith Bradshaw, and the South, by General Jebediah Ellsworth, meet when the wounds Jeb received at Gettysburg require hospitalization. Faith’s home must fill that need because the local hospitals can’t accept any more patients. Strong in their respective and opposing beliefs--instilled by their fathers--the plot follows the pair as they experience Sherman’s march, Lincoln’s assassination and their own gradual awakening to new truths.

An incredible debut novel, one that should be express-mailed to every movie producer in the world, Sins of the Father gives new meaning to the word “history.” Zaber and his muse--probably Calliope, the muse of epic poetry--should be toasted in the vintage of the times--all times. This book will be thoroughly enjoyed and long remembered and should give Zaber the fans he deserves.

Reviewed by Patricia White for Crescent Blues Book Views.

**** Excellent

The Civil War was a period in time when our country was torn apart. Loyalties were divided, sides were taken, and families destroyed. But things go way beyond just what is visible on the surface. People are forced to examine their beliefs and their values that they hold dear. Things aren’t always as they seem.

Young Brigadier General Jebediah Simpson Ellsworth is just one officer in the vast Southern Army. Born and raised in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on the Wakefield Plantation, Jeb is a true Southern gentleman. But now Jeb is forced to examine his beliefs and the things his father raised him to believe in. He is seriously wounded in a battle at Cemetery Ridge and later taken to one of the many makeshift hospitals, this one is the home of the Bradshaw family. This is just the beginning for Jeb. The beginning of a nightmare, one he could only pray to make it through alive.

Miss Faith Bradshaw has her family home taken over by Union soldiers and turned into a hospital for the wounded Confederate men. Thus the nightmare begins for Faith. Faith is a northern lady and her family is very supportive of the northern cause. After all, her father is currently abroad and working with Frederick Douglass. Now that Faith is forced to help treat and care for the wounded Rebels, she must question her own beliefs. These men are not the heathens that they have been told consisted of the Rebel Army. These men even though they were now prisoners and on enemy soil, were still nothing less than true gentlemen. This is also just the beginning for Faith as she comes face to face with someone that she finds herself drawn to--Jeb.

This is definitely not your run of the mill Civil War novel. Author Trace Edward Zaber has done a masterful job in bringing the characters to life. He has created a book that not just depicts part of our country’s history, but also some of the things that people were forced to go through. Then he added even more items to snare you further into this book if you weren’t already hooked: murder, suspense, betrayal, and romance. This is definitely a book you’ll want to get and read.

Reviewed by Tracy Eastgate for Tracy’s Book Reviews

As one of the staff of literary reviewers at, I was handed Trace Edward Zaber’s Sins of the Father with the suggestion it was a historical novel. I was chosen because my master’s thesis on Thaddeus Stevens and the Civil War included massive research of that time period. However, I found ins of the Father to be a brilliant synthesis of a war novel, a romance novel, a murder novel, and a conspiracy novel. Each of these plot lines were seamlessly interwoven in a dramatic way, pointing to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. I read Zaber’s novel several weeks ago but the storyline still resounds in my memory. Modern readers love what is called “fast action fiction” that provides momentary escape. Zaber’s work, however, leaves long-lasting, meaningful impressions.

The major characters are a fallen Confederate general, a compassionate young lady of Gettysburg, a lead detective in the National Detective Police, John Wilkes Booth, and Assistant Secretary of War, Silas Keats. With remarkable verisimilitude, Zaber links each of these characters--some with the goal of saving the President and others intent on destroying him.

The story includes three distinct plot lines. The first encompasses the Civil War itself and is strengthened, along with the rest of the novel, by exhaustive research. The battle of Gettysburg and Sherman’s march on Atlanta are described with vivid imagery. Zaber paints striking scenes of this tumultuous period. My favorite scene was the city of Gettysburg after Pickett’s Charge up Cemetery Ridge. Often novelists powerfully describe the battle as it transpires with all its destruction and pain. The cannonades and the pitiful cry of the wounded are heard in most depictions. Zaber replicates these scenes but reserves the most gruesome and painful descriptions for the battle’s aftermath when ordinary citizens of Gettysburg, with little medical help, are left to tend to the wounded and dying.

A second plot line of equal importance is the tender romance between the fallen Confederate general and the young Gettysburg lady who nurses him back to health. Together, they share an exciting and dangerous journey to Atlanta through both Union and Confederate lines. This couple’s relationship is so richly and poignantly written, Judith Krantz would be envious.

The third plot line converges on the conspiracy and murder of President Lincoln. All the main characters are present. At the heart of the plot is fictional character Silas Keats, Assistant Secretary of War. Two interesting facts present themselves: (1) Most modern historians suspect Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War, as a culprit in the assassination; (2) The National Detective Police who quickly apprehended the suspects after the assassination were employed in the Secretary of War’s department. The way this conspiracy was unearthed by the National Detective Police was purely fictional. However, the quick apprehension of the suspects indicates a previous knowledge of the conspiracy.

Finally, I would note again that Zaber has linked each of the major characters to the conspiracy event--some to preclude it and others to effect it. Each of these characters is brilliantly portrayed by Zaber and the complex plotline is seamless and mesmerizing....

Reviewed for

Ever wonder what happened to those wonderful historical sagas a la John Jakes and Allan W. Eckert? Once upon a time, store shelves groaned with three-inch-thick tomes like these. If you fear good historical fiction is dead, fear no more. Trace Edward Zaber’s Sins of the Father has sounded the opening salvo in the battle to bring this genre back.

General Jeb Ellsworth, his brigade nearly wiped out during Pickett’s Charge, lies gravely wounded on the Gettsburg battlefield. He’s a long way from Vicksburg, and chances are even if he survives, he’ll never see home again. Holding down the home front with her brother Stephen while their abolitionist father is in Europe and their snooty sister Lizbeth hobnobs with the Washington elite, Faith Bradshaw is barely holding her own in the grisly aftermath of the battle. When Jeb is brought to her home from the battlefield, near death, she is determined that even if this man is her enemy, she’ll see to it this is one soldier who will not die.

Jeb’s long, painful recovery is far from uncomplicated. Not only is he falsely accused of masterminding a plot to assassinate President Lincoln, he finds himself falling in love with Faith. The feeling is mutual, but her father is a staunch abolitionist and her brother-in-law the Assistant Secretary of War. Jeb’s beliefs about Negroes and slavery are deeply ingrained, thanks to his father’s teachings. Yet Faith and Jeb manage to see past their differences and dream of a life together after the war.

Meanwhile, in Washington, Lizbeth’s husband Silas Keats is feeling the heat. Lizbeth is a social-climbing spendthrift. Though he has attained a high post as Assistant Secretary of War, he battles deep insecurity, a legacy from his abusive father. Addicted to alcohol and blind ambition, he will stop at nothing, using anyone and anything, to get what he wants--The White House. Lizbeth becomes an unsuspecting pawn in his scheme, unwittingly putting the rest of her family in grave danger unless Jeb can flee. A cryptic letter from his brother seals it for Jeb--he must somehow find his way to his family in Atlanta, even though he has a price on his head. It breaks his heart to leave Faith behind, but it’s for her own safety. Faith has other ideas, and follows. Jeb has no choice but to bring her along, and off they go, unaware the growing pit of plot and deceit they leave behind.

It is difficult to stuff in to a short synopsis the sheer breadth and depth of this book. Don’t be put off when you note the number of pages--those pages will literally fly by. Gentle readers are to be cautioned, though--Zaber does not sugar-coat terrifying battle scenes and grisly sessions with saw-happy army surgeons. Civil War buffs who crave accurate detail with devour this book whole. Those who simply love language will revel in Zaber’s poetic voice, and applaud his efforts to make not only the spoken dialogue but each character’s internal musings authentic with the lexicon of the times. You won’t find any of these 19th-century characters speaking, thinking or behaving in 21st century terms! You are not simply someone reading a novel about the Civil War--you are seeing it through the characters’ eyes. Though not a classic “romance,” the story is undeniably romantic as Faith and Jeb struggle to stay together despite the ravages of war.

Zaber’s Sins of the Father shines with terrible beauty. If you love Civil War fiction, don’t miss this one.

Reviewed by Lee Padgett, for The BookNook and Compuserve Romance Reviews

4 Stars

Trace Edward Zaber weaves a powerful fictional tale of war and greed, while maintaining the accuracy of a documentary. He captures the events and the people involved with not only the Battle of Gettysburg, but also the last years of the Civil War. I found the fact that this book wasn't just a historical or a romance or mystery to be refreshing. The subplots surrounding the conspiracy against the President and the change in Jeb's view of life as he knew it and growing friendship with the former slave Isaiah was given as much story line time as his growing relationship with Faith and the clearing of his name. The transformation of all characters occurs over the time of the book, adding credibility to the fact that a former slave and rebel soldier could work together and perhaps could influence each other's lives.

As a student of the Civil War, with special interest in the Battle of Gettysburg, I found this journey through such a tragic time for the United States very enjoyable. It was not a book, as so many about this era are, that was pro-north or pro-south, sacrificing the other sides' story for plotting. With every story twist, I asked myself which side was really right in their beliefs, or if there was a right and wrong when the stakes were so high and beliefs were so strong. As much as I enjoyed this book, it is not for weak-stomached readers. The atrocities of war and of wartime hospitals are painted with almost frightening realism.

You don't have to be a person who studies the war of the States to appreciate this book. This is not only a story of war but of personal growth and sacrifices for love and a better life. Trace Edward Zaber did a fantastic job of bringing humanity to a time that isn't known for it. Bravo!! I can't wait to read more by this master of historical storytelling.

Reviewed by Angela Mink-Torres for Simply EBooks Reviews

Spectrum 2001 Finalist Eppie 2001 Finalist WordWeaving Award For Excellence

ISBN: 1-59279-016-X
Available November 2002 From Amber Quill Press

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