Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Release Celebration: Three Links of Chain (Review & Guest Post)

Three Links of Chain
Title: Three Links of Chain 
Author: Dennis Maley
Paperback & Ebook

Release: July 7th, 2015
Publisher: Jublio

Blanche thinks he has it good. He has risen above the field hands to a position helping run a printing press. He's well fed, never physically mistreated, and he has taught himself to read, though he keeps the illicit skill a secret. Most importantly, he has been promised a chance at emancipation. Then, in a single bloody morning, his world is overturned, his master lies dead, and the widow has no intention of following through with her husband's promise to free Blanche.

Blanche would never have considered running away from his old life, but faced with the prospect of being sold as a laborer or worse, he forges his free papers and flees north, a fugitive, to create his own future. Only a few steps ahead of the slave catchers, he travels hundreds of miles across the violent backdrop of “bleeding Kansas” in the 1850s, a land torn by apart by two very different visions of humanity.

This richly researched work of fiction weaves actual historical characters and institutions into the gripping story of a young man born into slavery but resolute in his quest for freedom.

Dennis Maley is lifetime resident of the Great Plains, from which he derives inspiration for much of his fiction.  His previous works include four short comedic plays and the play that introduced the character of Blanche.


I am pleased to welcome a guest post from Dennis Maley, author of Three Links of Chain (AMAZON), His website is maleybooks.com.

In this debut young adult novel, the main character is a historical figure, Blanche, a literate teenage slave who spends his days helping to run a printing press and planning the life he will lead when he purchases his freedom. Then, in a single bloody morning, Blanche’s world is overturned, his master lies dead, and the widow has no intention of following through with the promise her husband made to Blanche. Faced with the prospect of being sold as a laborer or worse, he flees north, only a few steps ahead of the slave catchers. With help from the underground railroad, he travels hundreds of miles across the violent backdrop of “bleeding Kansas” in the 1850s, a land torn by apart by two very different visions of humanity.

I asked Dennis to share some of his thoughts about his interest in literacy, which is an important theme of Three Links of Chain. 

"My sweet wife taught 27 years in an inner-city elementary school.  100% of the students live in poverty. She earned a masters degree, and was often called on to speak to groups about literacy.  She often repeated a report about the way prisons could use third-grade reading scores to tell them how many prison beds they'll need in the future. I never actually saw the research, but no one doubts the connection between incarceration and illiteracy.

When it came to her job--teaching lower grades and coaching first-year teachers--she was armed and dangerous. And I'm proud to be the husband of such a woman. It's a rare trip to the market when she doesn't get hugs from former students. They never forgot the woman who taught them to read.

When our friends are blessed with babies and grandbabies, we always give them books and admonish them to read to the kids every day. In our own family, our daughter always brought us her books and wanted to be read to.  Our son would barely sit still, but AT LEAST WE TRIED. And he may not have loved it, but he always read above grade level, so the statistics were in his favor. As a good reader, he was four times more likely to graduate high school on time. These are the facts and numbers that my wife taught me to think in everyday. 

It's no surprise, perhaps, that the factual story of a literate slave caught me attention.  Though I have crafted this book into a novel only loosely based on real people, I zeroed in on a time period when fewer people could read, but literacy could mean everything- as it still does today. So for the inspiration for my book, there is one woman to thank. I call my wife Mrs. Maley. That's the appropriate form of address for a schoolteacher, and that's part of who she is forever, even long part her retirement."

It’s always hard to start talking about a book that is based in historical facts. You can’t say that history is right or wrong and most important we have to be careful when we judge the actions of the characters because something that was right hundreds of year before, might be wrong today.

This is an historical novel about a slave boy who wants to be free. It could be as simple as that but it’s not. It is also a story about people trying to change a system that existed years ago, people that believes that slavery is wrong and who is risking their lives to do what they think is right. It could also be a story about the willpower a young man can have or a story about survival. Take your pick, the main thing is that is a great story and you should read it.

Blanche is 14 year old running away from slavery. A young kid, who against the laws of the time knows how to read, and this brings him some advantages and some problems. In his journey to freedom he meets a series of characters, good and bad, some willing to help him and the ones that want to catch him.

Dennis deserves a round of applauses for writing about Blanche. He created a character that feels real and whose feelings you can almost feel yourself. Some of the decisions that Blanche has to make lead to some scenes that were hard to read, they really moved me to the core (I almost cry with the scene of Husband).

The descriptions of the time, the places and all that surrounds this moment on history were a great complement to a great story. You will find out that this book is more than just a tell about a period of history.

A very recommendable book for YA or adults.

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