In the Shadow of Gold: A Tale of the Lost Confederate Treasure
Reviewed By: Susan Keefe
Susan Keefe reviews and promotes poetry, fiction and non-fiction, and is also author of the Toby's Tails series of children's books.

Michael Kenneth Smith, a successful businessman retired in 2000, and has since spent his time taking part in various pursuits, including editing a local newspaper. Having always loved storytelling, in 2014 he released his first novel set in the American Civil War called “Home Again.” Since then he has written another four books, three of which, including this, his latest new release, ‘In the Shadow of Gold’ are set during the American Civil War. Packed with excitement, this story is bound to be a hit with history buffs as the author prides himself on his historical accuracy. It spans generations, linking events which happened at the end of the American Civil War to the present day, and offers an interesting suggestion into the eternal mystery, what happened to the Confederate gold.

The majority of the book is set during the Civil War, and it follows the fortunes of two people from very different cultures and lives.

Yancey is the son of Captain Arvindale, he’s working on Yorktown, the ship his father is captaining when it is confiscated at Richmond, near the end of the Civil War. On-shore he soon finds himself with other midshipmen guarding the Confederate treasure which is being transported away by train on the orders of Jefferson Davis. When, by chance, the opportunity arises for him to purloin some of the treasure for himself he does, little realizing that what he does with the fortune will affect future generations.

The other person is Ellie, a slave girl, who, after being ill-treated by her owner kills him, and escapes. After skillfully evading the dogs she finds herself on a perilous journey north, yet despite everything which happens to her, she uses her quick wit, and manages to survive, eventually joining group of other free colored people. When Simon, one of the group discovers the battered body of Yancey by the side of the road, despite being white, he is taken in and cared for, and Ellie cannot understand why. However in time, gradually a deep friendship develops between the two which eventually blossoms into love, changing their lives forever in ways they could never have imagined.

Two people seemingly thrown together by fate, each driven by their own needs, outcast and on the run from the past. Yet destiny decreed their paths would cross…

However, there’s another story which is linked inextricably with those lives, lived centuries after, and for this the author takes his readers into the present day. It is the story and fate of Jonas Alvin, a successful businessman and owner of the Cherry Side Arboretum in Michigan. He has a yearning to discover his past, however, little does he realise that in doing so, the secrets which are uncovered have the potential to create devastating effects on his life, and change his future forever.

In Summary: Packed with suspense, mystery, and adventure, ‘In the Shadow of Gold’ is an intriguing story which lovers of historical fiction, will thoroughly enjoy. Highly recommended! – Susan Keefe

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Available from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle format:

Please note the audio version of this book will be available from Amazon early 2021.