I’m extremely excited to welcome John Holt, author of The Thackery Journal.
John was born in 1943 in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, England. He currently lives in Essex with his wife, Margaret, and his daughter Elizabeth. For many years he was a Chartered Surveyor, until he retired in 2008. John had always wanted to write a novel but could never think of a good enough plot. He started to write his first novel, The Kammersee Affair, in September 2005, and it was published in December 2006.
John has very kindly provided us with a scene from The Thackery Journal, a “What If” novel regarding the assassination of Lincoln.
“The Thackery Journal” set during and just after the end of the American Civil War, is the story of two lifelong friends – Jake Thackery and Miles Drew – who join on opposite sides of the conflict. As the story progresses both men become involved in the plot to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. Jake becomes a fugitive. Wounded, he takes shelter. Soon his pursuers close in.
There they are he whispered. He could hear them on the stairs. Their boots echoing loudly on the timber treads. He could hear the timbers creaking. They were shouting excitedly to each other, knowing that their quarry was near, knowing that soon they would have him. Their search would soon be over.
He could hear doors slamming as rooms on the lower floors were searched. Somebody was screaming as they were being dragged down the stairs. Douglas, he thought, the man who had sheltered him. He will certainly talk, Thackery knew that. Under torture who could blame him? Maybe that would save his life. He would tell them everything. Then they would come for him. They would be here quite soon now.
He dipped the pen into the ink and started to write once more. His hands were shaking, and the sweat ran down his forehead into his eyes.
“I can hear them coming for me. They are coming up the staircase.”
Suddenly he heard somebody call out. “Here.”
“In there,” said another.
Then there was a loud crash against the door.
“We have him now,” called a third voice.
“He cannot get away. Not this time,” from a fourth. Another heavy blow struck the door. “Open up,” one shouted. They were trying to break the door down.
“They are outside now, banging on the door, they are coming for me.”
Thackery stood up and walked to the door. He checked the lock. It was secured. He pushed the iron bolt firmly into the keep at the top of the door. He then did the same to the one at the bottom. Satisfied, he then walked over to the cabinet at the side of the room. His arm hurt badly but he started to push the cabinet towards the door, to form a barricade. He knew that it would not stop them, but it would delay them just long enough for his purpose. He pushed the cabinet in front of the door. There was a third crash. The door shuddered, but held firm.
He hurried back to the table and took up his pen once more. He glanced at what he had written, then continued writing.
“It will not be much longer.”
He was startled by another heavy blow hitting the door. Then there was a sudden noise as one of the door panels split. He looked towards the door for a moment, and then turned away. He took a deep breath. He slowly closed the case and placed the watch back onto the table. Time was running out. He carefully picked up the revolver. Taking into his hand he checked that it was loaded. He then carefully cocked the hammer. Next he placed the barrel at his right temple. He could feel the cold steel against his skin. It was cooling, soothing somehow. His hand stopped shaking. There was another crash against the door. The cabinet shuddered and moved a short distance. Then another crash and then another. The doorframe started to splinter. The bolt keep snapped, and fell away.
They would be inside in a very short time now. He felt the cold trigger against his finger. He looked towards the door. He hesitated for a moment or two longer. His breathing became shallow. He felt very hot. Sweat ran down his face. He started to cry. He closed his eyes tightly. “Mother,” he called out loudly. “Mother, please forgive me.”
Suddenly there was another heavy thud against the door. The frame shattered and the door burst open, hanging down as the top hinge split. The cabinet slid across the floor. The door hung precariously for a few seconds, and then fell loudly to the floor, tearing off the lower hinge. Jacob opened his eyes wide, and turned his face towards the doorway.
Standing at the opening was his friend Miles. Just like their childhood games of hide and seek, Miles had found him once again, as usual.
Jacob quickly looked away. Then slowly, gently, he started to squeeze the trigger.
John Holt has published well over sixteen books, all of which and can be found on Amazon.com.
Click on the Links below for the The Thackery Journal, available in Kindle and Paperback formats.
To find out more about John and for a complete list of his books, why not visit his Amazon Author Page
Authors Note: The Thackery Journal is, basically a fiction story. Although it mentions some real events, the story never happened. Apart from Lincoln, Grant, and John Wilkes Booth, all other characters are imaginary and never existed. The two main characters – Jake Thackery and Miles Drew – are fictional and have no relationship with any one living or not.
Nonetheless, I did want to give the impression that maybe, just perhaps, the story could have been true. I decided, by way of an experiment, to include some images to give a feel for the period and the events depicted. Hence there are images of the real battles of the war; there are real images of Lincoln and the assassination; there are real images of General Grant; and then there are also the pretend images of “Jake’s parents”; “Miles”; “Miles cousin”; “The fob watch that belonged to Jake’s mother”; and, of course “Captain Jake Thackery – C.S.A.”