top of page

HFC Editorial Review of "The Search" by Michael Ross

Author Bio:

Best selling author Michael Ross is a lover of history and great stories. He's a retired software engineer turned author, with three children and five grandchildren, living in Newton, Kansas with his wife of forty years. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, and still loves Texas. The main character of "Across the Great Divide", William Dorsey Crump, is one of the founders of Lubbock and Shallowater, Texas. Michael knew Will's granddaughter when he was a child. He has written a scholarly article on Will Crump for the Texas Historical Society, published in the Handbook of Texas Online, and has sold short stories in the past. This is his first novel and the first in the Across the Great Divide series, now an Amazon bestseller.

Michael attended Rice University as an undergraduate, and Portland State University for his graduate degree. He has degrees in computer science, software engineering, and German. In his spare time, Michael loves to go fishing, riding horses, and play with his grandchildren, who are currently all under six years old.

He sees many parallels between the time of the Civil War and our divided nation of today. Sanctuary cities, immigration, arguments around the holiday table, threats of secession - all are nothing new. Sometimes, to understand the present, you have to look at the past- and reach Across the Great Divide.

Book Buy Link:

Editorial Review:

Book Two of 'Across the Great Divide' - 'The Search' by Michael Ross finds the main protagonist, Will Crump, moving west and away from his family and all that he once knew. Crump is escaping from the horrors of the American Civil War, he is a deeply troubled and embittered man. A former serving Confederate soldier, he is seeking to forget the horrors of the Civil War and the brutality of a Union prisoner of War camp. He has lost his family, his home, his friends. His is a classic case of war trauma with all the classic symptoms and the reader's attention needs to be drawn to Ross's first book in the series, outlining and describing his wartime experiences and divided loyalties.

So Will is moving west, away from his past and in search of peace. He hopes to find an untroubled place of peace that he can call his own and where he can perhaps find his God once more. It is a classic set of what must have been very common motives for making such a perilous move. It is in the face of illness and uncertainty and of a vast unknown country [readers will be grateful to the author for providing a map] and of restless and justifiably hostile North American Indians. This is very much the backdrop of his journey and, indeed, the book as a whole. In it are reflected the prejudices and the racial intolerance of the colonists of the time; the widespread seizure of Indian lands, the broken treaties and the ensuing massacres and attempted systematic genocide of entire peoples and outbreaks of fatal diseases for which there were no immunities amongst the native Indian populations. As the book begins, two events are very fresh in the memory, the massacres of Sand Creek and, in 1863, the massacre at Bear Creek [ in modern day Idaho]. This latter event proves to be of particular significance to Will, as the victims were of the Shoshone people and he is to become very closely linked to them in many significant ways.

Into lands held sacred by the Shoshone, the Sioux, the Cheyenne and the Arapaho comes a flood of eager and expectant migrants; with the army present to protect them and to build forts and outposts as they inexorably move west. Will Crump prudently seeks refuge within the army as a sharpshooter, a skill from his Confederate past, and meets an invaluable friend and ally in the legendary Jim Bridger. Early on he also becomes involved with a young woman. This is Dove. She is of the Shoshone people, her Uncle is Chief, separated from them by circumstance. Having first rescued her, Will becomes determined to bring her safe home to her people. In doing so he falls in love with her and struck and moved by her own beliefs and the sheer force of her determination and abilities, as he himself challenges and rediscovers his lost faith. In taking this decision, they both become irrevocably caught up in the trauma and the perils of the time.

The whole novel is both fast paced and gripping. Ross takes the reader on a breathless journey into the west of the times, the narrative is truly action packed. Along the way we are given insights into army procedure of the time and matters of military protocol. Ross is particularly illuminating on the subject of the habits and practices of the native peoples. We learn, for example, of the Shoshone Creation myth, of why and how the constellations are placed where they are and other matters regarding belief, religion and religious practice, as Crump seeks parallels in his old and battered Bible that he carries with him everywhere, We learn of the hierarchies of each group and, importantly the relation of one in relation to the other with regards to loyalty and enmity, a subject upon which the old scout, Jim Bridger, is eminently qualified to offer advice when it is accepted.

This book is a must for all fans and true devotees of the genre. All the necessary boxes are ticked here; and a wealth of knowledge of time and place besides. Michael Ross is clearly a master of his subject and reveals and displays a deep knowledge and profound natural feel for the time and place. For those new to the subject this provides a valuable and sturdily constructed launching platform for their own researches and discoveries. There are of course plenty of westerns, past and present, available on the market. The world is awash with the subject of the Western, on film, in television serials and in book form. Followers of Michael Ross's work will already be fully aware of the quality and sheer 'readability' of his work. This is the ideal opportunity for the old hand to renew the relationship and for those new to the subject area and seeking to refine the search even closer to select the work of a proven master of the form. The uncertain reader, wavering in making a choice, is in safe hands here.


“The Search” by Michael Ross is awarded four stars by The Historical Fiction Company

bottom of page