I'm a huge fan of fiction, but once in a while I read non-fiction. Since I'm a bit picky about what I spend my time turning pages on, the writing has to grab me. So when I heard that Author Scott Bury, who's been a friend of mine for a number of years, was releasing a new non-fiction novel I was more than interested in taking a peek. I knew what to expect. Scott can write. He's a pro. His work is smooth, professionally edited, exciting and it draws a reader in. You know, the kind that pulls you in as the hours melt away. Yeah... he's got it like that. SO here it is... I'm proud to show you the cover reveal of Scott's newest baby, Army of Worn Soles. Take a look inside and you'll soon discover what it's like to take a walk in a past riddled with fear, horror, and the decency of men.
The Army of Worn Soles launch blog tour continues! Read to the end for the clue that will help you win the Grand Prize of a signed paperback copy of Army of Worn Soles plus a $50 Amazon gift card. If you collect all the clues and put them in the right order, they’ll make a sentence. Send the sentence to the author for a chance to win and autographed paperback copy of Army of Worn Soles plus a gift certificate from Amazon.
For a chance to enter the early-bird draw, enter the clue at the bottom of the post in the Comments section.
To see where the blog tour stops next, and to find the next clue, visit the author’s blog, Written Words.
Chapter 7: Barbarossa
Kyiv, Ukraine, 1941
Maurice squinted through a narrow window-slit in an armoured rail car, trying to get a clear view of their situation. “Kyiv. The enemy’s in Kyiv,” someone said behind him.
“How the fuck do you know it’s Kyiv?” someone else said.
“I grew up in Danyts’kyi. I know what Kyiv looks like.”
“The city is on fire,” a third man said. “The Germans have reached Kyiv already.”
All Maurice could see were houses and fields. The train crawled forward like a dying, groaning beast. He pressed his face against the shaking wall of the car, but could not see much other than the buildings along the track.
The view opened up briefly as they entered a rail yard then pulled up beside another train. Maurice saw men climbing out of wagons and unloading weapons, equipment, carts, supplies and horses. Officers and commissars strode and shouted. From overhead, he heard planes droning and roaring.
He turned away from the scene outside as the train slowed more. As its noise subsided, he heard more from outside: banging and clanging, orders yelled and acknowledged.
In front of Maurice were eleven men, his command. He had met them two days ago at the Okhtyrka train station, and he struggled to remember all their names. They were all Ukrainian, as was the rest of the company—except for the commissars. Maurice scanned over them. Vasylko looked bored, Yosyp nervous, Alexey terrified. Between them were their crates of supplies, two-wheeled carts, ammunition and two dismantled anti-tank guns.
The train groaned, shuddered and threw everyone aboard forward then back, then forward again as it stopped. “Get off me, asshole,” someone said. Someone else apologized. The door slid open to admit blinding sunshine and the tumult of an army assembling. Commissars ran along the train, banging on the wooden cars and yelling. “Out. Get off the train and assemble ready for action.”
Two men shoved a ramp out the wagon doors. It was really just boards hammered together, sitting on the edge of the wagon, not attached to anything. The men picked up sacks and boxes and ran out, or in teams pulled out carts and heavy crates.
“Come on, boys, off the train,” Maurice said.
My first order, he thought.
“Vasylko, Yosyp, Alexey, Myron, take the guns.” His men scrambled, picked up their things and joined the chaos of men and equipment pushing down the ramp.
Maurice saw two of his men reach the ground and look around, unsure of what to do among the throngs pushing in every direction. “Keep our equipment together, get it set up for transport,” he shouted to two men on the ground. Basil and Lev?
In the torrent of voices of men and horses and machine noise, a new drone pulled Maurice’s eyes up. Beyond the rail yard, empty fields fell down toward the Dnipro River, and beyond that, the city of Kyiv. Above, in the blue sky, two airplanes flew straight toward them.
“Messerschmidts,” someone yelled as the planes’ drone became a scream. The chaos of an army disembarking from trains became panic.
The planes were almost on top of them in seconds. Dust and dirt puffed up from the ground in twin rows, ripping toward the trains. Maurice did not have time to think. “They’re strafing us.” Men fell, screaming.
Maurice jumped to the right in the same instant he saw the wooden side of the wagon burst. He felt a scorching pain across his left leg, just below the knee. He hit the ground, rolled and found he could not stand up.
Two of his men ran to him. “Lieutenant, you’re hit,” one shouted over the din. Anti-aircraft guns boomed. Little black clouds cracked uselessly after the Messerschmidts. Somewhere, an equally useless machine-gun rattled. The Messers banked, graceful as eagles as they turned away to the west.
About the book:
1941: Their retreat across Ukraine wore their boots out—and they kept going.
Three months after drafting him, the Soviet Red Army throws Maurice Bury, along with millions of other under-trained men, against the juggernaut of Nazi Germany's Operation Barbarossa, the assault on the USSR.
Army of Worn Soles tells the true story of a Canadian who had to find in himself a way to keep himself alive—and the men who followed him.
It is available in e-book form exclusively on Amazon.
About the author:
Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and novelist based in Ottawa, Canada. He has written for magazines in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia.
He is author of The Bones of the Earth, a fantasy set in the real time and place of eastern Europe of the sixth century; One Shade of Red, a humorous erotic romance;
a children’s short story, Sam, the Strawb Part (proceeds of which are donated to an autism charity), and other stories.
Scott Bury lives in Ottawa with his lovely, supportive and long-suffering wife, two mighty sons and two pesky cats.
He can be found online at www.writtenword.ca, on his blog, Written Words, on Amazon, on Twitter @ScottTheWriter, and on Facebook.
Today’s clue: of