I'm happy to announce that both the digital and paperback version of Book Two of the "Intrepid Journey" series are now available on Amazon.
A wayward journey. A war-torn frontier. Can she protect her family through tragedy to claim their paradise?
New York, 1855. Jane Bennett misses her husband terribly. But as war encroaches on land and cholera wreaks havoc on the next ship out of port, she fears that she may never see Thomas again. Caught between two evils, Jane fears the decision she makes could seal her family’s fate.
With her husband forced to protect their future home against raids, Jane must lead her children on a grueling voyage to lawless San Francisco. As their money runs low and the dangers of roving kidnappers grow with each passing day, the stranded mother has no choice but to find deep inner strength to keep the ones she loves alive.
In a land ravaged by conflict, can Jane and her family find the path to a loving future?
Perils in Paradise is the second book in the gripping Intrepid Journey historical fiction series. If you like strong characters, family struggles, and frontier romance, then you’ll love this tale of courage.
THE PANAMA RAILROAD
Further along in "Intrepid Journey, Book Two: Perils in Paradise", my character, Robert Bennett, travels to England in 1857. By this time, the Panama Railroad had been completed, which cut travel time across the Isthmus of Panama from several days to less than a day, while linking the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Robert boards the train and crosses the Isthmus.
The history is extraordinary. Below is an excerpt about its history. I've included the link to the article describing the Panama Railroad construction. It's fascinating!
Inverted "U" rail, "screw" spike, and lignum-vitae hardwood tie used to build the Panama Railroad from 1851 to 1855.
In January, 1854 excavation began at the summit of the Continental Divide, where the earth had to be cut down over 40 feet. Several months were spent digging this cut. The road over the crest of the continental divide, at Culebra, was finally completed from the Atlantic side in January 1855, thirty-seven miles (60 km) of track having been laid from Colón (then called Aspinwall). A second team, working under less harsh conditions with railroad track, ties, railroad cars, locomotives and other supplies brought around Cape Horn by ship, completed their 11-mile (17.7 km) of track from Panamá City to the summit on the Pacific side of the Isthmus on a rainy midnight on January 27, 1855.
Notwithstanding all of the difficulties and discouragements, the road was successfully completed in 1855, just five years from the date of the beginning of its construction, at a total expenditure of $7,407,535.00. On January 27,1855, at midnight, in the pitch dark and in pelting rain, lit by sputtering whale oil lamps, the last rail was set in place on pine crossties. Totten himself had driven the last spike with a nine-pound maul. The following day, on January 28, 1855 the world's first transcontinental train ran from ocean to ocean. The massive project was done!
Upon completion the road stretched 47 miles (76 km), 3,020 feet (76 km) with a maximum grade of sixty feet to the mile (11.4 m/km or 1.14%). The summit grade, located 37.38 miles (60.16 km) from the Atlantic and 10.2 miles (16.4 km) from the Pacific, was 258.64 feet (78.83 m) above the assumed grade at the Atlantic terminus and 242.7 feet (74.0 m) above that at the Pacific, being 263.9 feet (80.4 m) above the mean tide of the Atlantic Ocean and the summit ridge 287 feet (87 m) above the same level.
They now had the job of making things permanent and up grading the railroad. Hastily erected Wooden bridges that quickly decayed in the tropical heat and often torrential rain had to be replaced with Iron bridges. Wooden trestles had to be converted to gravel embankments. The original pine ties only lasted about a year and they had to be replaced with lignum vitae ties, a wood so hard that they had to drill the ties before nailing the spikes.
The frightful toll of death, evidenced by the hundreds of wooden crosses that marked the graves of those who succumbed, gave rise to the epigrammatic and gruesome statement that "every tie in the Panama Railroad represents the life of some man who paid the price of its construction with his life."
The honor due these intrepid engineers, who with their men held to duty when it was more reasonable to leave it, has never been given: and the tragic fate that befell many of them has not been written in epic, song or story. Their only monument today is the Panama Railroad, the completion of which marked one of the greatest achievements of the age and will ever be a memorial to the dauntless courage of its brave builders and their story is one of the most gallant in the annals of commerce.