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The Founding, Book 3
Across the Great Divide
Michael L. Ross
The Founding, Book 3
Publish Date: December 6, 2022
Available: Paperback, Ebook, Audiobook

Two men, two dreams, two new towns on the plains, and a railroad that will determine whether the towns—one black, one white—live or die.

Will Crump has survived the Civil War, Red Cloud’s War, and the loss of his love, but the search for peace and belonging still eludes him. From Colorado, famed Texas Ranger Charlie Goodnight lures Will to Texas, where he finds new love, but can a Civil War sharpshooter and a Quaker find a compromise to let their love survive? When Will has a chance to join in the founding of a new town, he risks everything—his savings, his family, and his life—but it will all be for nothing if the new railroad passes them by.

Luther has escaped slavery in Kentucky through Albinia, Will’s sister, only to find prejudice rearing its ugly head in Indiana. When the Black Codes are passed, he’s forced to leave and begin a new odyssey. Where can he and his family go to be truly free? Can they start a town owned by blacks, run by blacks, with no one to answer to? But their success will be dependent on the almighty railroad and overcoming bigotry to prove their town deserves the chance to thrive.

Will’s eldest sister, Julia, and her husband, Hiram, are watching the demise of their steamboat business and jump into railroads, but there’s a long black shadow in the form of Jay Gould, the robber baron who ruthlessly swallows any business he considers competition. Can Julia fight the rules against women in business, dodge Gould, and hold her marriage together?

The Founding tells the little-known story of the Exodusters and Nicodemus, the black town on the plains of Kansas, and the parallel story of Will’s founding of Lubbock, Texas, against the background of railroad expansion in America. A family reunited, new love discovered, the quest for freedom, the rise of two towns. In the end, can they reach Across the Great Divide? The Founding is the exciting conclusion to the series.

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“Michael is an excellent storyteller and has done a wonderful job depicting Luther, and the other black characters in this book. He has done his homework and depicts many historical facts about Nicodemus in a most enlightening and creative way. It has been a pleasure working with someone who has made a concerted effort to get things right.”
Executive Director, The Nicodemus Historical Society and Museum

“As a book reviewer, it is quite rare to find a book where the author manages to successfully educate and entertain the reader much like this. The Founding is a book that tells the story of two men, from different backgrounds, as they navigate their life in America at a time when a lot of things were uncertain. This book connects characters from different backgrounds to become Americans who would soon face a common problem. One of the things to love about this book, one which needs to be highlighted is the different lifestyles that the two characters had. As stated earlier, this book is one that manages to both educate and entertain the reader. With this book written for teenagers, it’s crucial to highlight this aspect. The book tells the story of two men, one Caucasian American and another African American. These men, historically, live different lives, especially during the time setting. From a reviewer’s perspective and having read a lot of books, the expertise of the author in showing how different their lives were is also to be highlighted. The author successfully shows the privilege of one character, how their priorities seem misplaced, and how these aspects control or dictate their decisions.
On the other hand, he shows the struggle of the other character, how discrimination and prejudice affected him, and how these aspects too affected his decision-making. Surprisingly, the author successfully connects these characters and despite their different backgrounds and races, he somehow shows the connection and similarity between them. We see how these characters lived their lives and they could be used as point of view characters for young readers today to understand the life of different cultures back in the day.”
The Historical Fiction Company

“Set during the end of the Civil War when racial divides were strong, this split-time story of Will, Luther, their families, and the building of railroads is not only intriguing but also very emotional!
I loved how the author made the characters warm and inviting to get to know which made a larger book a joy to read. His gift of weaving the perfect amount of detail to keep you wanting to turn the page is fascinating.
This is the 3rd book of The Clouds of War series and I will be getting the first 2 books to complete the collection.
As much as I loved the book itself, I was equally enthralled with the history given in the author’s notes section of the book. That was the icing on the cake so to speak and showed just how much effort and research went into this amazing work of true-to-life fiction.”