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Author launches 4th 'Gauntlet Runner' book

| Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Cami DiBattista | for Trib Total Media
S. Thomas Bailey, will be launching “Blood Lines,” the fourth book in “The Gauntlet Runner” series, during Fort Ligonier Days.

Author of an award winning historical fiction series, S. (Steve) Thomas Bailey, will be launching “Blood Lines,” the fourth book in “The Gauntlet Runner” series, next month in Ligonier.

The Early Colonial American and French and Indian War-themed books offer an exciting story line that is historically accurate, due to Bailey's diligent research — some of which was done in Ligonier.

“The best way to research is to visit the sites and areas you write about,” said Bailey. “You really get the essence and ‘feel' about the area when you walk behind the walls of a fort. Fort Ligonier is one of the best examples of a 18th-century frontier fort.”

Bailey said he and his family have visited the Ligonier area several times and support the fort by purchasing annual passes.

“Fort Ligonier has an amazing museum and the examples of artillery they have is second to none,” he said.

Bailey's first book in the series, “The Gauntlet Runner,” was published in 2011. The series will ultimately contain seven books covering each year of the French and Indian War.

The books tell the story of a young Pennsylvania family, who are desperate to overcome struggles brought on by their involvement in the war.

The series includes figures such as young George Washington and takes place in western Pennsylvania, among other locations that played important roles during the French and Indian War.

“I've always enjoyed historical/action fiction,” said Bailey. “It's a great way to teach the reader about a time period or person and keep them entertained at the same time. History, at times, can be pretty dry and it is easy to ‘lose' a casual reader so I like the genre since you get the best of both worlds.”

Bailey plans for the series and some of its characters to eventually move into the period around the American Revolution.

The book signing is slated for Oct. 12 at the museum during Fort Ligonier Days.

The first four books in the series will be available at the museum store.

“I think it's wonderful when a historical fiction writer utilizes the resources of historic sites like Fort Ligonier to provide context and inspiration for the tales they weave,” said Erica Knuckles, director of history at Fort Ligonier. “The storyline of “The Gauntlet Runner” series is very connected to the history presented at the fort.”

Bailey, who resides with his family in Ontario, Canada, said he found inspiration in his own rich family history.

“The time period is in my blood,” said Bailey, whose mother is a Micmac from the east coast of Canada, a tribe during the war that was one of the last to leave the side of the French as the war ended.

“I am very proud of my First Nations heritage and respect what they had to endure through time,” he said.

Bailey's grandmother on his father's side was related to famed explorer James Cook.

“I grew up reading about his early years, as well as, his exploits as an explorer,” he recalled.

Bailey has been intrigued by the time period for many years and enjoys educating others about it.

“This war period is sometimes called the “Forgotten War” and is not really known to many people. I find it sad that such an important period is not covered in schools or other means.”

Additional Fort Ligonier Days activities planned for the fort include a reenactment commemorating the battle that occurred there, gallery talks with Col. Henry Bouquet and live history demonstrations throughout the weekend.

Cami DiBattista is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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