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Media & Press – The Last Laird of Sapelo

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The Last Laird of Sapelo, August 15, 2023 (Koehler Books)

Advance Reviews & Blurbs – The Last Laird of Sapelo


“As Union forces descend on Georgia’s barrier islands during the opening stages of America’s Civil War, the South’s first casualty is its monetary lifeline — its burgeoning cotton empire, Dixie’s “white gold.” Distinguished author T.M. Brown’s historical novel The Last Laird of Sapelo spares no punches in this riveting, gut-wrenching saga of the minuscule line separating independence and freedom.”

—Jedwin Smith, Author of Fatal Treasure and Our Brother’s Keeper

“T.M. Brown raises the bar for Civil War-era historical fiction. Using compelling, well-researched details, Brown writes with confidence and lyricism about neglected parts of the conflict and its impact on the coastal islands of Georgia. Civil War fiction fans need to add this novel to their bookshelves today!”

—George Weinstein, Award-winning Author of the Hardscrabble Road series, Executive Director, Atlanta Writers Club, Atlanta Writers Conference Director

“Regardless of the fiction label, this book is based on real people of the 1860s and reads like the author was there. The story of the Spalding family and Sapelo Island is a well-researched and very personal glimpse of 19th-century Georgia and a family caught up in events they cannot avoid. Mike Brown has brought this family and coastal Georgia to life!”

—Steve Quesinberry, Author of Better Men: Coweta County and the Vietnam War

“Much has been written about the historic battles fought between 1861 and 1865, but other aspects of the war were just as pivotal, especially the Union blockade of southern ports that put a stranglehold on supplies desperately needed by the Confederacy. 

“Set in the first year of the blockade, The Last Laird of Sapelo illuminates lesser known but crucial events in coastal Georgia and South Carolina through the true story of Colonel Randolph Spalding, a noted Sapelo Island cotton planter. Spalding questions the wisdom of Georgia’s secession in 1861, but once his native state declares her independence and joins the Confederacy, he ardently supports her cause, determined to do all that he can to defend his new country and preserve a home and legacy for his family.

“Colonel Spalding’s struggles and sacrifices are vividly depicted as he faces the reality of powerful Union naval forces threatening the coasts of the Carolinas and Georgia, and he is forced to move his family and many slaves inland to safety, ultimately abandoning his beloved island plantation. Early in the war he is given command of Confederate troops stationed on Sapelo Island, and gets his first taste of real 

fighting when he and his men are called in as reinforcements at Port Royal, South Carolina—only to find that the battle is as good as lost by the time they arrive. General Robert E. Lee figures in the novel in his early efforts to organize coastal defenses in the deep South. 

“This is well-researched, engaging historical fiction that brings to life a dramatic and little-known story of America’s bloodiest war.”

—Karen Stokes, Archivist and Author at South Carolina Historical Society

“The sea islands are a series of large barrier islands that lay along the Southern coast from Charleston to Jacksonville. Broad sounds penetrate the region in from the sea, flooding the meandering rivers and creeks that wind through the great tidal salt marshes teem with fish, shrimp, crabs, oysters, alligators, marsh hens, herons, osprey, and eagles.

“In colonial and antebellum times, these islands were homes to plantations of rice and long-staple sea island cotton – great, largely self-sufficient estates supporting a community and an organic way of life as old as Feudal Europe.

“Author T. M. Brown – who is intimately familiar with the region and his subject matter – gives the reader a comprehensive portrait of the region and the way of life of a great estate before it vanished forever with his novel The Last Laird of Sapelo. The book centers around Col. Randolph Spalding, the patriarch of a great estate on Sapelo Island, Georgia, and the extended family and interdependent patriarchal society there before it was violently atomized by the War Between the States and the coming of a new world order.

“Mr. Brown’s work presents the reader with an informed and sympathetic portrait of a portion of the Old South untainted by the specious presentism or vindictive political virtue posting that corrupts so much of portraiture today. I recommend it highly.”

—H. V. Traywick, Jr., Author of Empire of the Owls: Reflections on the North’s War against Southern Secession

“In The Last Laird of Sapelo, Mike Brown does a masterful job of telling the historic story of how the Civil War changed forever the Spalding family, their slaves, and the crucial barrier island of Sapelo on which they lived. He shares in detail the bonds between the Spalding family members and their servants without skirting the inhumanity of slavery. The compelling read was extensively researched and provides an interesting account in story form of how the conflict negatively impacted the owners and other inhabitants of Sapelo Island, including Randolph Spalding, who answered the call to defend the cause of the Confederate States even though he didn’t favor Secession. The Last Laird of Sapelo provides an important insight into helping us to understand one of the worst times in the history of our country. ”

—Harry J. Deitz Jr., Author of Covey: A Stone’s Throw from a Coal Mine to the Hall of Fame, Our Father’s Journey: A Path Out of Poverty, and Journal of a Caregiver: A Story of Love and Devotion

“I knew nothing of either Randolph Spalding or of Sapelo Island before reading this book. But from the first chapter on, I felt thoroughly immersed in 1860s coastal Georgia as the Spalding family grappled with the challenges of war. Mike Brown’s vivid imagery and his mastery of historical detail deliver a powerful story I am already eager to read a second time.”

Lawrence W. Reed, President Emeritus, Humphreys Family Senior Fellow and Ron Manners Global, Ambassador for Liberty

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