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Historical novel out in 2024

Suspension Bridge, Niagara Falls

Late in the summer of 1864, a young woman with a troubled past reluctantly returns to Niagara Falls and the border with British Canada. Her assignment? Somehow keep rebel spies John Yates Beall and Bennet Burley from seizing the lone Union gunship remaining on the Great Lakes.


If Beall and Burley can commandeer the U.S.S. Michigan, they plan to bombard Cleveland and Buffalo on the eve of upcoming presidential election. This will certainly end Abraham Lincoln's chances of a second term. To a desperate attempt to stop them, Secretary of State William Seward turns to inexperienced agents like Rory Chase, his daughter Fanny's best friend.

Soon time runs out for Rory and the Union operatives. Can they stymie the Confederates before the Michigan falls into rebel hands? In a climactic scene atop the Suspension Bridge spanning the Niagara River, during a raging blizzard, Rory has a final chance to redeem herself.


Based upon true events, REBEL FALLS tells a forgotten chapter of the epic struggle. A time when the clash wasn't between armies and generals, but spies and unlikely allies. A place of extreme beauty where the Civil War briefly hung in the balance.


A hardcover Spring 2024 release from Three Hills, the trade imprint for Cornell University Press, REBEL FALLS has garnered advance praise. "This is history that goes down smoothly," writes Burt Solomon, author of THE MURDER OF WILLIE LINCOLN. "You feel like you're there."


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'Ghosts of Cuba'

Thanks to Greg Rienzi for the terrific review of ESCAPE FROM CASTRO'S CUBA in the Winter issue of the Johns Hopkins magazine. He detailed my inspiration for the new novel. How I couldn't get Cuba out of my mind after my fourth trip to the island in early 2017. One of the amazing characters I met on this visit was our 80-year-old landlady, who first came to Havana as a member of Castro's revolutionary army. 

Greg's piece closes with a quote from Billy Bryan, protagnoist of the new novel and its prequel, CASTRO'S CURVEBALL: "Cuba is beautiful, but has a dark heart."

True, so true.

In addition, here's an online chat Greg and I had about ESCAPE for the JHU Hub -- https://hub.jhu.edu/magazine/2021/winter/escape-castros-cuba-wendel/ 

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