Marc Graham

Transforming Lives Through Story

Of Ashes and Dust

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Jim Robbins is a dead man, and he knows it. He’s fought Yankee and Pawnee, fought for the love of two very different women, fought for his very survival. Now, as the scenes of his life flash before him, his greatest struggle is about to begin.

Wounded in a railroad explosion, Jim reviews those moments that shaped him. From the inequities of the Antebellum South, to the horrors of the American Civil War, to the juggernaut of westward expansion, he played his part in the events that forged a nation—and not always for the better.

In his debut novel, Marc Graham explores what it is that defines a life. Is there meaning and purpose, or is it all just a series of accidents? Is a man simply the victim of circumstance, or maker of his own destiny? Perhaps most important, do his choices and actions survive him, or is his life but a stirring of ashes and dust?


What people are saying

Romantic Times Book Reviews

In Graham’s debut, he spins a gripping human-interest story. Written in first person, the continually flowing plot alternates between the past and present, and is heavily punctuated with themes befitting the Civil War era, such as slavery, Freemasonry and railroad production. Graham features the life of one man who lived through that period. Although historical records do not provide a hefty amount of information on Jim Robbins, Graham gathered enough data to create an inspirational wartime love story.

Historical Novel Review

Debut author Marc Graham has skillfully composed an exceptional historical novel, epic and sweeping, masterfully covering monumental events. The various regional dialects are rendered with charm in fast-moving dialogue. Of Ashes and Dust is a glorious, uplifting and rewarding read which I certainly recommend.

Booklist Online

Jim Robbins is a sharecropper’s son living in pre-Civil War Arkansas.The book follows Jim through the horrors of war to the building of the Transcontinental Railway, from burning love to heartbreaking deception, from great highs to dreadful lows. His characters are real enough to be believed, while the situations could be lifted right out of history. Overall, this is a well written, very readable story…

LS Hawker, USA Today Bestselling Author

Marc Graham has crafted a vivid, exhilarating narrative that manages to be simultaneously fresh and familiar, epic yet intimate, without a single wasted word. Graham digs deep into the emotions and thoughts of his characters, bringing them to lyrical, glowing life with an engineer’s precision and a poet’s heart. Prepare to be swept up in Graham’s world—and when you’ve read the final page in the wee hours, you’ll wish you could start all over again.

Heather Webb, Author of Rodin’s Lover

Graham writes with visceral, yet lilting prose that transports the reader directly into the Antebellum south. His characters shimmer with liveliness and his meticulous research shines. Fans of both American history or a good old-fashioned tale that poses integral questions of family, class, and race will delight in OF ASHES AND DUST.

Book Pipeline

Obviously written by a pro with a clear talent in colorful language use and vivid descriptions that paint a vibrant period drama set in the mid-1800’s… The emotional investment experienced in the opening chapters is palpable and compels the audience to read further…