Meet the ancestral characters of 107-year-old practicing veterinarian Chet Luddington

Wouldn’t you like to have a few of the genes from his family line added to yours?

Shaka is a Hun who battles and conquers people and territory alongside Attila back in the fifth century. Shaka’s life is good: he has a wife obtained through warfare; a strong steed to ride, battle, and even sleep on; and even a small son. Things are about to change, though. Soon he’ll have sorrows he never anticipated after the Huns attack the Byzantine Empire, headquartered in what is now Istanbul.

Bersi is a Norsemen (aka Viking) who lives and works as a sword smith in Jorvik, England in the tenth century. Like any strapping young man, Bersi feels the need for female companionship. The mute captive he dubs “Dyflin” after buying her as a bed slave brings him far more trouble than comfort, however. When he decides to take a wife to relieve his pent-up urges, life takes a deeper dive.

Erik is Bersi and Dyflin’s son: a slave by birth, but one that Bersi sets free. Things really start to look up for Erik until the birth of his first child. Oh, and there’s also bitter woman who pronounces a curse on him. It’s tough to move ahead with that kind of thing hanging over you.

Ellyn and her family are fullers in 14th century. Stomping wool in vats of urine may not be a glamorous profession, but it provided a better living than many occupations in England in 1315. That year of The Great Famine led people to alarming ways of filling their bellies. Ellyn needs to act and react to desperate people around her, and then must live with her conscience, which is not as easy as it might seem.

Daniel is the son of well-known cooks when the Great Fire of London threatens to destroy the city in 1666. He and Isabel, a survivor of the Great Plague of London just one year earlier, must flee with a cart loaded with the items they’ll need to restart the family business. Evacuees head to St. Paul’s Cathedral for refuge. When it, too, is ensconced in flames, it seems nothing and no one will survive.

Cage and Gil, sons of furniture-maker Ephraim Luddinton,  are sick of life in 1826 New York City and the family business. Against their parents’ wishes, they join the trickle of brave and somewhat reckless young men who go out West to hunt beaver and live as mountain men. Gil has a greater affinity for life in the mountains, but his ornery mule acts up and runs off, leaving Cage to manage on his own. What will he tell his parents?

Ephraim, nearly twenty-five years after his sons deserted him, at last has a successful furniture making business. A lot of the credit goes to two modest and hardworking employees, Len and Cuff. When Ephraim’s grandson comes to stay and learn the furniture-making trade, Ephraim must struggle with emotions he thought he’d buried for good. Heaped on top of that burden is a betrayal from unexpected sources.

Alana and her family are desperately poor subsistence farmers in Skibbereen, Ireland. They’re depending on their potatoes to take them through yet another harsh winter. In the fall of 1845, disaster strikes and their entire crop is blighted. Many in Ireland subsequently face starvation, sickness, eviction, and death. Are the fairies to blame for their sorrows? Perhaps English landlords are behind Irish problems. Maybe Britain itself should be blamed for the miseries that drag growing numbers of Irish to their deaths. Can Alana survive such unrelenting horrors? 

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