Book SummaryRetired Army Ranger Thomas Lane once burned for the taste of gunpowder and the thrill of the battle. But as he struggles to cope with his own PTSD and the death of his eldest son, killed by an IED in Afghanistan, Lane learns that the price of war is far too dear.
When the National Guard calls up Lane's youngest son to serve, Lane knows he will do anything to save his child--even if it means going in his place, a pursuit unheard of since the Civil War when slaves were sent to war in place of their masters.
In His Stead, Judith Sander's second novel, follows Thomas Lane's crusade against the United States Army, its JAG corps, a vengeful officer, the very son he is desperate to save, and his own wife, who has the Solomon-like choice of losing either a husband or a son.
Guest Post by Judith Sanders"Sander's rich rendering of Civil War law, validated in the 21st century to save Thomas Lane's son is rare and spellbinding. The humanity linking the pages… will pierce you like a sword."
—Retired Judge Advocate General of the U. S. Army Hugh R. Overholt
"An ancient law, a modern war, and a father's love that knows no bounds".
First I would like to say IN HIS STEAD felt ‘right’ in the writing. The words literally ran out of me nonstop. All the stories from generations of my family members, my husband included, and friends who served in the military are the source from which the intense passion, endearing affections, and zesty humor between the pages has flowed.
This story pulled on my heart and strikes a cord with all parents. IN HIS STEAD prompts a question no parent ever wants to address.
It is the very question Thomas Lane faces: What would you be willing to do to rescue your child from eminent danger?
Well, Thomas Lane has a great answer.
The main character of IN HIS STEAD, Thomas Lane is a retired Army Ranger coping with PTSD. He is a man we might know. He is a loving father, a friend to his neighbors, and a beloved husband. He is not perfect and like many workaholic fathers leaves his children’s day-to-day lives in the hands of his wife. But when it comes to the military he is perfectly matched for the task he tackles.
After two years his family is still morning the loss of his eldest son to an IED in Afghanistan. So when Tom’s second and last son, a musician, with more earrings in his ears than the local jewelry store and who only joined the National Guard to stay out of jail is called to duty, Tom is determined not to leave this son’s future to fate. Tom goes on the offensive and is determined to not only prevent the boy from serving but if necessary to serve in his son’s place. After all, rationalizes Tom, ‘That’s what dad’s do, protect their kids”.
Tom searches for legal ammunition and finds it with the help of a Confederate slave owner who had been dead for the last one hundred and thirty years.
He discovers an obscure Civil War common law that allowed one man to serve in another’s stead. Tom sets out on the rocky and dangerous road to take his son’s place, just as slaves were once sent to replace their masters and rich Northerner’s like J. P. Morgan and Grover Cleveland paid Irish immigrants to fight and die in their place.
Tom ignites a chain reaction of conflicts between himself and the United States Army, it’s legal corps (JAG), a vengeful commanding officer, the much young soldiers in his platoon, and his own son. Tom’s obstacles include his own wife who is given the Solomon like choice to either say goodbye as another son goes off to war or let her war ravished husband take their boy’s place.
Thomas Lane is a father with heart: loving, idealistic, and dangerous when his family is threatened.
But can one blue-collar American win his battle against the United States Army?
This troubled veteran’s rollercoaster journey reshapes many lives most of all Tom’s as he learns what it really means to be a dad, and by example equips his son with a code of conduct for being a man.
IN HIS STEAD is grounded in solid historical fact, common law, and traces Tom’s transformation from a troubled veteran and reluctant parent to a hero who earns the respect of family, fellow soldiers, and the very enemy he is fighting. Ultimately, Tom’s expression of fatherly love becomes a bright beacon in a world exhausted by the shadow of terrorism and the tears of war.
Meet Judith SandersJudith was born and raised in a small rural town in New Jersey. She had a family, became a
single mom and then pursued a career as a nurse working in hospitals and with the US military as a civilian nurse. Judith is remarried and has 3 children and 4 grandchildren and she and her
husband divide their time between homes in North Carolina and New Hampshire.
Judith is an avid reader of fiction. Inspired by her natural story telling, a passion for characters,
and events around the first Gulf War and her husband’s military service in Iraq, she turned to the
right side of her brain to begin her writing career with her first novel, Crescent Veil, a reality fiction novel about a terrorist band who finds the missing WMDs from Iraq and a team of former
weapons inspectors who hunt down the terrorists. With her second novel, In His Stead (A
Father’s War) she honors the memories of those fallen and looks to a path to peace.
In His Stead is available from:
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