Review: Savage Wounds

Savage Wounds: The True Story of the Ruined Men
By Sam Knupp
Genre: Alternate History/Literature & Fiction
Rating: 5 Stars Fiction


Eight million shots fired. Some of that lead actually hit its intended targets. And that lethal storm of projectiles doesn’t count artillery fire, or the toll exacted by sword and fixed bayonet. The Battle at Gettysburg was a killing floor. It was also a place of creation. The 1st Gettysburg Invalids were born from that battle. This is their story.

Mr. Lincoln’s Men, some called them. Created from the aftermath: carnage the father, ingenuity the mother, and God only knows the additions and subtractions of bits and pieces of horribly wounded men now ruined and can’t go home. A battalion of the unlucky, unfortunate, and hard to kill: blind men, men without legs, men missing arms, men bereft of reason, shell-shocked and howling mad men. Sorry looking men individually. But collectively, a true fighting force and something the world has never seen before.

From rack and ruin, they come. To hell, they run. Soldiers of the line carried, dragged, and pushed onto the battlefront. Invalids all, gun fodder and a joke if they didn’t look so terrifying: ‘tin cup’ men, white cane and sideshow freaks armed, resolute and those many sightless eyes staring holes in space, screaming Bellamus Aeterni as they killed, as they died. They are one with their motto: forever we fight. For the terribly wounded, the war never ends in victory or defeat: only death changes anything.

Hail the 1st Gettysburg Invalids. They are on the march. And wherever they go, their colonel leads them. He is the man with no face. He wears the black velvet bag of command, and from the ruins of his lips, words slither into life. His men call him The Cobra. He is that and more. Colonel Goliath Entwhistle, the tallest man in America, first a traitor to the Union and then a traitor to the ‘Cause,’ forsworn twofold and yet promoted and entrusted by President Lincoln and General Meade with a battalion of ruined men. A Confederate officer commands the 1st Gettysburg. He is savagely wounded.


The way this reads in the snippet from Amazon, one would almost think this was going to be a history lesson over the Battle of Gettysburg, a well written one…the snippet is very well written, but that’s not quite the case here. This isn’t so much a history lesson as history, very varying points in history at that, turned to fiction…with a bit of a twist to it. Fun!

While this book is quite well written, I must admit, right off the bat I found something that felt out of place to me. Mr. Knupp begins by writing a story about Goliath of Gath, now…most know that Goliath of Gath is a Biblical character from the book of Samuel. You know the story of David and Goliath…right? Well, during this first story Goliath is recalls something a friend had once said regarding the size of his wallet. Wait..what? Wallet? They didn’t have wallets back then…did they? Well, a quick search on the Internet set me straight about that. Yessiree Billy Bob Thornton! Wallets have actually been around since antiquity…whodathunkit? Extra points to Mr. Knupp for today’s tidbit of trivia that will stick in my brain for the rest of my life! Oh, and thanks too for the slightly different take on David and Goliath that ends with “Wisdom says, ‘Just because it’s in the Bible doesn’t make it true. It only makes it Biblical’.” I’m stealing that phrase, I hope you don’t mind; it’s just too good not to share with others.

And so begins this book of short stories about different points in history with a healthy dose of artistic license woven through them to make these stories different than the ones you may think you know.

Mr. Knupp has such a pleasant style and cadence to his writing; it’s intelligent and comfortable at the same time even when the subject is difficult to read. And the phrases he includes at the end of each story really do make you stop and think about what you’ve just read. They sort of bring to mind for me the old Andy Griffith show and his laid-back way of getting a point across.

So would I recommend this book, absolutely! No doubt about it! This is a rare 5 star read for me. One very well adapted for people who maybe don’t even like to read much, or who find it difficult to read long chapters without falling asleep (yes, I’m talking about my husband.) These stories are very short, very easy to digest and then put the book down and come back to it again later. This would make very nice reading material too for someone when visiting someone in a hospital, or an elderly relative or friend whose eyesight isn’t what it used to be. The art of reading aloud to others has almost disappeared and this is the perfect type of book for reading aloud.

So pick this one up…you’ll be reading it more than once….I’m certain of that.

Wisdom says A bird in the hand, or is it bushel…oven? Awe, never mind!


Disclaimer* I always like to recognize a good cover when I find one. There are so many “meh” or just flat out bad covers on self-published books these days…but this isn’t one of them!

This is an intriguing cover, overall I like the concept. As a cover artist myself, I would have suggested one small correction to it though. Bring all of the fonts forward, so that the gauze overlay isn’t running over the title. Making this small change would really bring the title forward, make it more clear, and help it pop. Other than that, I think it’s is a very effective cover…well done.

If you would like to read more of my reviews, come join me at my blog www.


About Anita Dugan-Moore

This blog gives me the opportunity to talk about the book covers I create for some wonderful authors and share my thoughts on movies and books that I love. Who knows...I may even share some of my own writing on here...or whatever else happens to pop into my mind.
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