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Paul Clayton Books In Order

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Publication Order of Calling Crow Books

Calling Crow (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Flight of the Crow (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Calling Crow Nation (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
White Seed (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
In the Shape of a Man (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Van Ripplewink (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Crossing Over (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Strange Worlds (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Talk to a Real, Live Girl (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Escape From the Future and Other Stories (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Paul Clayton

Paul Clayton is an American author of historical fiction books best known for his Calling Crow Trilogy, which details on the Spanish Conquest of Florida’s. His 2003 novel, Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam was a finalist at Frankfurt eBook Awards in Germany. Paul’s White Seed was a semifinalist in the Amazon ABNA awards, a finalist at the International Book Awards, a got an Honorable Mention at San Francisco Book Festival. He lives in San Francisco Bay Area with his family, son, and daughter.

Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam

True to its title, Paul Clayton’s standalone novel Carl Melcher Go to Vietnam tells of a story of GI’s tragedies and experiences during his mission in Vietnam. The story opens up in 1968, when the youthful main character, Carl, drops out of college and is enlisted. Upon his arrival in Vietnam, he’s so full of hope that good karma will protect him from dying. That’s until his friends, one by one meet their deaths.

In this book, Paul Clayton pulls off the acknowledgeable feat of being a clangorous anti-war yet at the same time pro-troops. The author’s criticisms of the war spelled in this novel lie with the wastage of human life that’s strongly characterized Vietnam than the soldiers who were sent to serve. This statement is further supported by one of the characters, which states that “good people are thrown away in the war, sacrificed because of stupidity and ego.”

Complementing, the author’s anti-war message is a theme of the vanity/uselessness felt by the troops. Every day the soldiers are unable to see any real progress gained by their efforts in same way as the lower black during the civil rights movement never saw any good results of the Black Panthers movement, as police would still assault and arrest them for no reason. The lack of progress pushes Melcher such that he creates a theory that the war is one big training exercise. The use of this theme strongly ties this book to the Iraq war in that the soldiers and the civilians are alike and they are unable to see any real progress. This book is timely because today in different countries, a generation of young people finds themselves entangled in conflicts they didn’t have a hand in instigating.

The similarity that can be made between history (war in Vietnam) and the present day (war in Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc.) will either aid in setting out meaning in connection with history or rather further frustrate with the vanity of such repeating global violence.

The confusion and bitterness that many 40-and ’50s may have towards the Vietnam “experience”- as it’s normally called because the war was never officially declared- allows them to connect vividly with Paul Clayton’s character. At the same time, generation X and Y can make clear historical connections between Carl and the veterans of the Iraq war. The author does a fantastic job of delivering his anti-war message both ultra-finely and clearly. He doesn’t go into detail about unjustified violence and hardly uses any cursing but instead uses a more effective language that focuses on the human reaction to tragedy. Clayton’s lack of use of swear words, which is normally used by enlisted men, doesn’t mean that he has created a poor portrait of war. The reader is forced put away their rose-colored glasses when reading about one soldier who becomes suicidal after a few weeks in the field and another who’s accidentally wounded in friendly fire.

Paul Clayton fills the book’s plot with interesting and dynamic characters. Racial tension among the characters not only reflects the reality of the period but adds to the authenticity of the characters. Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam novel has received mixed reviews. The London Morning Paper cheers the book as a recommended read for all ages thanks to its historical relevance. Overall this novel will provoke the reader into asking questions relating to the true cost of war in terms of human life and a person’s freedom. The story also leaves the reader with an honest picture of the trauma caused by war.

White Seed

The Lost Colony of Roanoke is one of the longest unsolvable mysteries in the history of the world. The small colony on the coast of what is now North Carolina and deserted in 1585 only to be replenished in 1587 with a new group of settlers led by John White. White would later return to England to find recruits and raise supplies. Delayed by politics and weather and the founder’s wavering attention, it took about three years before White could return with an expedition to a deserted fort and settled with letter CRO carved in a tree nearby.

Paul Clayton takes his readers inside the walls of the primate settlement with his interesting fictional account of what could have happened. Populated by greedy soldiers, feuding and lazy men, and friendly & fearsome natives there is tension and incitement aplenty as this isolated society withered away from the pages of history.

White Seeds reads like Lord of the Flies meets Heart of Darkness. Clayton’s steady-paced style fades in and out nicely likes scenes a horror movie, showing the boredom with those frequent glimpse of imminent doom lurking in the horizon as the reader already guesses and feels the strong pull of destruction. The characters in the story feel it too, as they are stressed over the year when White doesn’t return. They face troubles in the trade relationship with the native tribes, and they are unable to thrive and survive in such a foreign land.

Some of the characters can maintain their heroism and humanity to the very end, like Maggie, the Irish girl, and Manteo, the man who acted as a go-between the settlers and the native tribes. But others, like deteriorating soldiers and the feuding gentlemen fade into madness and in the background. By reading this novel’s blurb, you’ll see that the author did his homework, and the three years of nightmares and terrors are well portrayed on the pages of this novel. The characters are vividly drawn, real, and likable and with strengths and shortcomings that are portrayed.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Paul Clayton

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