What would you do if you found an old Civil War diary?
In Treasure of the Diary by Tom Collins, three college students find one. And their find sends them to Western North Carolina and a stay at Applewood Manor in Asheville as they search for a stash of stolen Civil War gold. If you are wondering how that gold got there, Tom Collins explained recently while visiting and enjoying a sunny day on Applewood’s Rocking Chair Porch.
Back in 1864, shortly after the burning of Atlanta, a gang of Confederate irregulars stormed a Union train and made off with half a ton of gold which they buried somewhere in the city of Asheville. A fellow who might have been the only surviving train robber was captured by Union troops.
After his capture, Corporal James Donelson Walker of the Confederate Army, arrives on Ship Island off the coast of Mississippi and to a smell as foul as any pig farm mingled with that of dead bodies. Out of sight of the guards, he secretly records in his diary the plight of prisoners—mistreatment, bad food and water, disease, general miseries, and the occasional fleeting moments of happiness in an otherwise hopeless place. When he fears he will not reach freedom alive, he writes a secret in his journal.
More than one hundred and fifty years later, the college students discover the diary’s secret and take a room at the Applewood Manor to begin searching for the buried gold.
When one of the students disappears, the others call for help. Mark Rollins arrives and is joined in the search for the student by two tough looking men dispatched to the area by the missing boy’s uncle, a Miami mob boss.
Things get dicey when the students discover that they are not the only ones after the gold.
If you’re wondering about Applewood Manor’s role in the story, the historic inn plays host to the main characters. Mark Rollins, his sidekick, Tony Caruso, and the college students are well fed and cared for by the Applewood Manor staff including innkeeper, Robin, and the Manor’s three French bulldogs, Pearl, Cleo, and Ziggy. Rollins enjoys the Northern Spy Suite, and the students stay in Applewood’s Cortland Cottage.
The new novel by the award winning author, Tom Collins, will be available in print, eBook and audio formats and is scheduled for release in December. Treasure of the Diary is the seventh book in the author’s Mark Rollins Adventures series. Pre-release orders for signed copies of Treasure of the Diary are being accepted now on www.tomcollinsauthor.com.