law of moses book mockup.png
By Kwen D Griffeth
literary titan and readers fave icons.png

The Law of Moses

2017 Readers' Choice Silver Medal Award Winner

Recipient of The Gold Award from Literary Titan

Earned five 5 Star Reviews from Readers' Favorite 

“Ain’t right. Bushy was a good man. Ain’t right burying him with this trash.”

West looked at the man who had all the characteristics of a teamster. “Did you know this man?” West motioned to Bushy.

“Course I know’d him. He hailed from St. Louis. Still has a daughter back there, I think. He was a good man. Most of the mines in these parts wouldn’t have gear and food if it weren’t for Bushy and men like him. It ain’t right the marshal sticking him in the ground with those two thieves and killers.”

“I didn’t see you voice your concern when the marshal was here.”

“No! And you won’t see me step on rattlesnakes either.”

“What does that mean?”

The teamster looked at West as if wondering if West was simple, “You don’t know what I mean? You don’t know Sam Moses?”

West shrugged, “Can’t say that I do. He’s only been marshal a couple of days. Our old marshal died in his sleep. Marshal Tom had been the law here as long as I have been here and that’s a spell. We put out the word, and Moses was the first to respond. We got trail herds coming through in a bit so we hired him.”

The teamster struggled to hold back his chuckling, “You hired Sam Moses to be your marshal as a pig in a poke?”

“I don’t see what is so funny.”

“Do you have laws on the book here, or a list of dos and don’ts the people are supposed to live by?”

“Sure, we have laws, voted on by the town council and signed into law by the mayor.”

“Well, you can throw that book away. This town is under the Law of Moses now.”

Sam Moses was a hard and unforgiving man.  Some said he was an angry man; others called him mean.  He was all of these and he was none of them.  Sam Moses was a man alone and in pain.  It hadn’t always been so.

Born Samuel Moses Cardiff, he was the son of a church minister and school master.  He was also a committed pacifist.  As the threat of Civil War loomed ever larger, Samuel was determined to have no part in it.  He returned from Teachers College the summer of 1860, determined to find a position, and marry the girl he dreamed of.

A call to arms from President Lincoln changed it all, and Samuel found himself in uniform, and marching south.

Trained in the military art of warfare, Samuel is still unprepared for the carnage at the Battle of Antietam.  Samuel deserts the Army, and Sam Moses is born.

The Law of Moses is the story of a Civil War soldier, who suffers from PTSD, and it chronicles his struggles and his attempts to once again find his humanity, spirituality and peace.

higher calling book mockup.png
By Kwen Griffeth
literary titan award for book pages.png

A Higher Calling

Recipient of The Gold Award from Literary Titan

What is the matter with you? We do not need his money!” She stood behind him; her hands on her hips.
“It’s not about the money.”
His voice was calm. He could have told her what day of the week it was with the same level of excitement.
“Then why? Why must you go back and try to get yourself killed? You have responsibilities here!”
Sam stopped brushing and seemed ready to turn and face her. He then thought better and did not. He returned to brushing the horse.
“Samuel, you turn around and face me! You tell me why I have to get ready to mourn a second man in my life. You tell me what I’m supposed to tell our children!”
His turn was powerful and deliberate; he faced her, “Our children, Laura? It wasn’t that long ago you told me in no uncertain terms they were your children and I was a bad influence. You share them with me only when it suits you. They are our children if you think you can use them to your advantage.”
“Is that why you’re doing this? To punish me for what I said?”
“Laura, please. Do you really think that little of me? I gave the man my word. I promised him I would avenge him if this happened.”
“You promised? You promised? You also promised my husband you would look after us. I know Wiggins was your friend, but he is cold and dead in the ground. There is nothing you can do that will change that.”
Sam’s’ brows furrowed, “And how is that different from William, your husband? Is he not also cold and dead in the ground?”
Laura stepped forward and took his free hand. She placed his hand on her chest, between her breasts, “Does this feel like it’s cold and dead? Do you not feel the love that surges through my body with every beat of my heart? Tell me what I have to do to keep you here? What must I do to change your mind?”

Sam Moses stood at a crossroads. To honor the promise given to a dying man he had followed the beautiful widow, Laura Stoddard and her children to Missouri.  He had promised the crippled Confederate soldier, he would protect and help the family.  Moses was a man who kept his word.
Now, he had received word a friend had been murdered. He had ridden with Wiggins, shared the same fire at supper and slept under the same moon or if the weather was nasty, rain.  They had fought together and defended one another.  They had told each other lies and laughed about it.  Now, Wiggins was dead.  Shot down as he sat playing cards. Never having many friends, Moses had promised to avenge Wiggins’ death if needed. It was needed.  He had given his word.  Sam Moses kept his word.

So now, the crossroads.  In order to keep one promise, he must break the other.  Which promise was the more important?  Did helping the living outweigh the avenging of a death?  Which was the higher calling?  He could only honor one.

vengeance book mockup.png
By Kwen D Griffeth
literary titan award for book pages.png

Vengeance is Mine

Recipient of The Gold Award from Literary Titan

“The hawk was created in the image of a hawk. That means he must use violence every day of his life if he wants to eat and live another day. He can never wake up one morning and say to himself, “I no longer wish to eat mice and snakes; I want to eat seeds and nuts like the cardinal. No, he cannot do this and why? Because he was created in the image of a hawk.”

“I don’t see…”

“Sam, I know your father taught you this, but you have forgotten. The hawk was created in the image of a hawk. What image were you created in?”

Sam whispered, “God, I was created in the image of God.”

The Amish elder smiled, “Yes, you were created in the image of God and as such you were granted the ability to choose. You can choose to do right or wrong, good or bad, be peaceful or violent. You can even choose to eat mice and snakes if you like.”

Sam Moses was a survivor.  He had survived the Civil War when many of his generation did not.  He had survived numerous gun battles, blizzards, cattle stampedes and range wars.  He had survived twenty years of living with death as a companion.

Now, he wanted to live.  He wanted to live with Laura and have a family.  He wanted to be known for being more than just another killer.  Sam Moses wanted to become Samuel Moses Cardiff again.  There was just one more hurdle to get over.  It was the biggest hurdle of all.  It was himself.