Book Giveaway Countdown2

COUNTDOWN DAY 2 to the 150th anniversary of the famous Battle of Lissa, and a chance to win a signed copy of the book about the ship’s surgeon who was there.

Nearby the enemy flagship Re d’Italia had stopped in the water. Tegetthoff charged full speed ahead, and with an almighty crunch the Ferdinand Max hit her amidships. Her iron sides

lissa10gave way, her tall masts toppled, she sank in a whirlpool of spars, ropes, canvas, metal, blood and men. Before the loss was fully registered a massive burst of flame and roar of explosion overwhelmed all other noise of battle — the Italian ironclad Palestro had blown up. Austria claimed its victory, sailing into the harbour of Lissa.

For a chance to win a copy of The Extraordinary Dr Epstein, answer the quiz question on Wednesday 20 July 2016.

Excerpt from Chapter 20, Battle. Ephraim’s epic poem about the battle won him an award from Emperor Franz Joseph. Author great granddaughter still seeks that poem! Go HERE for a non-fiction page on the famouse Battle of Lissa, why it was fought, what else it is famous for and what happened next.

Book Giveaway Countdown3

COUNTDOWN DAY 3 to the 150th anniversary of the famous Battle of Lissa, and a chance to win a signed copy of the book about the ship’s surgeon who was there.

httpcroatian-treasure.comritcol.jpgThe Ferdinand Max scored a glancing blow against the Portogallo, then went to defend the big wooden Kaiser. Freed by an Italian ironclad’s withdrawal, the Kaiser, despite its lack of metal cladding, followed up Tegetthoff and rammed the Portogallo again — wood against metal, sheer madness! But brilliant fighting spirit.

 

 

For a chance to win a copy of The Extraordinary Dr Epstein, answer the quiz question on Wednesday 20 July 2016.

Excerpt from Chapter 20, Battle. Ephraim’s epic poem about the battle won him an award from Emperor Franz Joseph. Author great granddaughter still seeks that poem! Go HERE for a non-fiction page on the famous Battle of Lissa, why it was fought, what else it is famous for and what happened next.

Book Giveaway Countdown6

COUNTDOWN DAY 6 to the 150th anniversary of the famous Battle of Lissa, and a chance to win a signed copy of the book about the ship’s surgeon who was there.

lissa1The Seehund sailed alongside large vessels, a small, single-gunned wooden warship nipping among the tall-masted frigates. Tegetthoff’s fleet hove into view. Painted sleek, threatening black, in total they were twenty-six ships, and seven of them were ironclads. Word came: bombarding of Lissa’s port had begun. Further word: the Italian flotilla was twice as big as Austria’s. Worse, twelve of these were modern ironclads, nine even had iron hulls.

For a chance to win a copy of The Extraordinary Dr Epstein, answer the quiz question on Wednesday 20 July 2016.

Excerpt from Chapter 20, Battle. Ephraim’s epic poem about the battle won him an award from Emperor Franz Joseph. Author great granddaughter still seeks that poem! Go HERE for a non-fiction page on the famous Battle of Lissa, why it was fought, what else it is famous for and what happened next.

Dinners and parties,

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… concerts, lectures and dances. Ephraim had looks, intelligence, bright liveliness, he was a linguist, a scholar, physician, he told fascinating tales of America and Turkey… and he was unmarried. Through friends and medical colleagues he was introduced to sisters and daughters whenever he socialized. He met pretty women, and intelligent women, and pretty, intelligent women. But though he laughed, waltzed and conversed, he was not drawn to anyone. He realized he had lived so long as a married man with and without Rachel that he did not know how to fall in love.

Divorced from his cousin-wife, in Chapter 19, Fierce as a Leopard, Light as an Eagle, Ephraim is in Vienna, 1863-66. He’s a physician in the prestigious Vienna General Hospital and stuck back in Europe and Judaism because of the promise to his mother. But this restless man will soon drive himself to yet another drastic life change.

 

Isolating existing cases…

…was paramount. They set up beds, carried in the sick, and, under Ephraim’s direction Rachel and the helpers ministered to them, sponging, cooling, getting liquids into them. There was no point in bleeding or cupping. At first ten a day died. After a week this slowed to four a day. By the end of a month, it was four a week. Those who survived were scarred, disfigured with pitted pocks all over the face where massage room at Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar. GJ Gordon. wellcome.ac.uk (2)the vicious disease always manifested most strongly. Some were blinded by smallpox, some crippled by its effect on joints. Overall a third of those infected would die. Among children Ephraim knew eighty per cent would die.

Ephraim is called to Macedonia to help in a smallpox outbreak. In Chapter 16, Epidemic, Rachel proves herself a worthy, skilful, kind assistant in the horrific and sad work. As the epidemic fades he has new respect for her. Despite her previous betrayals, perhaps the marriage can work…

Writing from Life

The extraordinary Ephraim Epstein is pleased, nay astonished, to have the writing of his life story discussed in Chiswick, London on Tuesday 15 March 2016, 6.30 – 8 pm. Great granddaughter-author Susan Lee Kerr joins local author Diane Chandler (The Road to Donetsk) to converse about putting fascinating ancestors and fantastic life experiences into a novel. Do come along.

12 Turnham Green Terrace, London W4 1QP

12 Turnham Green Terrace, London W4 1QP

Two hundred students filled the stands …

…looking down at the revolving wooden operating table beneath the skylight high above, the patient already lying under white sheets; Ephraim and Burns adjusted their sightlines from the sixth tier. What would the surgery be?Laennec auscultating a TB patient, Paris, after T.Chartran wellcome.ac.uk

The buzz of speculation quieted as Dr Wood entered, his black silk gown fastened tightly at neck and wrist — modestly black, as he had no need to display its evidence of previous operations, unlike boastful surgeons so proud of their blood-stiffened whites. His house surgeon followed, wearing an everyday suit, its left buttonhole dangling a dozen or so waxed ligatures ready for service.

In Chapter 13 Ephraim continues and completes his three-year medical course, with training practice at Bellevue Hospital in New York, 1858-59. The surgery demo scene (thankfully not pictured above!) is historically true, as is Dr James Rushmore Wood (1813-1882). Medicine had a long way to go and Ephraim grows with it. But for now, the 29-year-old has to wait to learn what destiny his sponsors plan for him. My thanks for medical history and the image to the Wellcome Library. In 1860, a year after Ephraim’s graduation, the college changed its name to Columbia Medical School

Once his life as a medical student…

…had settled to a routine, the course of study at New York’s College of Physicians and Surgeons was intensive. The college had two main halls — the upper, with a skylight, was for anatomy, physiology and surgery. The afternoons saw Ephraim next door in the lab building, training in dissection and sciencemuseumukchemistry. His entire being — even that part of him committed to the Lord — was engaged, stimulated and challenged by the pace and breadth of learning. He thought of his father forbidding such worldly learning. He tried not to think of Mama at all.

In Chapter 12, Bellevue, Ephraim embarks on three years of sponsored medical study and training, finding friends and a new mentor but now severed from his wife and beloved Mama. It’s 1856-7 when advanced medicine relied on ‘heroic therapy’ — drastic treatments including purging, sweating and bleeding. Photo here is from the Science Museum, London, a case and lancet for opening a vein. It is dated 1792, but bleeding was the common treatment from earliest known history up into the later days of Ephraim’s practice as a physician.