The Law of Moses

Sam's Story

Book Cover: The Law of Moses
Part of the Sam and Laura's Story series:

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.

Reviews:Literary Titan on Amazon wrote:

"A fun an engaging novel with everything you look for in a good western.

Sam Moses Cardiff is a straight shooting honest man that finishes a teaching diploma before heading back to his hometown of Elmira. Sam is excited to start his new life, however, things have changed since Sam has been gone and circumstances pull him into fighting battles under the Union Army. Flash forward several years and Sam has entered a town where he is hired to be a Marshall. Sam upholds the law, showing no qualms about killing those who wish to cross him. But underneath the facade of an emotionless and tactical law enforcer lies a man who desperately wants his life to end. What happened in all the years of battle that has affected Sam so gravely?

The Law of Moses, written by Kwen D. Griffeth, is a western novel that follows the life of Samuel Moses Cardiff. The smell of perfumed ladies, warm beer and rolled cigarettes will be easily imagined as The Law of Moses takes you on a ride through life in the west that keeps you captivated until the very end!

The characters come to life on the page and several times I had to remind myself that this story was indeed fiction. The story takes dips into the past which gives the reader an insight into a younger Sam and why he has changed so drastically. Once upon a time, he was an eager young man, full of energy to face the world and now he is rude, angry and filled with hatred. The connection with the past will allow the reader to feel empathy towards the characters and their personality traits.

Gunfights, bank robbers and old time war stories will keep the reader flipping pages as they explore frontier life. Kwen Griffeth clearly has an in depth understanding of artillery as he accurately describes a variety of guns and even how they sound when they are holstered. Most characters are loyal and stick to their guns (literally and figuratively) when it comes time to settle arguments. At times, the novel explores the Civil War and sparks the imagination.

The writing flows easily and Griffeth provides descriptive imagery that allows the reader to picture the old west, where disputes were settled over beer and gun smoke. The saloons, horses and life lessons will mean the reader will be eager to learn more about Sam and his life. I found some of the lessons to be relevant to today’s society events and found myself reminiscing over the story’s content many days later..."

Rabia Tanveer on Readers' Favorite wrote:

The Law of Moses: Sam and Laura Story Book One by Kwen D. Griffeth is the story of a man who thought he was far away from war, but his fate brought him right to war’s doorstep. The story follows Samuel Cardiff, a simple man who just wants to graduate from Teachers College, get a good position, and get married. He is a man of few words, but he has some very strong beliefs in education and God, and he lives by them. He was happy with his simple life, he lives in his bubble and he wants nothing to do with the outside world. 

He fell in love, but now his life is going to be changed dramatically. Everything that he runs away from is finally catching up to him. Fort Sumter has been attacked and somehow, Samuel finds himself enrolled in the Union Army and fighting in the Battle of Antietam. As the dust settles around him, he is depressed and suffering from what we know now to be PTSD. But those were simpler times and Samuel is a simple man who does not understand what is happening to him. He was a man of faith and believed in peace? How can he forgive himself for the acts he committed in the war? How can he live with the war inside him?

The Law of Moses is a very intense and very emotional novel. I loved the fact that Kwen D. Griffeth gave Samuel real emotions and made him a real man, rather than a mythical war hero who fights, suffers and forgives, just like that. Samuel thinks, he suffers, his heart hurts, and he fights, but he finds it hard to forgive himself because he is real. This novel was tremendously entertaining, believable, and heartwarming. I loved it! 

Deborah Lloyd on Readers' Favorite wrote:

In Puebla Fresa, New Mexico, in 1875, the new town marshal named Sam Moses makes quite an impression on the townspeople. After a shootout in the West Saloon, where three men died, Marshal Moses’ skills, and his ruthless manners, were met with skepticism. In the next chapter, the reader is introduced to a younger Samuel Moses Cardiff, who completed Teacher’s College in Albany, New York, and returned to his home in Elmira in 1861. His goal was to teach in a local school and marry the girl of his dreams, only to be thwarted by the Civil War. In The Law of Moses: Sam and Laura Story Book 1 by Kwen D. Griffeth, the effects on the soldiers from the Civil War is masterfully explored. The chapters alternate between the two time periods and provide the explanation underneath the Marshal’s behaviors. It is a story of post-traumatic stress disorder, before this disorder was recognized.

The author is able to skillfully illustrate the attitudes and beliefs of two different cultures. Sam’s family in New York was educated and supported the North’s beliefs against slavery. Sam’s time in the wild west depicts elements of another culture – with cattle drives, saloons, card sharks and gunfights. Every character is realistic and aptly described. The reader is easily engaged in both settings, and it is uncertain until the last chapter if Sam will deal with his memories and find peace. Author Kwen D. Griffeth has written a fascinating account of one man’s emotional hurt in his novel, The Law of Moses: Sam and Laura Story Book 1. It is an unforgettable story.

Romuald Dzemo on Readers' Favorite wrote:

The Law of Moses: Sam and Laura Story Book One by Kwen D Griffeth is a story about redemption that is set in an important historical era. A young man opposes the Civil War but later enlists with the Union Army. Watch his journey as he becomes transformed by the scars of battle. Travel with him on his personal and spiritual odyssey in search of inner freedom and redemption. Can he find a place in his heart to forgive himself? Here is a story that will transport readers into the inner workings of the character’s heart; a story of war, of love, and redemption. 

Kwen D Griffeth creates a wonderful character in Sam and readers will be instantly drawn to him the moment they come across him. The setting also comes across through the writing in very clear and powerful images. The prose is deserving of great praise; it is lyrical and highly descriptive. The excellent descriptions — of settings, characters, and dramatic moments — leave the reader with vivid images in their mind. Here is one description that captures a character, with a hint of humor: “The man was a little taller than average and well proportioned, except for his hands. His hands seemed to be at least one size too large for his frame. His face was not handsome, but striking. The three days’ growth of whiskers was not a fashion statement, but simply proof he hadn’t gotten to a barber.” The Law of Moses: Sam and Laura Story Book One is an exciting story filled with humanity, a story that will make readers laugh and cry, thanks to its emotional depth and clarity. 

Grant Leishman on Readers' Favorite wrote:

The Law of Moses by Kwen D. Griffeth introduces us to young Sam Cardiff. When Sam arrives in his small home town in upstate New York, after two years away at Teacher’s College, he has his future life all planned and in front of him. He plans to marry the girl he’s sweet on, settle down, and have children while practicing his profession. Opposed to the Civil War that has broken out between the States, Sam has absolutely no intention of becoming involved. When his younger brother, Luke, joins the Union Army, Sam’s mother begs him to go with Luke and keep an eye on his brother. After a series of personal tragedies, we flash forward to the new iteration of Sam Cardiff, who now calls himself Sam Moses. He has spent over twenty years as a tough, no-nonsense gunslinger and occasional Marshall in many western towns. A bad-tempered loner who seems to have a death wish, can Sam’s heart of stone can be melted by the people of the small town where he is now Marshall?

I loved this story of an upright man of honor, with a past that continually weighed him down. Sam Moses was a complex character and was beautifully presented by Griffeth. The writing in The Law of Moses was simple and uncomplicated, which was more than could be said for the characters within the story. I’m not usually a reader of westerns, but this book has changed my mind somewhat. I found myself drawn to the irascible Sam and his unintentional good heart. Even when he wanted to be mean, he somehow found a way not to be so. This is the first in a series of books based on Sam and his love interest, Laura. The author has done a fantastic job of exciting me, as a reader, to want to find out what happens next in this story. An excellent read and one I enjoyed tremendously. 

Faridah Nassozi on Readers' Favorite wrote:

Show his father his coveted diploma, find a teaching job, marry the girl of his dreams. Those were the only plans on 20-year-old Samuel Cardiff's mind during his long train ride back home from college in The Law of Moses by Kwen D Griffeth. Life had not prepared him for the news that greeted him when he got off the train - his dad was no longer with them and his young brother had enlisted. Against his will, he joined the war for his brother's sake, and his mother's. Almost two decades later, Sam is now the new Marshal of Puebla Fresa and, within just a few days on the job, he shows the town his way of dealing with criminals. To most of the townsfolk, he comes across as strong, arrogant, and ruthless, but only one resident understands the demons that live in the Marshal's head because he too has traveled the same journey. Sam will do anything to be free from the demons. This is the story of how a decision that was never his changed a man's path, and all the demons it left behind. Will he ever heal and find true solace, or is it too late for him?

The Law of Moses by Kwen D Griffeth is a detailed and captivating story. The narration captures the pivotal character's emotions, his demons, and his thoughts in a simple yet very effective way. From how he is described at the very beginning, you can feel his raw torment and you are drawn in by the desire to discover the tragedies that left his soul so wounded. Sam's story gives a heart to the many soldiers that we often view as machines of war, forgetting that on both sides are men and women who are simply doing what needs to be done for their respective countries. Men and women with dear ones and with emotions. They are not the soulless killing machines the world often views them to be. Most importantly, this story highlights the scars, both physical and emotional, that many of them have to live with for the rest of their lives.