H.P. Wood is the creator and editor of the Horrors of History series for middle-grade readers.  Published by Charlesbridge, the series strives to make U.S. history more compelling to kids by re-telling dramatic true stories from history in the form of a novel. The series combines thorough research, first-hand accounts, and fictionalized characters to make history accessible to young readers. The results are gripping tales of devastation and bravery, made all the more intriguing by their foundation in real-life events.

The year was 1900--a time before cars, evacuation routes, and up-to-the-minute weather reports. It was the day the deadliest storm in US history hammered Galveston, Texas. It was the day an entire island city was nearly wiped from existence.

At the onset of the hurricane, Albert Campbell and the other boys at the orphanage kicked and splashed in the emerging puddles. Daisy Thorne read letters from her fiancé, and Sam Young wondered if his telegram had reached the mainland, warning his family of the weather.

Just a few hours later, torrential rains and crushing tidal waves had flooded the metropolis. Winds upwards of one hundred miles per hour swept entire houses and trees down the streets. Debris slashed through the air; bodies whirled amid the rushing waters. Albert, Daisy, and Sam weren’t safe. No one was.

Based on an historic natural disaster, City of the Dead weaves together a shocking story where some miraculously survive . . . and many others are tragically lost.



It’s February 1865 and the end of the American Civil War is in sight. Union troops under the leadership of General Sherman have made their way from Atlanta to Savannah, burning Confederate towns along their path, and word is they’re headed to Columbia, South Carolina, to do the same.

Readers follow the stories of several characters—both real and imagined—as they learn about the chaotic community of Columbia as it tries to survive a blazing firestorm. Combining fictionalized narrative with actual documented accounts, readers see this controversial event through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Emma LeConte who struggles to keep her family safe after her father and uncle leave to transport war supplies away from the dying city. Then there’s Charles Davis, a mysterious Confederate soldier who warns the LeConte’s of impending doom. But is Charles really the Confederate spy he claims to be? Can he be trusted?

Each character’s different point of view allows readers to think critically and question who actually started this violent fire while exploring how the closing weeks of the war affected citizens and slaves alike.

Ocean of Fire is the second book in a series of historical fiction novels that commemorate horrific, life-changing events in America’s past.