Set mainly in Louisiana during the years 1861-1868, this passionate novel of men, women and war tells the story of the author's ancestor, Confederate soldier Willie Burke, during the American Civil War. A classic Burke hero, Willie is soon in conflict with his superiors.
The characters who people these pages, many of them based on real historical figures, are as memorable as any Burke has created.
Mulatto, Flower Jamison, victim of terrible abuse who is determined to better herself; Abigail Dowling, whose Unionist sympathies put her in constant danger; Colonel Ira Jamison, rotten to his core yet who would rise from a cesspit smelling of roses...
About the Author
James Lee Burke is the author of many previous novels, including twelve featuring Detective Dave Robicheaux. He lives with his wife, Pearl, in Missoula, Montana and New Iberia, Louisiana.
James Lee Burke is known as one of America's premier crime novelists, but here he successfully turns his hand to a tale set during the American Civil War in the southern state of Louisiana. That long and costly war itself however is never made the focus of this tale - this is not a blood and guts adventure story but a thoughtful exploration of the chaos and misery that war creates. The characters are colourful, interesting and well-written, chief among them the rebel soldier and eternal jester Willie Burke, who is based on an ancestor of the author, the shockingly brutal slave master Rufus Atkins and the abused but determined slave girl Flower. The illegitimate daughter of a callous plantation owner, Flower fights to improve her life with the help of abolitionist Abigail Dowling and Willie, who teaches her to read. Emancipation gives her freedom in the technical sense, but the hatreds that run through Southern society have yet to be vanquished, and the spread of peace and justice is agonisingly slow. Burke keeps the reader's attention by focusing on plot and character development yet keeping the story just on the edges of the great battles and events of the time. This is a simple yet finely crafted story about the cost of war and slavery soaked in the atmosphere of the period. (Kirkus UK)
Number Of Pages: 344
Published: 6th November 2003
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 2.0
Weight (kg): 0.245
Edition Number: 1