Burke strays from his usual mystery genre, but not from his geography. This Civil War tale is in part a story of his ancestors, Robert Perry and Willie Burke, and is set in and around New Iberia, Louisiana. Willie is one of the main narrators of the story which begins just before the first shots are fired on Fort Sumter and ends shortly after the peace treaty is signed. Written in Burke’s intelligent and lyrical prose, the tale includes memorable characters no doubt representative of the variety of perspectives present during the war: Willie, a pacifist who hates slavery but fights for
True story. In 1818, a very young German immigrant orphan is bought (indentured) for the cost of her ocean passage from Europe to New Orleans. Twenty five years later she is spotted on the streets of the city - the slave of a wealthy, well-connected, though quite unpopular local businessman. The German community rallied around her, determined to free her by proving in a court of law that Sally Miller the slave was the same person as Salome Muller, redemptioner and white woman.
This is a fascinating page of investigative social and legal history. The author has sorted through a complex