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 the South because of honor; Abigail, a northern transplant who is active in the abolition movement; Flower, friend of Willie and Abigail, and slave and daughter of her master, Ira Jamison – a rogue and despot; and many others. Civil War enthusiasts will enjoy the graphic descriptions of life in the South during the period, and readers who enjoy a good story will also fine this an interesting detour from Burke’s gritty mysteries.
Oct 30, 2012