I recommend this book highly. James Lee Burke's are full of wonderful characters, plots that keep your interest. His description of people and areas read like poetry. I see the people and places in my mind and feel as though I am right there with them. I am a fan of his writing and have reread some of his books, because they are so well written and interesting. You will not be disappointed in this book or in any of his books.
I enjoyed this historical novel more than most of the Burke mysteries, maybe because I've read too many of them. Set in the Civil War, Burke's style is subdued (for Burke), meaning it's more detailed and descriptive than just about any other contemporary novelist. Interesting story, and Burke writes with authority. I learned a good deal about N.O. during the Civil War, for one, that many residents opposed slavery for economic reasons--sea traders had no use for slaves, and the war made them suffer economically. The other is that there were black (or brown) slave owners. Leave it to New Orleans to be non-conforming, even in the conformist South of the Civil War.
I've read most of James Lee Burke's books. I was interested in this one for it's historical time period and curious about what he might want readers to learn about it. This may not be his most prolific book, but it has the feel of Burke throughout and the character's are Burkian from the beginning. Burke's women are often two dimensional: strong, competent, supportive, but not always represented in the introspective, self assessing way his male characters are. This book is the exception. In this book he portrays the two leading women much as he does his men in other books. They are good people who are involved in poor situations that make the best of their plight and do their best to improve the lives of others around them. This is the virtue of our common situation in life and what binds us all together. There will always be the evil side of men (and women), but Burke helps us to see the best in those under duress and the struggling within themselves over morality, social...
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