The grand drama of the American Civil War provides the setting for Coyle's seventh novel, the first volume of a projected multibook saga. Spanning the years 1856-1863, it tells the uninspired if lively story of two New Jersey brothers, Irish immigrants, who are driven apart by their heartless and profiteering father. When his brutality finally forces them to flee home and each other, James and Kevin Bannon separate, James going south to the Virginia Military Institute while Kevin, remaining in New Jersey, attends Rutgers. With the onset of war, each brother is unwillingly drawn into the struggle, James for the Confederacy and Kevin for the Union. From Bull Run to Gettysburg, the two fight anti-Irish discrimination, political favoritism, personal enemies--and each other. As expected, the narrative builds to a dramatic confrontation amid the carnage of Gettysburg, but the conclusion is unsatisfying, an ill-disguised setup for the sequel. Coyle brings the ferocious and bloody battles, as well as various real-life characters and events, to vivid life, but this novel, his first historical, isn't on a par with his techno-thrillers (Code of Honor, etc.). (June) 1968
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995 Release date: 06/01/1995 Genre: Fiction
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