Forceful and gritty, Price's debut is a gripping tale of brutality and sacrifice during the Civil War in the remote western mountains of North Carolina. In 1863, while the war rages on the major battlegrounds, the more remote areas of the South are ravaged by roving bands of partisans, murderous deserters from both armies, who rob, kill and burn for their own pleasure. Judge Madison Curtis and his family live on a prosperous farm in the Hiwassee River Valley. His three sons have marched off with the Confederate Army, leaving the judge and the ""womenfolk"" to defend their land. Late in the summer, a renegade gang of thieves and killers rides up to the Curtis farm to settle an old score. Only the judge's surprising duplicity saves his wife from torture, himself from the hanging rope and his home from the torch. The rest of the countryside, however, is soon in flames. The Curtis boys, meanwhile, survive Vicksburg and Chickamauga, but only two return home. Though marred by an abrupt ending, Price's narrative is crisp and vivid, with sharply focused descriptions and dialogue. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1996 Release date: 06/01/1996 Genre: Fiction
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