cover image Hang the Moon

Hang the Moon

Jeannette Walls. Scribner, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-1-5011-1729-9

Walls’s breathtaking latest (after The Silver Star) traces the trajectory of two feuding Virginia families and a woman who rises to the top of a bootlegging empire. For more than 50 years, bad blood has permeated relations between the bootlegging Kincaid family and the Bond brothers, starting with the Kincaids’ questionable acquisition of 88 acres from the Bonds. Sallie Kincaid’s enigmatic father, “the Duke,” controls an Emporium general store, warehouse, lumber mill, hauling company, and rental properties, and after a string of unexpected deaths in the family, Sallie takes charge of the family business during the Prohibition years. As “Queen of the Kincaid Rumrunners,” Sallie comes to oversee a profitable business that amplifies the backwoods dispute into a full-fledged violent war with the Bonds, who avenge the Kincaids’ land grab with a calamitous act of escalation, entangling both families and exposing scandalous secrets. The thrilling plot culminates in bombshell revelations and massive conflagrations, and through it all Sallie makes for an indelible heroine as she fights for her life and livelihood. This is a stunner. Agent: Margaret Riley King and Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, WME. (Mar.)