by Bob Larranaga ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 31, 2012
A historical adventure that Civil War buffs, and especially Floridians, will enjoy.
In his latest historical novel, Larranaga tells the story of an ex-soldier who becomes a civilian blockade runner during the Civil War.
Much of the novel’s action revolves around events that occur after the Union Army attacks Florida’s Cedar Keys in 1862. Ed Canfield’s friends and family become hostages at a refugee camp overrun by crooked Confederate soldiers. Soon Canfield fights both Union and Rebel soldiers in an effort to save his family and neighbors. Canfield has been hardened by his experiences in the Mexican-American war, which continue to haunt him; the author’s descriptions of Canfield’s experiences will give readers insight on the realities of front-line soldiers’ lives during that era. (There’s also a romance subplot, after Canfield meets the spirited Maureen Foster.) Battle scenes abound throughout this novel, as do detailed and well-researched descriptions of 19th-century Florida, down to the trees and animals that flourished there at the time. Indeed, the Florida setting is an important part of the novel’s appeal, with scenes set in Key West, where the Union gained control, and in the Everglades. The story also engagingly depicts the lives of freed and runaway slaves living deep in the Florida backwoods. Most Civil War novels feature the usual battle scenes of Gettysburg, Antietam or Shiloh, and many readers will find the action in this novel, set off Florida’s Gulf coast, a welcome change. Overall, Larranaga delivers an engaging history lesson as well as a page-turning adventure.A historical adventure that Civil War buffs, and especially Floridians, will enjoy.
Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2012
Page Count: 292
Review Posted Online: Dec. 20, 2012
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Mitch Albom ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 14, 2023
A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.
Truth and deception clash in this tale of the Holocaust.
Udo Graf is proud that the Wolf has assigned him the task of expelling all 50,000 Jews from Salonika, Greece. In that city, Nico Krispis is an 11-year-old Jewish boy whose blue eyes and blond hair deceive, but whose words do not. Those who know him know he has never told a lie in his life—“Never be the one to tell lies, Nico,” his grandfather teaches him. “God is always watching.” Udo and Nico meet, and Udo decides to exploit the child’s innocence. At the train station where Jews are being jammed into cattle cars bound for Auschwitz, Udo gives Nico a yellow star to wear and persuades him to whisper among the crowd, “I heard it from a German officer. They are sending us to Poland. We will have new homes. And jobs.” The lad doesn’t know any better, so he helps persuade reluctant Jews to board the train to hell. “You were a good little liar,” Udo later tells Nico, and delights in the prospect of breaking the boy’s spirit, which is more fun and a greater challenge than killing him outright. When Nico realizes the horrific nature of what he's done, his truth-telling days are over. He becomes an inveterate liar about everything. Narrating the story is the Angel of Truth, whom according to a parable God had cast out of heaven and onto earth, where Truth shattered into billions of pieces, each to lodge in a human heart. (Obviously, many hearts have been missed.) Truth skillfully weaves together the characters, including Nico; his brother, Sebastian; Sebastian’s wife, Fannie; and the “heartless deceiver” Udo. Events extend for decades beyond World War II, until everyone’s lives finally collide in dramatic fashion. As Truth readily acknowledges, his account is loaded with twists and turns, some fortuitous and others not. Will Nico Krispis ever seek redemption? And will he find it? Author Albom’s passion shows through on every page in this well-crafted novel.A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.
Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2023
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
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by Ken Follett ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 26, 2023
A treat for fans of historical fiction.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2023
New York Times Bestseller
The latest in Follett’s Kingsbridge series takes readers to a time of turbulence.
In late-18th- and early-19th-century England, Sally Clitheroe must struggle with personal tragedy in a time of great societal upheaval. After her first husband is crushed under an overloaded turnip cart, she must initially raise her son, Kit, on her own. She is an exceptionally strong woman, both physically and mentally, and is every bit a match for her second husband, Jarge Box. When he strikes his stepson, Jarge learns that he’s made a big mistake: “If you ever touch that boy again,” Sal warns, “I swear I’ll cut your throat in the middle of the night, so help me God.” Not that the young are generally respected; this is still an era when a child can be hanged for stealing 6 shillings worth of ribbon for his mother to resell for bread; when criticizing the government is a crime punishable by prison; and when two or more employees are forbidden by the 1799 Combination Act to criticize their employer. But monumental change is afoot with the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, and it’s not all good. New spinning looms require fewer people to operate them, throwing many people out of work. Luddites, followers of Ned Ludd, destroy as many of the new machines as they can, but to no avail. Lawbreakers can sometimes avoid prison by joining the army, which ties into the dramatic set piece of this lengthy novel. When Wellington confronts Bonaparte at Waterloo, the carnage is horrific as cannonballs rip bodies to shreds. Sal and her son are central to the story. They are admirable characters without any obvious faults, but the rest of the cast has many: hanging judges, greedy businessmen, thieves, adulterers, murderers, and a bishop’s aide who harbors unseemly ambition. They are all well developed and believable, and readers will love to hate some of them.A treat for fans of historical fiction.
Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023
Page Count: 752
Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023
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