This is unlike any Civil War novel I've ever read. The only book that had the quality it has -- that I can recall -- is Andrew Lyttle's The Long Night, a tale of revenge that survived the interruption of the war. So They Shall Reap is a story of the back-country ampers and small town Alabamians to whom the war was remote, unreal and a necessity only when thrust upon them. But it is primarily a story of a family feud between the Mitchells and the Crumbles, a feud that tore Big Hole Swamp asunder, that survived a move on the part of the Hez Mitchells to Alabama, that disrupted a countryside when the Crombien followed them, that used the War Between the States merely as a hiding place or a big stick over personal enemies. Sammy saw the war closeup-and unpleasantly uncomfortable -- he was hungry and illy clad and badly equipped and undisciplined, and eventually he deserts and goes home to revenge the murder of his father and brother, the destruction of his home, the rape of his sweetheart. It is a grim and unpleasantly realistic story of the sordid underside of war and of the concomitants of war; a regional novel of the dregs of the deep South; a brutal book.