Fourth chorus in Nagle’s Civil War epic focusing on the Confederacy in the Southwest, following Galveston (2002), Glorieta Pass (1999) and The Guns of Valverde (2000).
The author lays her work in Texas, Louisiana and her native New Mexico. Previous volumes rehearsed the Confederate attempt to seize California (a failed campaign), the battle at Glorieta Pass (sometimes called the Gettysburg of the West), the rebels’ withdrawal to Texas, and the effort to take back to Texas a Union battery seized in battle. Jamie Russell set those cannons upon Galveston Island, saving Galveston from the Federal Navy. Now Jamie must protect Louisiana’s Red River, a Confederate waterway and main source of supplies for the Southwest. He and his youthful commanding officer use the Queen of the West to ram vessels and clog a Union attack on Texas, diverting Union troops by beaching a huge steamer shore to shore. Among other hardships, a deadly scarlet fever plague arises aboard ship. As in her earlier entries, Nagle draws her women with great depth. Historical fiction stretched as tight as good gray Confederate cloth.