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Description - White Doves at Morning by James Lee Burke

An epic novel of the American Civil War from the bestselling author of THE TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN. Set mainly in Louisiana during the years 1861-1868, this passionate novel of men, women and war tells the story of the author's ancestor, Confederate soldier Willie Burke, during the American Civil War. A classic Burke hero, Willie is soon in conflict with his superiors. The characters who people these pages, many of them based on real historical figures, are as memorable as any Burke has created. Mulatto, Flower Jamison, victim of terrible abuse who is determined to better herself; Abigail Dowling, whose Unionist sympathies put her in constant danger; Colonel Ira Jamison, rotten to his core yet who would rise from a cesspit smelling of roses...

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780752842752
ISBN-10: 0752842757
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 129mm x 23mm)
Pages: 352
Imprint: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publish Date: 6-Nov-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - White Doves at Morning by James Lee Burke

UK Kirkus Review » James Lee Burke is known as one of America's premier crime novelists, but here he successfully turns his hand to a tale set during the American Civil War in the southern state of Louisiana. That long and costly war itself however is never made the focus of this tale - this is not a blood and guts adventure story but a thoughtful exploration of the chaos and misery that war creates. The characters are colourful, interesting and well-written, chief among them the rebel soldier and eternal jester Willie Burke, who is based on an ancestor of the author, the shockingly brutal slave master Rufus Atkins and the abused but determined slave girl Flower. The illegitimate daughter of a callous plantation owner, Flower fights to improve her life with the help of abolitionist Abigail Dowling and Willie, who teaches her to read. Emancipation gives her freedom in the technical sense, but the hatreds that run through Southern society have yet to be vanquished, and the spread of peace and justice is agonisingly slow. Burke keeps the reader's attention by focusing on plot and character development yet keeping the story just on the edges of the great battles and events of the time. This is a simple yet finely crafted story about the cost of war and slavery soaked in the atmosphere of the period. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Think the rumbustious Dave Robicheaux novels (Jolie Blon's Bounce, p. 437, etc.) have so little mystery that they could dispense with the mystery formula altogether? Here's a test case: a Civil War/Reconstruction yarn that's also a fictionalized family history. Not that Burke deprives himself of murder, from the opening execution of runaway slave Sarie Jamison by Rufus Atkins, the brutal taskmaster of Angola plantation owner Ira Jamison. On the eve of Fort Sumter 24 years later, Sarie's (and Ira's) daughter Flower is a laundress in New Iberia, Burke's Yoknapatawpha. She's been befriended by abolitionist Abigail Dowling and secretly taught to read by Willie Burke, who proves that anti-authoritarian bias of his heroes can't be blamed on the War Between the States, since he seems to have been born mouthing off. Beginning his military career by insulting Captain Atkins, he marches off to war with his friend Jim Stubbefield. A third musketeer, pro-slavery law student Robert Perry, vanishes into the shadows while Willie and Jim face their baptism at Shiloh-an experience so harrowing that Willie moves up to insulting General Nathan Bedford Forrest before he returns home to switch from battling the Yankees to battling the likes of the White League and the Knights of the White Camellia. By then, the leading characters have long settled into roles familiar from Burke's contemporary fiction: the idealist who can't help picking fights (Willie), his familiar (Jim), the all-powerful Father of Darkness (Jamison), his untouchable enforcer (Atkins), the heroine whose soul provides a battleground for good and evil (Abigail), the victim whose body ditto (Flower), and their seething compatriots (everybody else). Shorn of any mystery but the mystery of evil, this roiling, deeply old-fashioned tale is less successful as a stand-alone revisiting of The Clansman and Gone With the Wind than as a kind of all-purpose backstory-or, more accurately, a prototype-of the Robicheaux saga. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - James Lee Burke

James Lee Burke is the author of many previous novels, many featuring Detective Dave Robicheaux. He won the EDGAR AWARD in 1998 for CIMARRON ROSE, while BLACK CHERRY BLUES won the EDGAR in 1990 and SUNSET LIMITED was awarded the CWA GOLD DAGGER in 1998. He lives with his wife, Pearl, in Missoula, Montana and New Iberia, Louisiana. www.jamesleeburke.com

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