This beautiful tome of a novel arrived on Saturday – I am currently re-reading the first in this Penn Cage trilogy – Natchez Burning – one of my top reads of 2014. I am enjoying it again ready to jump into The Bone Tree after which you may not see me for a while.
Here is what I thought of Natchez Burning…
There are reasons why this is one of the best “presents” I have received since reviewing seriously – a few years back I read the last Penn Cage novel, “The Devils Punchbowl” which was as brilliantly addictive as all the rest. When it ended there was a hint, a taster if you like, for what might happen next. In the notes Mr Iles told us that, unusually, there would be a further Penn Cage novel the following year (usually there is a bigger gap – he also writes TREMENDOUSLY gripping standalone books and never actually intended to write a series but Penn wouldnt go away) then of course disaster struck. Mr Iles was involved in a serious accident – all that mattered after that was recovery. I, for one, am extremely grateful that recover he did over a period of time, otherwise the world would have lost another great writer on top of the obvious horror of personal loss for his family.I prayed. I’m sure his other readers did as well. And now here we are..
And what a glorious, once again addictive, seriously mind blowing read we have here. Absolutely gripping. A deeply involving story about the effects and events surrounding racial tension in the Deep South Mr Iles blends fact and fiction with terrific effect. Past leaks into present with terrifying results and as well as being a most fascinating tale, for this reader it was also an education. These subjects are dealt with in previous books but for me this was a revelation.
On top of all that, there is the well drawn, compelling story of the relationship between father and son. Tom Cage is a local hero, known as a moral man, loved by many, the backbone of his community and a much admired Doctor. He grew up during the troubled times where the colour of your skin determined how you were treated, viewed, what you were allowed to do with your life, where you could eat, sleep, drink. Always assuming him to be on the side of truth and justice, Penn has always had the greatest love and affection for his Dad and an instinctive trust about who he is. All that is about to be thrown up into the air, who knows where the pieces will land or what will be left of this trust when it is all over.
Amazing. The only word that springs to mind. As dark secrets begin to emerge, you will be swept along with the sheer beauty of the writing, the absolute emotion of each moment and often sitting on the edge of your seat awaiting answers to, frankly, unanswerable questions about the way human beings treat each other. Will Tom Cage ultimately turn out to be exactly who Penn thought he was? Or is he as fallible as the rest…
I am in awe. And I cannot wait for the next part of the story, it has buried itself deep within my reading soul and I imagine that overall this is one that will stay with me for life.
Read it. Love it. Live it.
And next up:
Penn Cages father, Dr. Tom Cage, stands accused of murder, and each effort to defend him unearths new, shocking secrets, leaving Penn to question whether he ever really knew his father at all. At issue is the murder of Toms former nurse, Viola Turner. The district attorney is quick to point the finger at Tom, citing his decades-old relationship with Viola. When Tom is taken into custody, Penn must explore the dangerous territory of Tom and Violas shared history, set squarely in the most harrowing years of civil-rights-era Mississippi. What was the relationship between Tom, Viola, and the Double Eagle Club, an ultraviolent group of hardened men who considered themselves smarter, tougher, and more elite than their peers in the FBI-infiltrated Ku Klux Klan? In Natchez, Mississippi, where the past is never truly past, long-buried secrets tend to turn lethal when exposed to the light of day. For Penn Cage, the cost of solving this case is no exception.
EXCITEMENT LEVELS ARE HIGH
Happy Reading Folks!