Honor's kingdom, by Owen Parry, pub. 2002, 328 p., call #: Fic PAR. Parry's fourth Civil War mystery finds 34-year-old Union Major Abel Jones in London in the summer of 1862. No longer fit for field service since he shattered his leg at Bull Run, Jones has been dispatched to England to assist Charles Adams in discovering who has murdered Union secret agent William Campbell and disposed of his corpse in an eel basket. Weary from all the death he has seen in battle (including hand-to-hand combat in India for the British), Jones is philosophical, deeply religious, and tenderhearted. Before his stint in London is through, Jones trades barbs with Benjamin Disraeli, engages in lethal swordplay with archenemy Culpeper, and diplomatically turns aside the attentions of dance-hall-entertainer Polly Perkins. Parry's beautifully written narrative encompasses the international scope of the Civil War conflict and never loses sight of the brutality of war and the deceitfulness of politics. Driven by an engaging plot rife with double crosses, this fine novel will appeal to both mystery buffs and fans of historical fiction.
Gray riders: Jeb Stuart and his men, by Manly Wade Wellman, pub. 1954, 192 p., call #:J W. Jesse Holt, a Maryland farmboy, flees with his father's best horse, Prince Rupert, as Union troops move onto the farm. Heading South, he mets Jeb Stuart and his men and becomes a soldier fighting his way through Virginia.
Runaway balloon : the last flight of Confederate Air Force One, by Burke Davis ; drawings by Salvatore Murdocca, pub. 1976, 48 p., call #: j973.73 D. Recounts the brief and near-disastrous history of the balloon created by the Confederate army to spy on Federal troops and the sad misadventures of Lt. John Randolph Bryan, its unwilling pilot.
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