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Posted October 15, 2001
This gripping and challenging novel, the third in a trilogy set in fictional Bourbonville, Tennessee, was completed shortly before the author's death in 1999. It is a story that poses questions of honor and inquires into the difference between right and wrong. It is the 1950s and Bourbonville is a deeply religious community, almost obsessed by biblical injunctions and fundamentalism. Hope Kirby, a man of the hills and a World War II hero, follows his moral imperative when he murders his unfaithful wife and her lover. The slayings are accidentally witnessed by 20-year-old Charles Alexander, a college senior and soon to be Baptist minister. While Hope's conscience enables him to exact deathly vengeance it will not allow him to kill an innocent, so he spares Charles after exacting a promise that the young man will never tell what he has seen. But Charles is unable to keep his vow, and soon the town is a caldron of fear and reprisals. Did Hope have a right to kill his unfaithful wife as an ancient code of the hills dictates? Was Charles wrong to break his oath of silence? It seems that everyone from Charles's liberated college girlfriend to the Kirby clan headed by Pappy to rival Baptist preachers has a secret to hide. All have a role in this affair of honor. A trail ensues. Although his guilt is evident, Hope is a war hero and there is strong sympathy on his side. Charles, on the other hand, must contend with very personal faith issues. Richard Marius has penned an exciting and exacting legal drama peopled with characters perceptively drawn.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.