"In Deer Isle, Maine" is a novel of the Civil War that focuses on the16th Maine Volunteer Regiment that was nearly annihilated at Gettysburg on the first day as it covered the Union retreat. It is also the story of the families at home who suffered these losses as well. The historical details are meticulously researched. "In Deer Isle, Maine" is Peter Scott's fourth novel and fifth book published. His first book, "Lost Crusade", Naval Institute Press, is an account of his experiences with Cambodian irregular troops in Vietnam. His three previous novels - "The Boy Who Came Walking Home", "Something in the Water", and "Barter Island" are a series that take place on an island off the Maine coast during and after World War I, World War II, and Vietnam.
At Gettysburg on the first day of the battle, the 16th Maine was ordered to cover the Union retreat, a solitary regiment against an entire Confederate corps. The regiment, already decimated, held, but in so doing they were very nearly annihilated, with fewer than thirty surviving death, wounds or capture. When those who survived wounds or capture returned to their seafaring town, they found an inordinate number of their friends and families deep in mourning, but unbowed, facing the future with hope and promise. The mystery resulting from the early foraging raid is uncovered in the end, but the motive for murder is unknown.
"In Deer Isle Maine, to me, is a story of decisive moments. Split second decisions made not only by soldiers on the battlefield, but by families that wait at home. It is a tale of the tragedies and acts of war that shape national and personal histories alike - for better or for worse. Choices made in equal parts hope, desperation and fear - that cannot be cleared away like fallen bodies or forgotten like names. The characters you meet are admirable, pitiable, lovable and despicable. The descriptions you'll read of New England home life are so rich that you can hear the crunch of clam shells under your feet as you watch the islanders try to quietly survive both a small town's gossip and a nation at war." - The Salad Days