The Fires of Pride: A Novel of the Civil War

The Fires of Pride: A Novel of the Civil War

by William R. Trotter
     
 

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Concluding his Civil War saga begun in The Sands of Pride, William Trotter takes up the stories of his stunning array of characters—Union and Confederate, fictional and historic—in the closing days of July 1863. The South has lost at Gettysburg, the tide of history has shifted, and the fortunes of the Rebel side have begun, inexorably, to decline.

Overview


Concluding his Civil War saga begun in The Sands of Pride, William Trotter takes up the stories of his stunning array of characters—Union and Confederate, fictional and historic—in the closing days of July 1863. The South has lost at Gettysburg, the tide of history has shifted, and the fortunes of the Rebel side have begun, inexorably, to decline. Interwoven lives carry readers to the apocalyptic Union assault on Fort Fisher (the "Alamo of the Confederacy") in early January 1865—the largest amphibious operation in U. S. Navy history until the invasion of Guadalcanal in 1942. Featuring the brief but glorious career of the mighty ironclad ram, the CSS Hatteras, which finally emerged to challenge the Union Navy, The Fires of Pride is a richly textured, sweepingly dramatic epic, a towering work that combines deep scholarship with an intensely human understanding of the men and women of the period. Taken together, The Sands of Pride and The Fires of Pride constitute a mighty work of Civil War fiction worthy to stand on the same shelf with Gone with the Wind and The Killer Angels.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Trotter concludes his epic tale of Civil War North Carolina with a sequel as splendid as its predecessor, The Sands of Pride (2002). The large cast of characters ranges from fearless Union naval officer William Cushing, who brings home the body of his brother killed at Gettysburg at the book's start, to the inept Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg, for whose fumbling defense of Wilmington, N.C., at war's end Trotter provides a plausible explanation. The author does an excellent job of keeping up interest between battles: sexually liberated Largo Landau, the daughter of a prominent Wilmington merchant, prepares Mary Harper Sloane, the daughter of a rich South Carolina rice planter, for the homecoming of her erring privateer husband by arranging erotic lessons, while Col. William Lamb's Fort Fisher garrison and William Cushing's seaborne gunners join forces to protect sea-turtle hatchlings. The tone darkens rapidly with the racial massacre at Faison's Grove and the murder of Mary's father by bushwhackers. After the Confederate ironclad Hatteras (the historical Albemarle renamed and somewhat enlarged) emerges from her swamp lair, the pace quickens and the novel marches to a thundering climax with the bloody and magnificently depicted fall of Fort Fisher. The same combination of superb research, compelling characters and dry wit that enthralled readers of previous installments will do so again. (Mar. 9) Forecast: While this Civil War epic will likely appeal primarily to Civil War buffs, booksellers might also profitably recommend it to readers of general historical fiction. Of note: Trotter's three-volume history of the Civil War in North Carolina was a source for Cold Mountain. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A long, exhausting but worthy conclusion to The Sands of Pride (2002), following the roles of more than fifty historical and fictional characters depicting North Carolina's role in the Civil War. With its preceding volume, Trotter's epic aspires to be an American literary equivalent of Tolstoy's War and Peace. So many intricately observed characters and incidents pile up so that the story ceases to be about the bloodiest, most catastrophic conflict Americans have ever fought, and becomes instead a wonderfully complicated evocation of the role of pride in human destiny, with all the irony, heroism, passion, sentimentality, and violence that epic historical fiction demands. But Trotter's aspirations aren't merely literary. Dialogue passages laden with history-speak, and tour-guide digressions about landscape and military lore, serve as correctives to the more prevalent scholarly attitude that North Carolina's influence in the Civil War was more political than strategic, given that most of the more studied battles, including Gettysburg (where, Trotter informs us through one of his characters, a so-called eyewitness account of North Carolina's brave forces falling apart during the bloody disaster of Pickett's Charge was a lowly canard!) occurred outside the state. Trotter can be forgiven some of his scholarly fusillades, having fired his biggest guns in his three-volume history The Civil War in North Carolina. The battle scenes here, especially the climactic assault on Fort Fisher, are astonishingly accomplished, and when Trotter probes the human side of history in his fiction, his epic soars, especially in his accounts of the fabulous sea battles around the Outer Banks among Union Navypatrols and dashing Confederate blockade runners, and the moving, conflicted heroism of the African American "buffalo" soldiers. Excessive, obsessive, overlong but filled with moments of grandeur, insight, tearful tragedy, and rousing derring-do: War and Peace, American style. Agent: Betsy Nolan

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786714483
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
03/28/2005
Edition description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Pages:
555
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.94(h) x 1.45(d)

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