Until the End

Until the End

by Harold Coyle
     
 

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The riveting story of two brothers on opposite sides of the battlefield continues, as one of America's finest historical novelists brings the Civil War saga begun in Look Away to a triumphant conclusion. Until the End follows brothers Kevin and James Bannon from the bloody aftermath of Gettysburg to the final Union conquest of Richmond, capital of the Confederacy,

Overview

The riveting story of two brothers on opposite sides of the battlefield continues, as one of America's finest historical novelists brings the Civil War saga begun in Look Away to a triumphant conclusion. Until the End follows brothers Kevin and James Bannon from the bloody aftermath of Gettysburg to the final Union conquest of Richmond, capital of the Confederacy, realistically depicting the drama and anguish of the nation's bloodiest conflict.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The latter years of the War Between the States come to fierce life in Coyle's sequel to Look Away (1995). Covering 1863-1865, the narrative continues the desperate chronicle of two Irish American brothers, James and Kevin Bannon, as they fight on opposing sides. James is a private in a Confederate infantry regiment; Kevin is a captain in a Union regiment. Both men are tired, embittered and hardened after enduring two years of suffering, sacrifice and danger through grueling campaigns and horrific battles. With death and fear as constant companions, they are battlefield enemies, but they also share the burdens of loss and pain. Estranged from their tyrannical father, they mourn for the girl they both loved and lost, each blaming the other for his suffering. As the war drags on, grinding down the lives and wills of both armies, James and Kevin grow ever more brutal, and increasingly fatalistic about their own chances for survival. From the Wilderness and Spotsylvania to Petersburg and Appomattox, Coyle renders the Civil War battlefields in stark and gripping fashion. Gone, however, are the subplots that added spice and intrigue to the earlier book. The story line here is simpler, leading the two brothers down a predictable path to forgiveness and redemption. (Sept.)
Library Journal
In this sequel to Look Away (LJ 4/15/96), Coyle plays out the saga of two estranged brothers, Kevin and James Bannon, against the last battles of the Civil War. The narrative alternates between Kevin, a captain in the 4th New Jersey, and James, a sergeant in the decimated 4th Virginia known as the Stonewall Brigade. Horror tales from the field hospital where Harriet Shields nurses wounded Union soldiers are juxtaposed with those of the decimated fields of the Virginia farm where Mary Beth McPhearson tries to keep her mother alive. Coyle is lawless in his portrayal of battlefield conditions and brilliant when illustrating the lives of individuals caught up in a devastating war that would not end. He never passes judgment on either side and renders as impartial a tale as is possible. The result is a story of courage, endurance, and sheer human willa testament to the American spirit. For all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/96.]Jo Ann Vicarel, Cleveland Heights-University Heights P.L., Ohio
Theresa Ducato
In this tale of two brothers fighting on opposite sides of the Civil War, a story that began in "Look Away", Coyle now brings the masterful saga to a triumphant conclusion. James Bannon is fighting with the Confederate Army, his brother, Kevin, with the Union forces. Their brave--and individual--exploits are played out on bloody battlefields from Gettysburg to Richmond. As a drummer taps out the soft, mellow notes of evening retreat, James thinks of his brother: Where is he? Is he alive? Will they both survive to return to their loved ones? Coyle skillfully portrays a country torn by war, gripped in a nightmare of killing. If at times the sympathetic but predictable characters sound like comtemporary soldiers fighting in the Gulf War, the novel neverthless captures a piece of history wherein men cannot lay their duty and passions aside.
Kirkus Reviews
The concluding work in Coyle's splendid two-volume series on America's Civil War.

Look Away (1995) followed the star-crossed Bannon brothers, James (a gentleman ranker in Virginia's Stonewall Brigade) and Kevin (a captain with the 4th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry), from their troubled but privileged youth in the Garden State through a brief face-to-face encounter at Gettysburg. The narrative at hand (which provides background enough to stand alone) picks up the parallel stories of James and Kevin after Gettysburg and tracks them through the endgame of a horrific conflict that proves more an endurance contest than a noble cause. Although James and Kevin never meet again on a battlefield, they are unwitting antagonists in many of the Eastern Theater's bloodiest campaigns. Among other near-miss collisions, James marches with the ragtag forces assembled by Jubal Early to menace Washington in mid-1864, while Kevin, still weak from wounds, commands a motley company of convalescents and Army clerks hastily armed to defend the seat of federal government. In their few respites from close-quarters combat, the brothers take comfort in two fine women, Kevin with Harriet Shields (a headstrong lass who, against her family's wishes, has gone south to nurse Union casualties) and James with Mary Beth McPherson (sister of a slain comrade). The fortunes of war throw Harriet and Mary Beth together when the latter's homestead is requisitioned as a front-line aid station in the wake of a Yankee rout of rebel troops near Winchester, Va. They soon part, and hostilities grind on until the North captures the Confederate capital of Richmond, where Mary Beth has gone to work in a munitions factory. Shortly thereafter, James (hopeful that the nation's suffering can now lead to national reconciliation) lays down his arms at Appomattox and heads North with Mary Beth, whom he's married, for a bittersweet reunion with Kevin and Harriet.

A haunting, human-scale account of a cruel war.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671890179
Publisher:
Pocket Books
Publication date:
04/01/1997
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
544
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)

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