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Mississippi Blood: A Novel (Natchez Burning) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 21, 2017
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“Prepare to be surprised. Iles has always been an exceptional storyteller, and he has invested these volumes with an energy and sense of personal urgency that rarely, if ever, falter.” (Denver Post)
“A superb entertainment that is a work of power, distinction and high seriousness... also (a) prime example of what the thriller--and other forms of so-called ‘genre’ fiction--can accomplish when pushed beyond traditional limits.” (Washington Post)
“[The books] are page-turning entertainments with an edge of history and a deep understanding of race relations in the American South. . . . Mississippi Blood is packed with compelling characters. . . . Harrowing and spellbinding.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“This trilogy is destined to become a classic of literary crime fiction.” (Booklist (starred review))
“[The] terrific conclusion to his Natchez Burning trilogy is a sweeping story that remains intimate… Relentless pacing keeps the story churning… The trial scenes are among the most exciting ever written in the genre.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“There is a graphic beauty to Iles’ writing. He uses measured words to express voluminous stories. . . . He is a masterful storyteller!” (Huffington Post on Mississippi Blood)
“From his opening line, Iles draws you back into Penn Cage’s deep South in this phenomenal trilogy’s final novel (after Natchez Burning; The Bone Tree). [A] heart-racing, enthralling thriller.” (Library Journal (starred review) on Mississippi Blood)
“Iles draws his characters so well, and brings off scenes so deftly.” (Houston Chronicle on Mississippi Blood)
“A fabulous story. . . . Love, betrayal, murder, sadness, racism, adultery, hatred and revenge, with a bit of history thrown in. . . . The conclusion to a phenomenal trilogy.” (Biloxi Sun Herald on Mississippi Blood)
“In this dramatic conclusion to a stunning piece of work, Iles works suspense until the last second, making us question whether we’d be able to keep fighting if all the precious things in our lives were taken away.” (Southern Living on Mississippi Blood)
From the Back Cover
Shattered by grief and dreaming of vengeance, Penn Cage sees his world collapsing around him. The woman he loves is gone, his principles have been irrevocably compromised, and his father, Dr. Tom Cage, once a pillar of the community, is about to be tried for the murder of a former lover. Most terrifying of all, Dr. Cage seems bent on self-destruction and has frozen Penn out of the trial, preferring to risk dying in prison to revealing the truth to his son.
For decades Dr. Tom Cage has had a second son known to almost no one, the product of an affair with his African-American nurse, Viola Turner. It is this bitter son—Penn’s half brother—who set in motion the case against Dr. Cage. But a murder charge may be the least of Tom’s worries. In the 1960s South, Viola Turner became a nexus point between Penn’s father and the Double Eagle group, a savage splinter cell of the KKK. Now, led by psychopath Snake Knox, the surviving Double Eagles will stop at nothing to keep their past deeds buried, and they mean to ensure that Dr. Cage either takes the fall for them or takes his secrets to an early grave.
Unable to trust anyone—not even his own mother—Penn joins forces with Serenity Butler, a writer investigating his father’s case. Together, Penn and Serenity, a former soldier, desperately battle to crack the Double Eagle group and discover the secret history of both the Cage family and the South itself, risking the only thing they have left to gamble: their lives.
Mississippi Blood is the enthralling conclusion to a breathtaking trilogy seven years in the making. With piercing insight, extraordinary narrative prowess, and a masterful ability to blend history and imagination, #1 New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles illuminates the brutal history of the American South in a highly atmospheric, deeply satisfying, and unforgettable novel.
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There are actually very few authors whom I have read (and collected) each and every one of their books. Greg Iles is one of them, along with Dennis Lehane, Stephen King, and James Lee Burke. I have enjoyed the works of several other authors over the years and then stopped reading/collecting them because they kept repeating the same formula (which became stale), their characters remained stagnant and failed to grow, or the impact they were once able to shock and surprise you with had disappeared from their writing. It was obvious in a few cases that "ghost writers" had stepped in and continued with their story lines when they were no longer able to write, which simply affirmed the use of formula writing.
Greg Iles doesn't stand still. He continues to provide intelligent and well-researched stories that are grounded in the history of the Deep South. He doesn't paint a pretty picture with southern ladies and gentlemen, antebellum mansions, garden parties, and good-old-boy politicians. Instead Mr.Iles talks about the problems of the Deep South; the history of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, the inequality of races, miscegenation, and various hold-outs of people who keep a grip on the old ways even today. His writing is gritty and realistic, impressive and depressing at the same time, and allows his readers to really understand what has happened over the past 150 years. He presents these historic events with passion and insight, excusing few for their actions and holding many accountable for perpetuating barbaric practices.
After having passed through many generations, it is surprising that so many people continue to discriminate against those who were granted freedom from their owners so long ago. Mr. Iles writing periodically points out the places where water fountains had signs on them stating "Whites Only", back doors to stores had empty spaces on them where signs once read "Colored Entrance", and inhumane prisons often held minor offenders for the rest of their lives. It is not a pretty picture but instead points out the realities of racism that others would just as soon forget. It is ugly, it is brutal, and it is amazing that so few managed to take advantage of so many for such a long time. This particular book is not for the faint of heart. No punches are pulled, no words are minced, no stone goes unturned. Be prepared, be warned, and expect to learn some historical truths without any sugar-coating.
This is easily a stand-alone novel not requiring the reading of the previous two books in the trilogy. HOWEVER, you will miss two powerful novels that set the stage for the end of this book -- and I wouldn't want you to miss any of its impact.