Fire and Dust by Christopher Datta
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Fire and Dust is the second book in the Fire Trilogy.
I read the first book, Touched with Fire, and thought it a pretty good read, so I decided to take a chance on this one too.
Fire and Dust has (almost) nothing to do with Touched with Fire, other than being a story of the opposite side of the war. Christopher Datta clarifies that in his author's note, and adds that the coming book three will see many of the characters in both books meet. That would be an interesting story to read.
The book started off a little too slowly for my liking, and I had to wade through several chapters of slow-moving war scenes before I was fully engaged with the story. I have to say this for Datta though - even in the more "war" (i.e. boring to me) bits, he is a good storyteller with an engaging tone.
Again, per my review for Touched with Fire, I don't know much about American history (not being an American). What I found interesting about this book was the way Datta provides a sympathetic voice for the Confederates, especially for the many normal foot soldiers who were fighting merely for their country, rather than any great cause to preserve slavery. Most of them did not even have any stakes in the fight, other than being of the opinion that their country (or state) was their own and they shouldn't be told what to do by the Union. Okay, that's probably very simplified version of things...
At any rate, I think Fire and Dust presents balanced historical materials about a (still) sensitive issue which doesn't paint any one person in stark black or white (Except maybe General Bragg). Whilst a principle may be true, any change in the lives of people, especially when it involves established institutions and conventions of a country, will always take a long time to be accepted - even when the war has been won.
*I received a free copy of this book via Novel Publicity in return for an honest review.
View all my reviews
Read the review for Touched with Fire here.