THE JUDAS FIELD - A NOVEL OF THE CIVIL WAR By Howard Bahr.
It's been twenty years since Cass Wakefield returned from the war to his hometown in Mississippi, but he is still haunted by battlefield memories. Now, one afternoon in 1885, he is presented with a chance to retrace his steps from the past and to face the truth behind the events that led to the deaths of so many friends and comrades.
The opportunity arrives in the form of Cass's childhood friend Alison, a dying woman who urges Cass to accompany her on a trip to Franklin, Tennessee, to recover the bodies of her father and brother. As they make their way north over the battlefields, they are joined by two of Cass's former brothers-in-arms, and his memories reemerge with overwhelming vividness. Before long the group has assembled on the haunted ground of Franklin, where past and present - the legacy of the war and the narrow hope of redemption - will draw each of them toward a painful confrontation.
..... From the inner, front cover.
FIRST SENTENCE: Cass Wakefield was born in a double-pen log cabin just at break of day, and before he was twenty minutes old, he was almost thrown out with the bed-clothes.
MEMORABLE MOMENT: "If you are having a crisis of faith, maybe I can help you. On the other hand, if you are merely being an ass, then I bid you good day."
A very poignant story of war and it's consequences. I found the whole book very moving and though the battle scenes were graphic in places, there was nothing gratuitous about the violence.
Well researched and written, with a small cast of main characters, all of them memorable apart from Alison who played no real part in the story which I thought was a pity as it would have been interesting to see more of the events from a female perspective
The Judas Field could have been a book all about war but the author ceased the opportunity and explored so many other issues - faith, the nature of fear, and friendship being amongst them.
I particularly liked the character of Lucian, an orphan originally named Lucifer, who, not quite 13, finds himself on the battlefield. A wonderful character who brings out the fatherly side of the men, injecting some real warmth and compassion into the story.
MY RATING: 3 out of 5.