'White doves come at morning Where my soldier sleeps in the ground. I placed my ring in his coffin, The trees o'er his grave have all turned brown.' Set mainly in Louisiana during the years 1861 1868, this passionate novel of men, women and war tells the story of the author's ancestor, Confederate soldier Willie Burke. A classic Burke hero, innately moral to the point of lunacy, Willie is soon in conflict with his superiors. As his best friend Jim Stubblefield observes: 'the juncture of Willie Burke and the Confederate Army is akin to the meeting of a wrecking ball and a crystal shop.' The characters who people these pages, many of them based on real historical figures, are as memorable as any Burke has created. Mulatto, Flower Jamison, victim of terrible abuse that never touches her soul, determined to better herself; Quaker abolitionist Abigail Dowling, whose Unionist sympathies put her in constant danger; Colonel Ira Jamison, rotten to his core yet who would rise from a cesspit smelling of roses; these and many others stay powerfully in the mind in this epic tale. Like all the best war novels, WHITE DOVES AT MORNING concentrates not on battles but on the edges of grand events, the detritus that wars create, the human cost, and, in this case, the terrible aftermath.
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