Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: E P Dutton / Penguin Putnam
Release Date: July 10, 2003
Format Reviewed: Hardback
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Genre: Mystery
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Susan Johnson
Reviewer Notes:

Ghost Riders
Sharyn McCrumb

     Ghost Riders is yet another addition to Sharyn McCrumb's Ballad of the Appalachia series. I am a devoted fan that started out reading her mysteries and then discovered that she wrote many books that take place quite close to home.

     In Ghost Riders Ms. McCrumb approaches the story in several ways, but they eventually come together in the end. The main story is about a young mountain couple living in the shadows of Grandfather Mountain. The great Civil war is on and mountain people are split on their loyalties. To them, the war was a rich man's fight over slavery and money, of which these poor people have neither.

     A stepfather who honored the union had raised Keith Blalock. His plan was to join the Confederates until they got close to the Union army and slip to the other side. He was not counting on his young bride Malinda following him. She cut her hair, dressed as a boy and joined also.

     The second story being told involves Zeb Vance. Zeb was a poor mountain lad who became a lawyer, then a colonel and later would serve as North Carolina's governor. He is the commander over Keith and Malinda, now known as Sam, Keith's little brother.

     Keith fakes an injury, and is sent home. Malinda confesses her gender and is sent with him. Soon the war is worsening and Keith and Malinda become Union sympathizers leading people over into Tennessee.

     Also running through this story is a group of Civil War re-enactors, a mountain man that has Cherokee blood and the sight (or the ability to see things most people don't- the supernatural) and of course Nora Bonesteel and Sheriff Spencer Arrowood.

     This book often read like a history lesson, but one I could not get enough of. I am not a Civil War buff but I learned a great deal about the war and how it affected the area close to where I was born, raised and still live. Sharyn McCrumb is the master when it comes to making this history come alive.

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