The American Civil War would probably not be the first choice of genre for a spiritually uplifting book but author Dr Don C Kean has created something quite extraordinary out of one of the bloodiest wars in history.
Young Joshua grows up on a farm in mid 19th century Kentucky with dreams of exploring the world he has only visited in the maps he loves. When rumours of war arrive he seizes the chance of adventure and enlists in the Confederate army to fight for his homelands. His early experiences turn out to be not quite as exciting as he’d hoped with most of his first months as a soldier spent digging ditches and hearing stories of a massive army approaching their position. In fear of the gathering storm he turns to his bible and finds peace.
Shortly after the war erupts around him, his friends fall but he manages to survive and after a chance encounter with an enigmatic dying Union soldier he begins to see a guiding hand in his destiny.
Dr Don C Kean has meticulously researched the background to the battles depicted and it shows in the quality of the narrative. Joshua is a well rounded character who struggles with the violence he is forced to undertake as he tries to make sense of the path he is destined to tread. Whilst this book is unashamedly Christian in its leaning this is never thrust to the fore and takes the place of a gentle thread running through the horrors confronted by the protagonist.
This is not the average ‘War is Awful’ book and relies on the reader’s sympathy for a complex and torn individual. Ultimately this is a book of hope and the strength of the human spirit.
A fine start for a new writer’s career and it will be interesting to see how Dr Kean follows this up.