Release Date: 11/11/13
Publisher: Atlantic Books
It is 1861, and Angel Woolsack is a Confederate about to breathe his last, as the Union forces make their inexorable approach. Rejected by his wife, his wealth no longer useful to him, he sets about recording his testament. His story is that of a preacher's son, who flees the hardscrabble life of his itinerant father and falls in with a charismatic highwayman. The novel moves from the bordellos of Natchez to the Mississippi plantations, and finally to the back rooms of New Orleans where would-be revolutionaries are plotting to break away from the young United States. The Blood of Heaven is a remarkable portrait of a young man seizing his place in a violent new world.
I love a debut book as you’re never sure what you’re going to get, so after hearing from other readers that this was a top notch title, I couldn’t wait for a copy to land so that I could get on with it. It seemed like a cracking concept, the blurb spoke volumes and of course when you set it up with what sounds like a joke (a Preachers son and a Highwayman) takes the reader into Southern America in the world of the 19th Century.
So having done some basic homework, I settled down to be amazed and started reading.
What unfurled within was a story that I had a hell of a time to get through. I hated the characters, I couldn’t associate with them, I disliked the lack of any real description for the landscape and all round felt rather cheated especially when I could see the sheer talent behind the piece with some great prose and some solid turn of phrases. All round, whilst it will appeal to a fair few, I found that this book just wasn’t for me especially when you really don’t care about the characters survival. All round a disappointment for me.