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Last of the Dixie Heroes: A Novel of Suspense

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Roy Hill married the girl of his dreams, dotes on his eleven-year-old son, and is next in line for a big promotion in the Atlanta office of a global corporation. Then, almost imperceptibly it all starts to unravel. He is losing control of his life. When his best friend joins a Civil War reenactment group, spending his weekends in camps where the year is forever 1863, Roy fi Roy Hill married the girl of his dreams, dotes on his eleven-year-old son, and is next in line for a big promotion in the Atlanta office of a global corporation. Then, almost imperceptibly it all starts to unravel. He is losing control of his life. When his best friend joins a Civil War reenactment group, spending his weekends in camps where the year is forever 1863, Roy finds the idea laughable . . . even though he is the descendent and namesake of a Confederate Civil War hero. But when he visits the regiment just to be polite, something unexpected happens, gradually opening Roy's eyes to the secret of a distant conflict that never ended - and leading him down a path that grows more menacing at every turn. With his job disappearing in a way he could never have foreseen, his whole life slipping out of control, Roy falls deeper and deeper into the Rebel past. A strange and powerful idea takes hold: that his life went wrong long before he was born, in the fateful campaigns that preceded the burning of Atlanta. Among the men, a hard-core splinter group is formed - with Roy at its center. On an ancient battlefield, the once-clear lines between reenactment and reality begin to disappear. When his son is taken hostage is it real? When the old muskets fire will they still fire blanks? Or will a bloody history come stunningly to life? An extraordinary novel about the fate of men and women no longer in step with the rhythms of the modern world, marching back into Southern history to make things right, Last of the Dixie Heroes is Peter Abrahams's most dazzlingly original work yet.


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Roy Hill married the girl of his dreams, dotes on his eleven-year-old son, and is next in line for a big promotion in the Atlanta office of a global corporation. Then, almost imperceptibly it all starts to unravel. He is losing control of his life. When his best friend joins a Civil War reenactment group, spending his weekends in camps where the year is forever 1863, Roy fi Roy Hill married the girl of his dreams, dotes on his eleven-year-old son, and is next in line for a big promotion in the Atlanta office of a global corporation. Then, almost imperceptibly it all starts to unravel. He is losing control of his life. When his best friend joins a Civil War reenactment group, spending his weekends in camps where the year is forever 1863, Roy finds the idea laughable . . . even though he is the descendent and namesake of a Confederate Civil War hero. But when he visits the regiment just to be polite, something unexpected happens, gradually opening Roy's eyes to the secret of a distant conflict that never ended - and leading him down a path that grows more menacing at every turn. With his job disappearing in a way he could never have foreseen, his whole life slipping out of control, Roy falls deeper and deeper into the Rebel past. A strange and powerful idea takes hold: that his life went wrong long before he was born, in the fateful campaigns that preceded the burning of Atlanta. Among the men, a hard-core splinter group is formed - with Roy at its center. On an ancient battlefield, the once-clear lines between reenactment and reality begin to disappear. When his son is taken hostage is it real? When the old muskets fire will they still fire blanks? Or will a bloody history come stunningly to life? An extraordinary novel about the fate of men and women no longer in step with the rhythms of the modern world, marching back into Southern history to make things right, Last of the Dixie Heroes is Peter Abrahams's most dazzlingly original work yet.

30 review for Last of the Dixie Heroes: A Novel of Suspense

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jim Thomsen

    I find it hard to be objective about the novels of Peter Abrahams; they simply broadcast on my personal frequency in a way few author oeuvres do, THE LAST OF THE DIXIE HEROES is an example of everything I enjoy about Abrahams, save for what feels like the minor inconvenience of a ridiculous plot. Plot is a good reason ti read suspense novels, and Abrahams is a suspense novels, so plot isn't unimportant, but at the same time if you're reading an Abrahams novel just for plot, you're sort of missin I find it hard to be objective about the novels of Peter Abrahams; they simply broadcast on my personal frequency in a way few author oeuvres do, THE LAST OF THE DIXIE HEROES is an example of everything I enjoy about Abrahams, save for what feels like the minor inconvenience of a ridiculous plot. Plot is a good reason ti read suspense novels, and Abrahams is a suspense novels, so plot isn't unimportant, but at the same time if you're reading an Abrahams novel just for plot, you're sort of missing the point. Instead of getting too hung up on what happens to who and who will suffer consequences — possibly fatal ones — and who won't, concentrate on the things Peter Abrahams does especially well in LAST OF THE DIXIE HEROES, and all his other novels. One, he does a first-rate job of disrupting the universe of his characters, keeping them constantly off-balance even when they think they're firmly on firm ground. He's especially strong with middle-aged men falling down the rabbit hole. In this case, Roy Singleton Hill, an office drone at a faceless corporation in Atlanta, is being set up for a lucrative promotion even as he's being set up for the fall beyond it — the complete elimination of his division, as he finds when he arrives one morning to work and finds ... nothing. At the same time, it seemed for a hot minute that he might be getting back together with the hot wife who dropped him like a hot rock for someone else six months before, only that's going sideways, as is his suddenly fight-prone 11-year-old-son. The one thing that seems to be going right for Roy is the one thing he initially districts — his recruitment into a band of Confederate-side Civil War re-enactors, and the hardcore "irregulars" group within them. Small wonder that a bunch of middle-aged men who disappear into the past because the present seems to be too much for them goes violently sideways — and small wonder that Roy is fully prepared to not just go along with that charge, but even to lead it. Two, there's Abrahams' wonderfully off-the-nose dialogue, in which virtually every syllable is infused with deliciously pleasurable uncertainty. No Abrahams characters in conversation with one another ever directly deliver wanted or needed information to one another; instead, they feint, dodge, probe, provoke, pull back, in an amiable but tense battle of wills under the surface of the words. It's as intoxicating and it is maddening, and it's ultimately satisfying as eventually hidden agenda and motives come out to play in the darkest possible ways, with Abrahams spooling out narrative line like a master fisherman, playing you until you stop fighting and letting him reel you in. Three, Abrahams has a better feel for action than almost any other writer in the genre, or outside of it. He knows, as does anybody who's been in any kid of physical altercation, that action doesn't not happen in a coldly linear and stage-managed fashion; it happens in blurs and sensations and lights that flash and go dark without warning, before the conscious mind can even begin to catch up. It's never less than completely convincing. Plotting, oddly, has never been Abrahams' strength; things tend to sail over the top in the third acts of his novel, making themselves overly dependent on implausible coincidence or over-convenient timing, detaching themselves from reality like ligaments detach from bone. Like I said, a minor inconvenience against the many other novelist layers of his novelistic appeal, but an annoyance nonetheless, because why should a writer so gifted in so many other ways be so deficient in this one particular one? He does do it better in some of his novels, granted. So while I can't rate this book as a five-star read to anyone other than me, I remain unabashedly enthusiastic about LAST OF TH DIXIE HEROES, and about all of the novels of Peter Abrahams. I hope it isn't just me, though I sort of fear it is, because he hasn't written under his own name for a decade and is instead writing formulaic semi-cozy novels under a different one, from a dog's POV.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lillian

    I have to admit that the beginning of this book had a rough start to it. Some of the sentences seemed stunted and almost like it was meant for a younger audience than the category I fall into. However, once I got past the middle of it it did flow better and I could actually feel what the character was feeling a little bit. It actually makes me wonder just how many reenactors have trouble shaking off their historical persona once the costume is off. I know many an actor have had deal with that pr I have to admit that the beginning of this book had a rough start to it. Some of the sentences seemed stunted and almost like it was meant for a younger audience than the category I fall into. However, once I got past the middle of it it did flow better and I could actually feel what the character was feeling a little bit. It actually makes me wonder just how many reenactors have trouble shaking off their historical persona once the costume is off. I know many an actor have had deal with that problem as well.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Leigh Ann

    I was just browsing through the library and found this book one day. I really like stories related to the Civil War time period so I decided to read this one. I was hooked once I started reading it and loved it! It is about a person who has a civil war past and isn't interested in the least bit but then takes an about face once several things happen to inspire him. Good read you should definitely check it out. I was just browsing through the library and found this book one day. I really like stories related to the Civil War time period so I decided to read this one. I was hooked once I started reading it and loved it! It is about a person who has a civil war past and isn't interested in the least bit but then takes an about face once several things happen to inspire him. Good read you should definitely check it out.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Suzyn

    Peter Abrahams has no bigger fan than me, but this wasn't his best work. Unusual and inventive, yes, fun to read, not so much. He gets an entire extra star for the fact that a couple of chapters before the end, I still had no idea how it was going to turn out. That's unusual for me. Of course, the ending was, well, let's call it unpredictable. If you love Abrahams, like I do, you won't hate this, but it isn't his best work. Peter Abrahams has no bigger fan than me, but this wasn't his best work. Unusual and inventive, yes, fun to read, not so much. He gets an entire extra star for the fact that a couple of chapters before the end, I still had no idea how it was going to turn out. That's unusual for me. Of course, the ending was, well, let's call it unpredictable. If you love Abrahams, like I do, you won't hate this, but it isn't his best work.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    An intriguing story of a man at his wit's end. His personal life is falling quickly apart and his grasp at trying to keep it together ends in a battle with Confederate and Union re-enactors. Some discussion about the meaning of the Civil War from the Southern point of view and a rationalization about the part slavery played in it. An intriguing story of a man at his wit's end. His personal life is falling quickly apart and his grasp at trying to keep it together ends in a battle with Confederate and Union re-enactors. Some discussion about the meaning of the Civil War from the Southern point of view and a rationalization about the part slavery played in it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan Liston

    Some what odd book. The writing is fine, and it kept my (mild) interest for the most part. It does get points for originality, with the Civil war reenactor plotline. But it was billed as a "suspense novel" and it wasn't. There is one twist that I didn't pick up on, but there are plenty of clues, and a sharper person than me would have. Over all, not especially memorable. Some what odd book. The writing is fine, and it kept my (mild) interest for the most part. It does get points for originality, with the Civil war reenactor plotline. But it was billed as a "suspense novel" and it wasn't. There is one twist that I didn't pick up on, but there are plenty of clues, and a sharper person than me would have. Over all, not especially memorable.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I did not finish this book. Too much swearing. I do NOT recommend this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Carter

    I have really mixed feelings about this book....as I was reading it...and again at the end. I finally decided that I did not care much for the book....particularly at the end.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paul Marshall

    I managed to get through it, but Civil War reenactment is a tough subject to make work. I didn't enjoy this one as much as all the rest of Abrahams' books. I have read the majority of them. I managed to get through it, but Civil War reenactment is a tough subject to make work. I didn't enjoy this one as much as all the rest of Abrahams' books. I have read the majority of them.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mike Inkster

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  12. 4 out of 5

    Pat Chestnut

  13. 4 out of 5

    Diane Dunham

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gary

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marsha DiPersio

  19. 5 out of 5

    Craig

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mike Haga

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Campbell

  22. 4 out of 5

    Betty

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  25. 5 out of 5

    Forrest Smith

  26. 5 out of 5

    Julie Mink

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kjirsten

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Boyle

  29. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Delavergne

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