Andersonville by Edward M Erdelac by Edward M Erdelac
Book of the Month
Andersonville by Edward M. Erdelac is a secret history story focussed on the hellish Confederate prison, Camp Sumter, during the American Civil War. I am by no means a history buff (I knew enough about the American Civil War to have heard of Andersonville and Camp Sumter prior to reading the book), so I can't speak authoritatively about the accuracy of this story, but the story did withstand both the power of my Google-Fu, and the power of my history buff friends. It is obvious that Erdelac did a lot of research for this novel, so when you combine this with his flair for all things strange, mystic and wondrous, what you get is one of the best books I have read this year.
The story follows Barclay Lourdes, a black man on a secret mission to investigate the alleged war crimes being committed by Confederate soldiers on Union prisoners at Camp Sumter in Andersonville. Able to keep a low profile because of the colour of his skin, Barclay begins poking and prodding into areas where he should not be concerned, to the point where his skin colour stops being a valid excuse. What Barclay finds is disturbing, an intricate scheme being played out by supernatural beings with the most dire of consequences.
As I stated in the opening paragraph, Andersonville is a secret history story that is able to use the events at Camp Sumter and the greater American Civil War as a framework for the story Erdelac wants to tell. What differentiates a secret history from an alternate history is that all the events in the book happen exactly as the history books say they happened, and what Erdelac is doing is filling in the historical knowledge gaps with his own story about Voodoo and Christian mysticism. The way in which Erdelac executes this story is subtle and clever, keeping all the fantastical elements on the down-low for the majority of the story, before pulling back the curtains, dropping the readers into the deepest parts of the fantastical elements, and asking them to swim against the torrent to reach the end. It means that start is a little slow, but the feelings of dread and suspense that permeate through the book allow Erdelac to deliver an almighty bang at the end, and that more that makes up for the slow beginning.
Barclay Lourdes is a fictional character surrounded by many real historical characters that played important roles in the real story of Camp Sumter. While Barclay may have been fictional, the use of African-American spies by the Union during the Civil War was very real, and history suggests that there were many men and women just like Barclay who were carrying secret missions on behalf of the Union given their unique ability to wander amongst the most sensitive areas of the Confederacy without receiving so much as a raised eyebrow. Erdelac uses this knowledge to his advantage, and characterises Barclay as a skilled leader of men, someone who is adept at the arts of secrecy and subterfuge, and someone who is able to show a measured empathy to the prisoners of Camp Sumter despite the persecution he has faced from these prisoners his whole life. Barclay is a compelling character, the type of person who always gets the job done despite the cost, and while Andersonville is a standalone story, I hope we get to see him again in another Erdelac story in the future.
Simply put, Andersonville seamlessly blends the historical and the fantastical to create a magnificent story that entertains and educates without pushing any particular world views or beliefs on the reader. This is a book has gone the extra mile to cater for all readers with varying levels of familiarity with the American Civil War. I loved this book, and I highly recommend it to all fantasy and historical fiction readers.
This Andersonville by Edward M Erdelac book review was written by Ryan Lawler
Have you read Andersonville by Edward M Erdelac?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Andersonville by Edward M Erdelac reader reviews
9.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Death in St James's Park
Five years after Charles II's triumphant return to London there is growing mistrust of his extravagant court and of corruption among his officials - and when a cart lad...
Mystery in the Minster
In 1358 the fledging college of Michaelhouse in Cambridge is in need of extra funds. A legacy from the Archbishop of York of a parish close to that city promises a welcome ...
It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have me...
Murder on High Holborn
In 1665 England is facing war with the Dutch and the capital is awash with rumours of conspiracy and sedition. These are more frenetic than normal because of the recent sin...
Death of a Scholar
In the summer of 1358 the physician Matthew Bartholomew returns to Cambridge to learn that his beloved sister is in mourning after the unexpected death of her husband, Oswa...
A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening
Mario de Carvalho
In the 3rd century AD, Lucerius Valerius Quincius, perfect of Tarcisis, an imaginary Roman City, begins his memoirs. His city is threatened from without and within. North A...
The King of Scotland is dead. The nobles fight over the succession, unaware that King Edward of England has plans of his own. For years, Edward has nurtured a fierce vision...
The Chelsea Strangler
In the sapping summer heat of 1665 there is little celebration in London of the naval victory at the Battle of Lowestoft. The King, his retinue and anyone with sufficient m...
The Lost Abbot
In the summer of 1358 Matthew Bartholomew finds himself one of a party of Bishop's Commissioners, sent north to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the Abbot of...
Great fantasy books published in 2015
The Sorcerer's Glen
The Grand Master sat back in his chair with his blue eyes closed and sent a small prayer earthwards. The White Sorcerer had returned a little after the hour of the sabre-to...
The Hollow Boy
Lockwood & Co. might be the smallest (some might say shambolic) Psychic Detection Agency in London. But its three agents - Lockwood, Lucy and George - are exceptional T...
The Gameshouse is an unusual institution. Many know it as the place where fortunes can be made and lost through games of Chess, Backgammon - every game under the sun. But a...
For a moment, things seemed to be under control for Breq, the soldier who used to be a warship. Then a search of Athoek Station's slums turns up someone who shouldn'...
Half the World
Sometimes a girl is touched by mother war. Thorn is such a girl. Desperate to avenge her dead father, she lives to fight. But she has been named murderer by the very man wh...
Escaped from prison and back in his own body, life has taken a turn toward the domestic for Frank “Triggaltheron” Trigg. His days are filled with diapers, formu...
The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures...
Six of Crows
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price - and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy, Kaz Brekker. Kaz is off...
Queen of Fire
Queen Lyrna has survived the bloody siege of Alltor. Now she must rally her troops and take back the capital from the Volarian invaders. But driving her hated enemy out of ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: