The following are the opening paragraphs of Good Time Coming by C.S. Harris; a tale of the American Civil War as seen through the eyes of a twelve-year old girl and of the women and children left alone to cope with a world falling apart around them.
I killed a man the summer I turned thirteen. Sometimes I still see him in my dreams, his eyes as blue as the Gulf on a clear spring morning, his cheeks reddened by the hot Louisiana sun. His face is always the same, ever young and vital. But the bones of his hands are bare and stained dark by the fetid mud of the swamps, and his scent is that of death.
Yet even worse are the nights when I lie awake, when a hot summer wind shifts the festoons of Spanish moss hanging from the arching branches of the live oaks down by the bayou and whispers through the canebrakes in a sibilant rush. That’s when the fear comes to me, cold and soul-shrivelling, and I find myself listening lest the hushed breath of the dead betray the secret of what we did that day.
I tell myself his mouth is filled with earth, his tongue turned to dust. But the dead don’t need to speak to bear witness to the wrongs done them. And though I tell myself the wrongs were his, and that no just God could condemn my actions on that fateful morning, it is a desperate reassurance that brings no real rest. If this war has taught us anything, it is that convictions of righteous certitude can be soul-corrupting illusions that offer no dispensation from hell.
“Harris tells a powerful story of war’s destruction of property, people, hopes, and morals during the Civil War in Louisiana. This is top-notch historical fiction, thoroughly researched and vividly presented, revealing the Civil War in all its brutality.” Publishers Weekly on Good Time Coming
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