As Ann McMillan's Civil Blood opens, some Richmonders pour into the streets in celebration of a Union warship's defeat, while others--slaves, free blacks, Union sympathizers--mourn in secret. Unknown to all of them, another disaster threatens, quieter but more effective than warships: smallpox, the most contagious plague the world has ever known. The detective team of Narcissa Powers, a white widow turned Confederate nurse, and Judah Daniel, a free black herbalist, encounters a frightening possibility: the victims are being intentionally infected by tainted money flowing through Richmond's network of speculators and profiteers.
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Ann McMillan is the author of Dead March and Angel Trumpet.From Publishers Weekly:
In May 1862 the Confederate capital, Richmond, Va., faces both Yankee encroachment and the spread of slow murder from paper money tainted with smallpox, in McMillan's third well-researched historical (after Dead March and Angel Trumpet). Abetted by Judah Daniel, a former slave and herbal healer, and Brit Wallace, a jaunty English journalist, war nurse Narcissa Powers must search for answers under the eyes of plug-uglies from Baltimore, hired to maintain martial law over the city. They snoop in all levels of Richmond society from waning Cavalier families to newly rich opportunists, from freed blacks to household slaves and even, with some understandable horror, into dens of vice populated by perfumed cyprians. McMillan begins with a tour de force as one of Narcissa's patients, an amputee, dies a blistering death, but soon abandons this graphic mode for a lighter touch, bringing in rival gangs of young boys as a main focus for the mystery. The investigation loses momentum as each sleuth brings the others up to date on interviews ("Aurelia told me: Josiah Harrald was Coffin's father. Josiah was paying Cassie Terry to keep the boy. Cassie Terry called on Aurelia to ask for money. Aurelia was too shocked by the news to respond"), but fortunately rallies by the end, as McMillan confounds expectations and pulls off more than one surprise. Sure to satisfy fans of the series, with a solid handling of the era for Civil War buffs. 5-city author tour.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Penguin Books, 2003. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0142001244
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