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  • B07X3WRXXW
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Northern Wolf (Northern Wolf Series Book 1)
A broken man will be forged in the flames of war... It is late 1862, and the United States has been ripped apart by civil war for over a year with no end in sight. The war is a distant thought to Johannes Wolf, a young German immigrant with a crippled leg keeping him off the muster lists. Desperately dredging the gutters for recruits, Wolf cons his way into the depleted, demoralized, and poorly run Union army, and is promptly placed in the undesirable F Company of the 13th Michigan Cavalry. Wolf's company find themselves riding with Custer and the Michigan Brigade on a collision course with master horseman J.E.B. Stuart and the Army of Northern Virginia in a small town in Pennsylvania, called Gettysburg. After a series of screening battles with Stuart's men, Custer and his brigade find themselves in a winner take all battle on the third day of Gettysburg. Will they stand tall against the knights of the South and prove themselves worthy? Or will they fall beneath screaming bullets and sweeping blades, becoming more bloody fodder for a lost cause?
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 9.25 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: Greene's story of a Michigander who enlists, after a drunken brawl, in the Northern cavalry builds toward a lesser-known engagement at the Battle of Gettysburg, a fitting climax for a novel that focuses on everyday soldiers whose drills, marches, and skirmishes keep glancing up against history. "Northern Wolf" is part historical travelogue, part spirited Bildungsroman, and part battle novel, inviting readers to immerse themselves in what life as a Civil War soldier might actually have felt like. At times, though, the narrative's focus on the journey of Johannes Wolf comes second to appearances from historic figures, whose point-of-view chapters slow an otherwise compelling story.

Prose/Style: Greene's prose is crisp, inviting, memorable, and period-appropriate. The dialogue is especially strong, with characters' idiomatic speech revealing both the drift of mind of these individuals but also of an era now otherwise lost to us. Greene excels at capturing the rough wit and camaraderie of his soldiers, as well as the poetic flourishes in the speech of a population that has the cadences of the King James bible echoing in its blood.

Originality: Stories of enlisted men seeking adventure and then finding loss and glory on the battlefield are commonplace, as are Civil War stories that march end at Gettysburg. But Greene's trek over a well-trod past is fresh and vital, fully imagined and bursting with life.

Character Development: Greene's novel adeptly captures, in its own words, the "training, marching, gambling, and drinking" of Michigan's most raggedy recruits in the late war. Then those recruits find themselves tested, in rousing, vivid scenes of battle. Greene captures the feeling of military life, of waiting and parsing rumors, of pre-fight jitters and boredom interrupted by sudden terror. The book's final third loses some of its engaging power, however, as the perspectives of officers and considerations of the strategies of battle increasingly share the spotlight with the scrappy experiences of Greene's fictional Michigan 13th Cavalry.

Date Submitted: April 02, 2020

Formats
Kindle Edition eBooks Details
  • B07X3WRXXW
  • pages
  • $

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