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From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Tenth in the atmospheric Ballad series by Appalachian author McCrumb, this meticulously detailed retelling of the battle at King's Mountain, North Carolina, in October 1780 lacks some of the emotional impact of her other novels, favoring instead a richly described portrait of landscape, weather, and battle strategy on the way to the tragic fight that marked a turning point in the American Revolution. At King's Mountain, British Major Patrick Ferguson defends the Crown's sovereignty over the colonies, but the Overmountain Men, led by Southern Whigs and the author's own forebear, John Sevier, roundly defeat him. Told in first person by Sevier and Virginia Sal, Ferguson's mistress, the narrative follows the buildup to battle as the armies gather, plodding over misty, rainy, chilly hills and down into warm, dusty valleys while various missives deceive, inform, and shock commanders who vie for control of their own and each other's men along the way. This vivid portrait of historical Appalachia is similar in pacing and detail to John Ensor Harr's Dark Eagle (1999) and to Johnny D. Boggs' Ghost Legion (2005), another ­landscape-rich tale of the same battle.--Baker, Jen Copyright 2010 Booklist