A Separate Country (2009) by Robert Hicks is another of his Civil War epics. Well written in a narrative form, through three main characters, the novel unfolds a complicated story. The novel revolves around John Bell Hood; it is a fictional account of the Confederate general’s life after the Civil War. Hood was famous to some for his aggressive battle style and infamous to others for his reckless decision in battle that cost thousands of men their lives.
A Separate Country is about his life in New Orleans after the war. On his death bed he asks Eli Griffin, a man who once tried to kill Hood for what he did to Griffin’s family during the war, to publish his secret memoir and to seek out and destroy a war memoir that another Confederate general is holding for publication. Hood wants his true memoir, in which he comes to terms with his life and finds love and God, published instead of what he now considers his false war memoir. Eli also finds Mrs. Hood’s diaries and memoirs in the house.
So begins a saga told in the voices of Eli Griffin, John Hood, and Anna Marie Hood. The stories trace John and Anna Marie’s tumultuous relationship, their family of eleven children, their dwindling fortune, growing love, social consciousness, and deaths. Mixed in are the intricacies of New Orleans mixed Creole and American society, a black marketeer dwarf, a fop’s murder, a giant of a priest, and a man whose only talent is for killing.
Hick’s book is complicated but very good and the style of writing, using the voice of three different protagonists, makes the plot easier to follow and more interesting.