Rated of 5
Interesting Approach to the Civil War Novel
The premise of this novel sounded intriguing: a young Jewish man, running away from the life his domineering father had planned for him, joins the Union army and is recruited as a spy. His first assignment: to kill his own uncle, who is believed to be plotting to kidnap and murder Lincoln. Jacob performs admirably, despite personal qualms, not because of any devotion to the Union but in hopes of a promotion. But he does his job so well that he is sent on a second mission: to marry into a Southern Jewish family involved in another plot.
The main difficulty I had with this novel is its series of unbelievable coincidences and a number of gaps in the plot. The writing is fine enough but doesn't quite overcome these flaws. Horn apparently intended the novel to question Jacob's conflicts between his faith and his loyalty to the Union; but I never got a sense that he was particularly devoted to either. He seemed more of an ungrounded man being carried along by the flow of events.