Summary and book reviews of That Anvil of Our Souls by David Poyer

That Anvil of Our Souls

A Novel of the Monitor and the Merrimack

By David Poyer

That Anvil of Our Souls

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Book Summary

In the third volume of David Poyer's monumental Civil War at Sea cycle, North meets South in the momentous first battle between ironclads.

We first met Elisha Eaker, Theodorus Hubbard, Araminta Van Velsor, Dr. Alphaeus Steele, Calpurnius Hanks, and Ker and Catherine Claiborne in Fire on the Waters, witnessing their unwilling but inescapable choosing of sides as America split into two nations. Then, in A Country of Our Own, Ker took the war to the North, as captain of the fastest, most heavily armed Confederate commerce raider ever to put to sea.

Now, That Anvil of Our Souls takes us into the turrets and casemates of the most decisive sea engagement of the Civil War. In New York, Theo is the engineer for a revolutionary new "fighting machine" called the Monitor, and eager to become a man of means...so eager, a bribe compromises his integrity. In Norfolk, Catherine faces her husband's impending hanging for piracy, the death of their baby daughter, and the bitter realities of enemy occupation.

In Richmond, Lt. Lomax Minter is ordered to find a spy who threatens the South's ultimate weapon: a tremendous ironclad named Virginia, rebuilt from a sunken wreck in a race against time. While the aging Dr. Steele witnesses the horrors that are the aftermath of glory; and gun-captain Hanks, escaped slave, struggles with the demons of his past and the twin snakes of "freedom."

Poyer's vivid characters join with meticulously researched historic figures to re-create the bloodiest conflict in American history -- one whose reverberations will endure as long as freedom, equality, and home have different meanings in proud human hearts.

Chapter One

A Residence on Fifth · Introduction to Personages of Importance · The Southern Bug-bear · Advice from Men of Wealth and Influence · At the Delamater Ironworks · 95 Franklin Street · Impromptu Examination in Gearing Design · Rejection of a Long-Cherished Scroll

Mr.Theodorus Hubbard. Responding to the invitation of Mr. Micah Eaker. Theo gave the butler his card, stripping off his dripping mackintosh, glancing resentfully around the interior of 372 Fifth Avenue, New York City, to which the note waiting at his hotel that afternoon had invited him.

Theo Hubbard was no larger than a boy. But he'd never let his size confine the scope of his dreams. At twenty-six he'd already earned the confidence of the engineer in chief of the Navy. At the moment he was in civilian clothes, a rumpled brown suit of only modest quality. His lips were firm, his blue eyes determined, his small chin smooth-shaven. For once his ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

Power is the author of at least 25 novels and is often described as the most popular living author of American sea fiction. In addition to being a novelist, he's also a public policy analyst and a retired naval office. He has written a couple of stand-alone novels but the rest of his books fall into four series - those starring ex-SEAL Tiller Galloway, the Dan Lenson novels set in the modern navy, the Hemlock County novels (his only landlocked series set in the area of Pennsylvania where he grew up), and his Civil War series.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

A larger cast than Poyer's naval Dan Lenson novels makes for occasional choppiness, but otherwise this book is every bit as good; Poyer makes readers see and feel the blockade and the men who tried to maintain it.

Kirkus Reviews

Series best, and for those who see the Civil War as this country's defining drama, simply not to be missed.

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The USS Merrimack (scuttled by the Union forces when they abandoned the Norfolk Navy Yard at Portsmouth, VA, and renamed the Virginia by the Confederate forces who subsequently raised her) and the Monitor (built in about 90 days by John Ericsson) fought the first engagement between ironclad ships, in March 1862. If you can't remember the outcome I'm not going to tell you here as it would be a bit of a plot spoiler!

However, I will tell you that the Monitor sank in heavy ...

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