War has long been the dominion of tyrants and megalomaniacs. And, like love, so too has it been fodder for writers. Both of these subjects have been the provenance of a host of poesy as old as the written word - one need only pick up The Iliad as proof. In his novel, The Coldest Night, Robert Olmstead marries the two topics while also pitting them against each other. The story is set in the seemingly simple time of 1950s America on the eve of the Korean War, but, as love and war are never simple, the couple in Olmstead's novel struggle to survive.
Henry Childs, the son of a lower-class single mother, meets and falls in love with Mercy, the daughter of a judge "known for the empery of his opinion... and wealth." It's a frowned-upon relationship that crosses social boundaries, and after Mercy graduates high school, Henry is told by the judge, "it's over now... you go back to your people...
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