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Natchez Burning

A Penn Cage Novel, Natchez Burning Trilogy #1

by Greg Iles

Natchez Burning by Greg Iles X
Natchez Burning by Greg Iles
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2014, 800 pages
    Aug 2015, 816 pages


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There are currently 7 reader reviews for Natchez Burning
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Al H

Natchez Burning Displays Immense Iles Talent
Can’t-put-it-down intrigue, but also deep and extraordinarily-well-communicated pathos, for the victim’s of brutal men and times. Iles leaves the event itself in pure simple description, then creeps up on you later to relate in beautifully rendered language the lingering personal and communal significance of he who was destroyed. Deeply moving...
Barbara P.

An Addictive Read
From the first page of this book, I was hooked. Having grown up in the 1970's in an active Klan area, the moral dilemma and social complexities described in the book were very disturbing and relate-able. How does one react when they are suddenly the focus of such evil? I look forward to learning more about Penn Cage in previous and future books. Thank you, Greg Iles for being a masterful storyteller.
Power Reviewer

Iles creates an amazing mystery with loads of historical references, the setting pulls you into the south and its environs and culture. You will not be bored, rather you will find yourself enthralled with the characters and all that's unearthed. The ending is perfect, you'll want to continue with the trilogy to see where Iles takes us as well as his memorable characters in the incredible journey. I rarely read series, this is clearly an exception as I anxiously await the next installment.
Vivian T.

A Change is Coming...
Natchez Burning presents a variety of societal issues without any sugarcoating, such as rampant racism, racially motivated torture and killings, rape, intimidation, adultery, illegal drugs, family, injustice, and, the worst thing of all, secrets. How far do you go to protect your past? How far do you go to protect the past of others? How far are you willing to go to protect a way of life?

I've enjoyed reading all of the previous novels by Greg Iles that included the character Penn Cage, and Natchez Burning is definitely included in that list. However, Natchez Burning is now my favorite Greg Iles novel and the reasons why are multitudinous. Penn Cage is a flawed yet honorable man. This book presents Penn with the worst possible dilemma, supporting the truth or his family. Natchez Burning presents a painful part of American history that is not too distant and not easily addressed, if at all, by government officials or even appeased by the truth. Racism is still a part of American culture regardless as what some in the media may say. Natchez Burning points a bright spotlight on this ongoing issue and the past behaviors of a small group of racists that killed ruthlessly with impunity.

I found Natchez Burning to be a difficult read simply because it spotlights hate crimes and the perpetrators in such a realistic manner. Reading about torture, killings, and rape, even if fictionalized, had me putting aside the book for a few hours before resuming. Natchez Burning portrays the South in a dark, gritty and realistic way that surpasses what has been revealed in other books dealing with racism and injustice. Yet even with the dark and heart-wrenching themes, Mr. Iles provides the reader with a sense of hope that justice will prevail and "truth will out."

I could go on and on about the different characters, those I liked and those I despised. I could go on and on about the tragedies that are revealed, many in the past and some contemporary. I could rave about the amazing writing of Mr. Iles or the fact that this book is just as much literary masterpiece as it is mystery-suspense masterpiece. However the only thing I really need to tell you is to read this book! If you never take any other bookish recommendation from me, take this one — go out and buy a copy of Natchez Burning and read this book! For myself, I'll be re-reading Natchez Burning as I anxiously await the next book in this trilogy, The Bone Tree.

Reality check
Natchez Burning is truly a book worth reading. The author put me into Viola's, Penn's, Shad's, Tom's, Jimmy's, Glenn's, Albert"s lives as if I were living them & felt completely baffled by how a human being, both men, women, and children, could do such horrific acts. Halfway through the book I was struck by an overwhelming empathy and understanding of what life must have been like in the deep, manic South not just during the past but what the feelings are now in the 21st century. SC has finally taken the confederacy flag from the capitol. Now we have to take it from the South's hearts. Bravo Greg Iles for a beautifully written novel. This book is in my top 5 best novels.
Gail B

Natchez Burning
Exciting to meet Greg Iles at last. Natchez Burning explores the complexity that still exists in the Deep South, plus strengths/weaknesses of family relationships. Interweaving of history and mystery is masterful -- though at times a bit bloody. Such evil exists, but her Penn Cage comes to the rescue. Can't wait to dig into another Iles book, it's fascinating. My only criticism is the length (800 pages), but what to cut???
Vivian H.

Love Greg Iles & Penn Cage
I nearly convinced my husband to move to Natchez because I've been so entranced with Ile's books. Unlike many authors who write series, the Penn Cage books get better with each new chapter. And like Game of Thrones nobody, no matter how beloved, is safe.
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