Summary and book reviews of Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles

Mississippi Blood

A Natchez Burning Novel #3

by Greg Iles

Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles X
Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2017, 704 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2018, 704 pages

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About this Book

Book Summary

The final chapter in the Natchez Burning trilogy.

The endgame is at hand for Penn Cage, his family, and the enemies bent on destroying them in this revelatory volume in the epic trilogy set in modern-day Natchez, Mississippi - Greg Iles's epic tale of love and honor, hatred and revenge that explores how the sins of the past continue to haunt the present.

Shattered by grief and dreaming of vengeance, Penn Cage sees his family and his world collapsing around him. The woman he loves is gone, his principles have been irrevocably compromised, and his father, once a paragon of the community that Penn leads as mayor, is about to be tried for the murder of a former lover. Most terrifying of all, Dr. Cage seems bent on self-destruction. Despite Penn's experience as a prosecutor in major murder trials, his father has frozen him out of the trial preparations - preferring to risk dying in prison to revealing the truth of the crime to his son.

During forty years practicing medicine, Tom Cage made himself the most respected and beloved physician in Natchez, Mississippi. But this revered Southern figure has secrets known only to himself and a handful of others. Among them, Tom has a second son, the product of an 1960s affair with his devoted African American nurse, Viola Turner. It is Viola who has been murdered, and her bitter son - Penn's half-brother - who sets in motion the murder case against his father.  The resulting investigation exhumes dangerous ghosts from Mississippi's violent past. In some way that Penn cannot fathom, Viola Turner was a nexus point between his father and the Double Eagles, a savage splinter cell of the KKK. More troubling still, the long-buried secrets shared by Dr. Cage and the former Klansmen may hold the key to the most devastating assassinations of the 1960s. The surviving Double Eagles will stop at nothing to keep their past crimes buried, and with the help of some of the most influential men in the state, they seek to ensure that Dr. Cage either takes the fall for them, or takes his secrets to an early grave. 

Tom Cage's murder trial sets a terrible clock in motion, and unless Penn can pierce the veil of the past and exonerate his father, his family will be destroyed. Unable to trust anyone around him - not even his own mother - Penn joins forces with Serenity Butler, a famous young black author who has come to Natchez to write about his father's case. Together, Penn and Serenity - a former soldier - battle to crack the Double Eagles and discover the secret history of the Cage family and the South itself, a desperate move that risks the only thing they have left to gamble: their lives.

Mississippi Blood is the enthralling conclusion to a breathtaking trilogy seven years in the making - one that has kept readers on the edge of their seats. With piercing insight, narrative prowess, and a masterful ability to blend history and imagination, New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles illuminates the brutal history of the American South in a highly atmospheric and suspenseful novel that delivers the shocking resolution his fans have eagerly awaited. 

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Introduction

Shattered by grief and dreaming of vengeance, Penn Cage sees his family and his world collapsing around him. The woman he loves is gone, his principles have been irrevocably compromised, and his father, once a paragon of the community that Penn leads as mayor, is about to be tried for the murder of a former lover. Most terrifying of all, Dr. Cage seems bent on self-destruction. Despite Penn's experience as a prosecutor in major murder trials, his father has frozen him out of the trial preparations--preferring to risk dying in prison to revealing the truth of the crime to his son.

During forty years practicing medicine, Tom Cage made himself the most respected and beloved physician in Natchez, Mississippi. ...
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

Here are some of the comments posted about Mississippi Blood.
You can see the full discussion here.


A dark secret from Judge Elder's past is revealed during the trial. What effect does this have on the court case?
A dark secret from Judge Elder's past is revealed during the trial. What effect does this have on the court case? - davinamw

Are you a fan of "Southern" writers? What is their appeal to you personally?
I fell in love in college with the writing of Flannery O'Connor and Eudora Welty. I think the South is unique---for good and bad. - robertaw

Compare Robert Penn Warren's "All The King's Men" to "Mississippi Blood", particularly Warren's depiction of the driven Willie Stark with Iles's lead character, Penn Cage.
Greg Iles quotes from Robert Penn Warren's "All The King's Men" at the start of "Mississippi Blood." This classic novel of the American South revolves around the career of Willie Stark, a back-country lawyer whose idealism is distorted over time by ... - davinamw

Do you feel that justice was served to all parties in the end?
There are many sins and outright crimes, good deeds and bad, committed over the course of this trilogy. Do you feel that justice was served to all parties in the end? - davinamw

Have you had personal experiences similar to the bigotry, familial conflict or corruption in this series?
Thank goodness no. I only see a great deal of it in the world. - robertaw

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Though a side plot about J.F.K.'s assassination stretches credibility, relentless pacing keeps the story churning, with unexpected brutality erupting on nearly every page.

Library Journal

Starred Review. From his opening line, Iles draws you back into Penn Cage's deep South .... His heart-racing, enthralling thriller brings to the forefront the racial divisiveness that still plagues this country.

Booklist

Starred Review. With these three novels, Iles has told an epic story that rips apart the modern history of Mississippi (he lives in Natchez himself), exposing a secret underbelly that, while fictional, feels real enough to have actually happened. This trilogy is destined to become a classic of literary crime fiction.

Kirkus

Faulkner meets John D. MacDonald, and that's all to the good. A boisterous, spills-and-chills entertainment from start to finish.

Reader Reviews

lani

a masterpiece
The final chapter in Greg Iles's trilogy includes Natchez Burning, The Bone Tree and finally Mississippi Blood. I was biting my nails waiting for this superb conclusion to one of the best series I have ever read. It took over 8 years to finish and I ...   Read More

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