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?
This happens in the real world as well. Judges who should recuse themselves do not. Judges bring their own biases into the courtroom. But in this instance in a criminal trial, Quentin did what he had to do to defend his client - exploit the secret. ... - vivianh

Are you a fan of "Southern" writers? What is their appeal to you personally?
I’m not sure fan is the right word; however, now that Inlive in the south, I am constantly trying to understand their mindset. It’s difficult... - Tired Bookreader

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.
When I saw the quote in the book it reminded me I wanted to read All The King's Men so I ordered a copy of it. When I read it I will reflect on this question. Isn't it interesting how reading one book will lead you to another one you need to read? - dianaps

Do you feel that justice was served to all parties in the end?
Of course not...what kind of question is this. Justice for no one would have been a good title. - Tired Bookreader

Have you had personal experiences similar to the bigotry, familial conflict or corruption in this series?
The violence prevalent in this story was not part of the northern Midwest. However, I do recall that many towns did not allow blacks to move and live in the community. I never saw a non-white person until my early twenties when I started traveling.... - Tired Bookreader

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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

Tired Bookreader

Great story, but long on words
After reading the complete series, I do not feel like I understand the racial divide in this country any better than before delving into 1800 pages. The main character came across as extremely vain and condescending, not strong and moral....very ...   Read More

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