On a hillside overlooking Burnside Bridge—the focus of the Battle of Antietam—souvenir hunters find the unmarked grave of an unknown Union officer.
Don Spaniel, an archeologist in the National Park Service, is called in to examine the remains. He soon discovers that the officer was murdered and that his identification disk could not possibly belong to him, since its rightful owner is buried elsewhere. So who was this officer? Where did he come from? And why was he killed?
In a swift narrative deftly combining the past with the present, Jim Lehrer has created an engrossing story that will appeal to a wide variety of readers.
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Those who share television newsman James Lehrer's passion for the Civil War will be thrilled to encounter this graceful, deftly written novel about a U.S. Parks Department archaeologist investigating the mystery of a murdered Union officer whose remains are discovered in an unmarked grave near Antietam, the scene of one of the bloodiest battles in history. Don Spaniel's curiosity about the circumstances of the soldier's death is ratcheted up several degrees when it turns out that the ID disk found in the grave belongs to another solider from a different regiment, whose body is buried elsewhere. And when a woman from the historical society of a small town in the Midwest gives Spaniel a document that refers to the murder, along with a warning that some stories are better left untold, he swings into high gear to solve a century-old mystery. The pace of this novel is so slow it may put some readers to sleep, and the protagonist is more of a talking history book than a flesh-and-blood character, but real Civil War buffs probably won't mind at all. --Jane AdamsFrom the Back Cover :
“No Certain Rest reads like Antietam: blood-soaked, fast-charging, filled with twists, and as hauntingly irresistible to a Civil War buff as the battle itself.” —Tony Horwitz
“[A] smoothly told story about courage and cowardice on the battlefield.” —Alan Cheuse (NPR), The Dallas Morning News
“[Lehrer] writes quirky thrillers, swiftly paced with a cleverly concealed solution. . . . [No Certain Rest is] a rousing tale of intrigue.”—Jeremy C. Shea, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“The heart of No Certain Rest [and] its most riveting passages [are] presented as excerpts from memoirs written by Union soldiers and veterans. The first-person voices are consistently compelling. They paint vivid tableaux; they shine with the truthfulness, hard-held values and modesty of an unrecoverable age.”
—Kai Maristed, Los Angeles Times
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