Book Review: Northern Hunt (Northern Wolf Series Book 2) by Daniel Greene.
(Northern Wolf Series Book 2)
By Daniel Greene
It was a surefire raid to free prisoners, but it will soon become a battle for Wolf's soul.
When an escaped Northern prisoner reaches Union lines, his tales of abuse at Libby Prison set up the perfect justifications for a daring raid on Richmond.
Johannes Wolf has made a crucial mistake. He's volunteered for a secret raid, dragging along with him, his unit of misfits. They fall under the command of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren and set out on a quest for redemption and vengeance that will strike at the head of the Southern Cause.
Will they become famous for their glorious raid as knights of the North? Or will they become savages? Or even forgotten corpses buried in a shallow grave?
“I’ll be damned if I let any more of our boys spend another night in that godforsaken hell hole in Richmond… And you pretty Michigan lads and I are going to burn it all down.”
Everyone knew the first rule of surviving this war – never volunteer for anything, especially when an officer asks you to. Corporal Johannes Wolf should have known better. He had survived Gettysburg, but there were no guarantees that he, or his friends from the 13th Michigan Cavalry, were going to survive this.
Nevertheless, the officers held in Libby Prison and the soldiers in Belle Isle deserved more than a nation’s gratefulness. And yet, to cross the Virginia Peninsula and march into Richmond to rescue the prisoners seemed almost suicidal. But it was too late now to change his mind. They would march to Richmond, they would free the prisoners, and they would win this war...
From a cold Virginia winter to the horrors of Libby Prison, Northern Hunt (Northern Wolf Series Book 2) by Daniel Greene is a gripping account of war, comradeship, and survival.
It was the most harrowing experience endured by a generation of Americans, and it is an era that has been immortalised in the memory of a nation. But not since John Jakes’, North and South series have I come across a book that captures the very essence of this period in such a way that it leaves the reading gasping for more. For not only has Greene given his readers an unlikely hero in Wolf but he has also taken us on a journey of historical discovery and controversy.
God only knew how it would end. But the end of the war was on Corporal Johannes Wolf's mind, nonetheless. If he were not a soldier, then what would he be? Would he go back and become a drunk so he could disconnect himself from everything he had seen and done? With a crippled leg, what hope did he have to live a prosperous life in the future, anyway? Wolf is a character that is very conflicted in this novel – when he is in the thick of battle, his mind is focused on staying alive. But when he is not, he dares to think of his future, and that future looks bleak. Would it really matter if he stole a few silver trinkets from the Southern homes they entered looking for supplies? What does it matter if he shoots a man in the back? This is war, after all. But where does one stop? When does self-preservation become morally unacceptable? When does a hero become the villain? Greene asks his readers these questions throughout the length of this novel.
Wolf is a character whom I really enjoyed reading about in Northern Wolf (Northern Wolf, Book #1) and I was looking forward to reconnecting with this character in the second book. But since The Battle of Gettysburg, Wolf’s rose-tinted glasses of what war was, have been thoroughly trampled on by a thousand desperate boot heels. He has seen men, friends, die. He has witnessed terrible atrocities, and it has changed him as it would do anyone. And yet, he is still, despite his doubts, despite his concerns, a man of honour, and although he is a man of lowly station, he can appreciate the sanctuary of life more than the officers whom he serves under. Wolf is a character that really appeals to the reader, for he is an ordinary person in an extraordinarily volatile time. He could be your son, your brother, your friend and I think that is what makes him so very appealing. This is a character that I have invested time in, and I will continue to invest my time in him because he is so beautifully portrayed and it is an absolute joy to follow his journey through this war-torn country.
As one would expect, there are many historical characters in this book, and Greene has not shied away from a few of the very controversial ones in the Union Army. General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick “Kill-Cavalry” is in desperate need of a victory and young Colonel Ulric Dahlgren thinks he knows how to get him one. Both admired and despised, Greene has presented his readers with a man who is reckless with his mens' lives —— he does not think of them as people, but chess pieces. He is also unnecessarily brutal to the communities he passes through in the Southern States. Add to that his ambition and history tells the rest. I thought Greene’s portray of Kilpatrick was fabulous. He was just how I had imagined him to have been.
Colonel Ulric Dahlgren was a character whom I initially sympathised with and who later I came to maybe not despise, but something very close. Dahlgren is young. His temperament is governed by how much pain he is in, as well as his frustration in not achieving what he set out to achieve. Dahlgren is one of those controversial historical figures whose life has become shrouded in whispers and shadows. Dahlgren really drove the narrative forward in this book, and although at times his actions made for some very uncomfortable reading there was a realism about him, Greene does make a point of saying in his historical notes at the end of this book that he had, to an extent, fictionalised Dahlgren, but there was still a ring of authenticity about this character. I also loved the way Greene brought all of the stories about Dahlgren together in this book, and whether they are true or not, it is of no consequences to this story.
There is one character I would like to mention very quickly, and that is the unforgettable Boy General. Unlike the previous book, Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer only makes what could be a called a cameo appearance. But, even still, he makes an impact on the reader. He is in this book, as history confirms, completely besotted with his new wife, and incredibly distracted by her. But he is still a formidable soldier and is a stark contrast in this novel, as he was in life, to Kilpatrick. Custer leads from the front, and he inspires his men, Kilpatrick does neither. When Kilpatrick fails, Custer seems to succeed, which is incredibly frustrating for Kilpatrick, but it made for some fabulous reading.
This historical detailing in this book is breathtakingly brilliant. Greene is a confident historian, and this comes across in the narrative. Even if you know nothing about the American Civil War, by the end of this book, you would have an understanding. Greene is one of those talented authors who knows how to engage his readers, and he knows how to use the lightest of touches when setting his scenes. He depicts this era, but he does not drown the reader in paragraphs after paragraphs of descriptive text. As a reader, I can appreciate that every word in this book serves a purpose, and that purpose is to drive the story forward. And this is precisely what Greene has done. Greene makes history personal for his readers, and more importantly, he has breathed life into this age. Bravo, Mr Greene. Bravo indeed.
Northern Hunt (Northern Wolf Series Book 2) by Daniel Greene is an astonishing work of scholarship. Greene has set the bar impossibly high — no one writes about the American Civil war the way he does. This book has made it into the top five Historical Fiction novels I have read this year, and I cannot wait to get my hands on Book #3.
I Highly Recommend.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.
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Daniel is an award-winning and best-selling multi-genre author. He made his debut in the post-apocalyptic genre and quickly became known as a must read with his award-winning and best-selling hit The End Time Saga. His deep passion for history has inspired him to tackle the historical fiction genre with launch of the best-selling Northern Wolf Series.
He is an avid traveler and physical fitness enthusiast. He fulfilled a quest of iron by worshipping at the shrine of Arnold Schwarzenegger, in Graz, Austria, an experience he will never forget. If he isn’t working on his next book, you can find him training to survive the impending rise of the dead.
He is a proud member of the Horror Writers Association and the Historical Novel Society. Although a Midwesterner for life, he’s lived long enough in Virginia to call it home.
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