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Snake Moon by Ray Manzarek
Review by Carolyn Frank
Night Shade Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 1597800414
Date: 15 April, 2006 List Price $23.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Introduced in their small Eden, Boone, his wife Cissy, his sister Jewel, and his brother-in-law Jabber, live with his mother and his two sons on a small diversified farm in the middle of nowhere. When a snake moon appears while he is planting his crop, Boone knows bad events are set in motion, he just doesn't know exactly how or what.

After a peddler comes thorough and extols the pottery, Boone and his simple-minded brother-in-law, Jebber, set out to sell his pottery in the big city. Against a backdrop of the Civil War, the two men, quite innocent in the ways of the outside world, find the detritus of battles, run into soldiers and meet representative townspeople living through and around the war.

Cissy and Jewel also are drawn into the war, in their case, a troop of Union soldiers who stumble across the farmstead. With no menfolks to protect them, nothing good comes out of this encounter. However, Dillards are survivors, and their presence, although greatly changed for the worse during the period of the snake moons, will endure.

Not so much fantasy as an extended ghost story, the tale is set in the waning South by someone who knows and loves the area. The descriptions of flora and fauna, tiny towns, Southern cities, and small plantations ring true, while the actions of the men and women follow their nature. Civil War actions are used as devices to move the plot along, with battles and bloodshed mostly kept to the rear.

While this book is definitely not science fiction, it is certainly a well-crafted novel, gripping and thought provoking. Reminiscent of Faulkner's tone and stories, though without the endless run-on sentences, Snake Moon deserves to be read by everyone who enjoys America's Southern authors.

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