CALEB THORN #5
By L. J. Coburn
Piccadilly Publishing, June 2014
Originally published by Sphere, 1978
By the bloody spring of 1862, the American Civil War had become one vast, cruel death machine. Men like Caleb Thorn and his licenced killers fuelled that machine – and enjoyed their violent work.
With the Union forces advancing down towards Memphis, Thorn’s Raiders’ assignment was to cut their way into enemy territory and destroy the two Confederate river-steamers that supplied the Reb garrisons along the Mississippi. Trouble was, one of the steamers was carrying a party of young Southern girls on a pleasure trip. But then, in Caleb Thorn’s brutal world of pillage and destruction, there were no such things as innocent bystanders…
This, the fifth book in the Caleb Thorn series turned out to be the last, and unlike many series that just stop being published without warning this story does bring some kind of conclusion to series.
Throughout the previous books Thorn has seen his trail cross with members of the Tyree family and being on opposite sides in the war things haven’t gone well for Thorn’s enemies. This tale sees those clashes continue as one of the girls is Christabel Tyree and with Thorn travelling under a pseudonym she doesn’t realise who he is and she falls for the dashing young man and this seems destined to end in tragic circumstances…but maybe, just maybe, Thorn’s hardness is about to crack…
It also seems relationships with one of his own Raiders is becoming strained which will lead to a brutal scene of carnage during a frantic river chase that is taught with tension and violent action.
The author writing behind the pen-name of L. J. Coburn this time is Laurence James and his exploration into the darker side of human nature which is often the theme of his books is pretty much held in check here. You do get great characters, tough talking, savage action, and a fast moving plot with a memorable sting-in-tale though which makes this book well worth taking the time to read.
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