More a short story than a full length novel, Robert Olmstead's Coal Black Horse is taughtly written relates the journey of a young man, at the height of the Civil War, to bring his father home from the fighting. He travels from the mountains of West Virginia, where he has been born and reared and lived exclusively, to Gettysburg, and arrives there the day after the battle. The characters he encounters and the sights he sees along the way propel him across the bridge to manhood in a scant 3 and a half months.
The tale is gruesome at times, needfully and purposefully, and is a unique look at the Civil War--no Scarlett O'Hara here. The author's prose is spare and powerful, without an extra word. At each turn, the events related require the reader to think, wrest with a larger human issue and decide to continue liking the main character, the boy/man on the journey.
This is a gem of a novella, not light, not fluffy, but powerful and thoughtful. A quick read that stays with you afterwards. This book is all that is asked for in current fiction, and I recommend it.
this is one of the best books i have ever read..there is said it..sheer poetry..
primo civil war book...fight to read it and re read it often..sandy z
"Robert Olmstead has been compared to Cormac McCarthy and rightly so. A great book that I couldn't put down. Robey was a courageous and endearing character that you couldn't help but cheer for. If you're a fan of Cormac McCarthy you'll enjoy Coal Black Horse."