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A Knight of the Cumberland   By: (1863-1919)

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A Knight of the Cumberland by John Fox is a captivating and evocative novel that takes readers on a journey through the rugged landscape of the Appalachian Mountains. Set in Kentucky during the late 19th century, this book beautifully captures the essence of the region and its inhabitants.

The story revolves around Colonel Tom Bowling, a former Confederate soldier who becomes a key figure in a bitter conflict between his family and the Grinsteds, a ruthless and powerful clan. The feud between these two families forms the backdrop of the novel, providing a tense and suspenseful narrative.

What sets A Knight of the Cumberland apart is its exploration of the characters' moral complexities. Fox brilliantly portrays the inner struggles of Colonel Tom, torn between his duty towards his family and his longing for a peaceful resolution to the feud. Through Colonel Tom's eyes, we witness the devastating consequences of vendettas and the toll they take on both individuals and communities.

Moreover, the author's attention to detail is commendable. From the descriptions of the breathtaking natural landscape to the vibrant portrayal of local customs and dialects, Fox brings forth the essence of the Cumberland region. His prose is rich, vivid, and incredibly immersive, making readers feel as if they are right there with the characters, experiencing their joys, sorrows, and longings.

Additionally, the exploration of honor, loyalty, and justice adds depth to the narrative. Colonel Tom's unwavering commitment to what he believes is right, despite the personal sacrifices it entails, is both admirable and thought-provoking. The novel makes us reflect on the intricacies of honor codes and the blurred lines between duty, vengeance, and redemption.

While the pacing of the plot can be slow at times, it allows readers to savor the nuances of the characters' relationships and motivations. Fox masterfully weaves together various subplots, each contributing to the overall tapestry of the story.

A Knight of the Cumberland is a timeless tale of family, honor, and the consequences of long-standing grudges. John Fox's rich prose and his ability to evoke emotions make this novel a remarkable achievement. Whether you have an affinity for historical fiction or simply enjoy a beautifully written and engrossing story, this book is bound to leave a lasting impression.

First Page:


By John Fox, Jr.


I. The Blight in the Hills II. On the Wild Dog's Trail III. The Auricular Talent of the Hon. Samuel Budd IV. Close Quarters V. Back to the Hills VI. The Great Day VII. At Last The Tournament VIII. The Knight Passes



High noon of a crisp October day, sunshine flooding the earth with the warmth and light of old wine and, going single file up through the jagged gap that the dripping of water has worn down through the Cumberland Mountains from crest to valley level, a gray horse and two big mules, a man and two young girls. On the gray horse, I led the tortuous way. After me came my small sister and after her and like her, mule back, rode the Blight dressed as she would be for a gallop in Central Park or to ride a hunter in a horse show.

I was taking them, according to promise, where the feet of other women than mountaineers had never trod beyond the crest of the Big Black to the waters of the Cumberland the lair of moonshiner and feudsman, where is yet pocketed a civilization that, elsewhere, is long ago gone. This had been a pet dream of the Blight's for a long time, and now the dream was coming true... Continue reading book >>

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