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Valley of the Shadow

 by Ralph Peters (Forge Books, 2015)

Ralph Peters once again superbly demonstrates his complete mastery of the craft of writing historical fiction. Valley of the Shadow joins his previous prize-winning novels on the Civil War – Cain at Gettysburg and Hell or Richmond – as yet another meticulously researched, wonderfully written and compellingly presented account of one of the war’s most significant campaigns, the 1864 struggle for the strategically important Shenandoah Valley.

Under Peters’ skilled pen, the narrative totally immerses readers in all the drama and excitement of the desperate combat and agonizing life-or-death decisions faced by leaders and soldiers on both sides. Commanders such as Union Generals Phil Sheridan and Lew Wallace and Confederate Generals Jubal Early and John B. Gordon spring to life as real flesh-and-blood human beings, not merely names in dusty history books.

Indeed, Peters’ great gift as a novelist is to bring real history to life and make readers feel what it was like – is like – to experience combat. The events Peters so marvelously describes occurred over 150 years ago, yet he makes them seem as if they are happening right now, to us!


Originally published in the May 2015 issue of Armchair General.