Cover image for Ghost riders : a novel
Ghost riders : a novel
McCrumb, Sharyn, 1948-
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Waterville, Me. : Thorndike Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
605 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Clearfield Library X Adult Large Print Large Print

On Order



The latest ballad novel from the "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Songcatcher" tells the story of the Civil War in the Appalachians, based on actual events, where neighbors became enemies, and the half-life of violence keeps soldiers' ghosts abroad in the modern wilderness.

Author Notes

Sharyn McCrumb was born in Wilmington, North Carolina on February 26, 1948. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received an M.A. in English from Virginia Tech. Her novels include the Elizabeth MacPherson series and the Ballad series. St. Dale won a 2006 Library of Virginia Award and the Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year Award. Ghost Riders won the Wilma Dykeman Award for Literature and the Audie Award for Best Recorded Book. She has received numerous awards for her work including the Sherwood Anderson Short Story Award, the Perry F. Kendig Award for Achievement in Literary Arts, the Chaffin Award for Southern Literature, and the Plattner Award for Short Story. In 2014, she received the Mary Frances Hobson Prize for Southern Literature by North Carolina's Chowan University.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The prolific McCrumb's latest Appalachian ballad novel takes on the Civil War through the eyes of mountain dwellers past and present. Two of the narrators are actual historical figures, both Union sympathizers surrounded by Confederate neighbors: Zebulon Vance, a poor mountain boy who worked his way up to become governor of North Carolina during the turbulent war years, and Malinda Blaylock, a plucky young woman who followed her husband off to war by posing as a man and later joined him as an outlaw. Their stories are rich in detail and serve to illustrate the divisiveness and far-reaching consequences of the war, but the novel loses its power as it intersperses snapshots of present-day citizens and Civil War reenactors stirring up the spirits of soldiers long dead. The patchwork quilt storytelling that has served McCrumb so well in the past is less effective here, where the different threads of story never quite tie together. Civil War buffs or McCrumb devotees, however, may overlook the holes and enjoy the atmospheric historical sections. --Carrie Bissey Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bestselling North Carolina writer McCrumb (The Songcatcher, etc.) returns with another epic ballad of a novel, a multi-tiered Civil War story that links past and present with an otherworldly twist. Tough, resilient Malinda Blalock is dismayed when her husband, Keith, leaves their Appalachian mountain farmstead to join up with the Confederate Army in hopes of earning money. Not content to wait out the war at home, spitfire Malinda cuts her hair and enlists herself as "Sam," Keith's younger brother. Their tour of duty is cut short by a deliberate scheme to get themselves discharged, and they move on to become do-gooder outlaws, known throughout the Appalachians. This story is enmeshed with the elaborately reimagined life of historical figure Zebulon Baird Vance: his early success in law and party politics, his time in Congress, his stint as commander of North Carolina troops, and his election (and subsequent re-election) as governor of North Carolina during the Civil War. Running parallel to these story lines is a dilemma plaguing present-day, Civil War re-enactment actors camped out in the Appalachians. As they restage a violent piece of Southern history, ghosts of Civil War soldiers begin appearing at their campsites and also to area residents. It's up to locals Rattler and Nora Bonesteel, both possessing the gift of "sight," to quell the ghosts' hostilities. McCrumb writes high-spirited historical fiction, her lush, dense narratives shored up by thorough research and convincing period detail. Her latest is another harmonious, folksy blend of history and backwoods lore. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Early in the Civil War, the mountain dwellers of western North Carolina try to stay neutral, considering the war a rich man's dispute not concerning them. But this historical novel shows how even the most rural areas became involved, with neighbor fighting against neighbor. When Keith Blalock enlists in the Confederate army, his wife, Malinda, follows him, dressed as a boy, pretending to be his younger brother. The army discharges them early, though, when Keith feigns illness. Then they move on to act as do-gooder outlaws, avenging Confederate raids on their friends and relatives in Appalachia. McCrumb also traces the rise of Zebulon Vance, a poor mountain boy, who becomes governor of North Carolina during those turbulent years. A third thread involves modern-day Civil War reenactors stirring up ghosts of the long departed. Despite the author's (She Walks These Hills) considerable characterization and storytelling skills, her patchwork effect here becomes confusing as it switches time frames and resists a neatly resolved conclusion. Nonetheless, listeners will enjoy this look at a legendary maverick woman and a Southern governor with Union sympathies. Dick Hill and Susie Breck read with clarity and conviction. The tape quality is excellent; recommended for large public libraries.-Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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