White Doves at Morning

  • by James Lee Burke
  • Narrated by Will Patton
  • 6 hrs and 56 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In a startling departure, James Lee Burke has written an epic story of love, hate, and survival set against the tumultuous background of the Civil War and Reconstruction.At the center of the tale are James Lee Burke's own ancestors, Robert Perry, who comes from a slave-owning family of wealth and privilege, and Willie Burke, born of Irish immigrants, a poor boy who is as irreverent as he is brave and decent. Despite personal and political conflicts, both men join the Confederate Army, determined not to back down in their commitment to their moral beliefs, to their friends, and to the abolitionist woman with whom both are infatuated.Willie's friend Flower Jamison, a beautiful young black slave, is owned by - and fathered by, although he will not admit it - Ira Jamison. Owner of Angola Plantation, Ira Jamison returns after the war and transforms his plantation into a penal colony which houses prisoners he rents out as laborers to replace the emancipated slaves.Against all local law and customs, Willie teaches Flower how to read and write. She receives the help and protection of Abigail Dowling, the Massachusetts abolitionist who has attracted both Willie and Robert Perry's attention. These love affairs are fraught with danger and compromised by the great and grim events of the Civil War and its aftermath.With unforgettable battle scenes at Shiloh and in the Shenandoah Valley, White Doves at Morning is an epic masterpiece of historical fiction.

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What the Critics Say

"This moving morality play shows a different dimension of this gifted writer." (Publishers Weekly)
"An epic filmed in tight focus, taking us from secession to Reconstruction at an intensely personal level." (Booklist)
"I know of no better or more consistent team in audio publishing than Burke and Patton." (Albany Times Union)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

not his best

Burke is better known for his Robicheaux series and westerns, but he had a personal interest in embarking on this work of historical fiction. Willie Burke, the key protagonist is the author's ancestor. Unfortunately, the characters in this work lack the depth one finds among the underworld misfits that populate the Robicheaux novels. Will Patton does a creditable job with characters' voices, but the combination of his slightly pedantic narrator's voice with Burke's uncharacteristically flat prose makes third-person description occasionally sound like a partially-interested car salesman describing the features of a used Oldsmobile. This may be due to the fact that while he is an expert on Cajun culture since 1950, Burke is clearly not as well versed on the Civil War, or even the nineteenth century, for that matter. Civil War buffs will find much of the plot surrounding camp life and combat somewhat hackneyed. These include a battle scene that will remind the listener of something done by Stephen Crane a century eariler in _The Red Badge of Courage_. Throughout, the imagery and description found in _White Doves_ seems superficial in comparison with the richness one has come to expect in his crime novels. Perhaps I am too critical, as I so enjoyed the Robicheaux series that this book came as a let down.
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- Justin

Good story

I felt a little critical of how the book seemed to jump ahead in time and it felt like something had been skipped over. I didn't realize it was abridged until the end. It probably is a really good story unabridged. The best part was the end when he tells what happened to all the charaters. I also didn't realize it was based on real characters until the end. I can't recommend the abridged version.
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- mary j aboughadareh

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-15-2002
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio