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A Beckoning Hellfire: A Novel of the Civil War

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During the bloody American Civil War, the stark reality of death leads one young man on a course of revenge that takes him from his quiet farm in northern Alabama to the horrific battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania. On Christmas Eve 1862, David Summers hears the dreaded news: his father has perished at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Reeling with grief and thoughts of v During the bloody American Civil War, the stark reality of death leads one young man on a course of revenge that takes him from his quiet farm in northern Alabama to the horrific battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania. On Christmas Eve 1862, David Summers hears the dreaded news: his father has perished at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Reeling with grief and thoughts of vengeance, David enlists and sets off for Richmond to join the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. But once in the cavalry, David's life changes drastically, and his dream of glamorous chivalry becomes nothing but a cold, cruel existence of pain and suffering. He is hurled into one battle after another, and his desire for revenge wanes when he experiences first-hand the catastrophes of war. A haunting look at the human side of one of America's most tragic conflicts, "A Beckoning Hellfire "speaks to the delusion of war's idealism.


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During the bloody American Civil War, the stark reality of death leads one young man on a course of revenge that takes him from his quiet farm in northern Alabama to the horrific battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania. On Christmas Eve 1862, David Summers hears the dreaded news: his father has perished at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Reeling with grief and thoughts of v During the bloody American Civil War, the stark reality of death leads one young man on a course of revenge that takes him from his quiet farm in northern Alabama to the horrific battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania. On Christmas Eve 1862, David Summers hears the dreaded news: his father has perished at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Reeling with grief and thoughts of vengeance, David enlists and sets off for Richmond to join the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. But once in the cavalry, David's life changes drastically, and his dream of glamorous chivalry becomes nothing but a cold, cruel existence of pain and suffering. He is hurled into one battle after another, and his desire for revenge wanes when he experiences first-hand the catastrophes of war. A haunting look at the human side of one of America's most tragic conflicts, "A Beckoning Hellfire "speaks to the delusion of war's idealism.

37 review for A Beckoning Hellfire: A Novel of the Civil War

  1. 4 out of 5

    Greg Seeley

    The Civil War is within weeks of entering its third bloody year. At home in Alabama, David Summers learns of his father’s death in the horrific battle of Fredericksburg. Both deeply saddened and embittered, the seventeen year-old must make a decision beyond his years. He must decide whether to stay home and care for his widowed mother and his sisters or to go to war to avenge his father’s death. After agonizing over this quandary, David begins a perilous and life-changing journey to find and join The Civil War is within weeks of entering its third bloody year. At home in Alabama, David Summers learns of his father’s death in the horrific battle of Fredericksburg. Both deeply saddened and embittered, the seventeen year-old must make a decision beyond his years. He must decide whether to stay home and care for his widowed mother and his sisters or to go to war to avenge his father’s death. After agonizing over this quandary, David begins a perilous and life-changing journey to find and join J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry fighting in Virginia. We follow David’s journey along with that of his spirited horse, Renegade, as they travel from Huntsville northeastward by wagon, on trains, and on foot. J.D.R. Hawkins A Beckoning Hellfire, is a dramatic and well-written coming-of-age novel. It follows the transformation of a naïve but well-intentioned boy into a battle-hardened veteran whose innocence began to leave him at the first news of his father, Hiram’s, death. Long-held religious beliefs are challenged along with his boyhood view of the world in general. The time span covered by A Beckoning Hellfire is only six months. The fast-paced story moves quickly for the reader but must have felt much like a much longer time to the characters. There are genuine and moving segments showing depicting David’s home life prior to, and immediately upon receiving, “the news.” The dialogue and dialect are realistic and reflect genuine emotion. The story is told in third-person but could have as easily been written in first-person as David appears in nearly every scene. Hawkins’ work is well–researched in its depiction of cavalry procedures and tactics as well as the life of the ordinary soldier caught up in a war that no one really wanted but all seemed powerless to prevent. Though some segments of the novel appear tailored to a young-adult audience (not a criticism), this novel is not for the queasy or faint-of-heart. The story depicts in a graphic, but not gratuitous, manner the harsh realities of war. The reader accompanies David into hell-holes that served as army hospitals, well-intentioned but lacking the sanitation, skill, and technology afforded by modern field facilities. The gut-wrench continues as Hawkins describes in detail the grisly aftermath of the Battle of Chancellorsville and the brutal hand-to-hand cavalry battle Gettysburg. I rate A Beckoning Hellfire a very solid four stars. I look forward to going back and reading Hawkins’ earlier work A Beautiful Glittering Lie and the sequel to ‘Hellfire’, A Rebel Among Us. Well done J.D.R. Congratulations.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rethi

    In, A Beckoning Hellfire the plot continues from A Beautiful, Glittering Lie. Plot: After Hiram’s death, his son David enlists in the war. He is joined by his best friend Jake. This is more of a coming-of-age novel about David in the backdrop of the Civil War. Characters: Interesting and multi-dimensional. Narrative: The author continues to charm us with her detailed descriptions and engaging us emotionally. Overall: As a second book in the series, the book delivers on the expectations set up by the fir In, A Beckoning Hellfire the plot continues from A Beautiful, Glittering Lie. Plot: After Hiram’s death, his son David enlists in the war. He is joined by his best friend Jake. This is more of a coming-of-age novel about David in the backdrop of the Civil War. Characters: Interesting and multi-dimensional. Narrative: The author continues to charm us with her detailed descriptions and engaging us emotionally. Overall: As a second book in the series, the book delivers on the expectations set up by the first book. The balance between facts and fiction has been handled well. David really grows as a character as he experiences the war first hand. Aptly titled though I wished for a more interesting book cover.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rethi

    In, A Beckoning Hellfire the plot continues from A Beautiful, Glittering Lie. Plot: After Hiram’s death, his son David enlists in the war. He is joined by his best friend Jake. This is more of a coming-of-age novel about David in the backdrop of the Civil War. Characters: Interesting and multi-dimensional. Narrative: The author continues to charm us with her detailed descriptions and engaging us emotionally. Overall: As a second book in the series, the book delivers on the expectations set up by the fir In, A Beckoning Hellfire the plot continues from A Beautiful, Glittering Lie. Plot: After Hiram’s death, his son David enlists in the war. He is joined by his best friend Jake. This is more of a coming-of-age novel about David in the backdrop of the Civil War. Characters: Interesting and multi-dimensional. Narrative: The author continues to charm us with her detailed descriptions and engaging us emotionally. Overall: As a second book in the series, the book delivers on the expectations set up by the first book. The balance between facts and fiction has been handled well. David really grows as a character as he experiences the war first hand. Aptly titled though I wished for a more interesting book cover.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Calleen Petersen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really liked the book and I did some fact checking on a couple of things. I was pleased to see that everything I looked up was accurate. However I did not like the end. You spend the entire book getting to know a young man and his struggles and then he just dies at the end? That kind of ruined things for me. Such is war I suppose. Full Disclosure- I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Zeinab Dh

    I chose to read and review this book. This is a new author for me and I enjoyed the book. It is a rare thing for me to read this type of books and review it but I liked it. I felt everything was well written and very good. I usually read this genre for pleasure and knowledge so it was nice and gave me a new taste on USA even if I am not from there

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan Barton

    J. D. R. Hawkins does it again! A Beckoning Hellfire follows the same family as in her previous book, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. When the family receives devastating news, David is set on enlisting, and going into war against the North. He and his best friend, Jake, join up in the Cavalry Regiment. David leaves his family behind, and Jake leaves his family and fiancée, as they go off to finally get a taste of the adventure they had been craving. The experience is far from what either of them pi J. D. R. Hawkins does it again! A Beckoning Hellfire follows the same family as in her previous book, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. When the family receives devastating news, David is set on enlisting, and going into war against the North. He and his best friend, Jake, join up in the Cavalry Regiment. David leaves his family behind, and Jake leaves his family and fiancée, as they go off to finally get a taste of the adventure they had been craving. The experience is far from what either of them pictured, and it gets worse when they have to be in different regiments. Driven onward by his faith in God, thoughts of his father, and the memory of those who took their last breaths at the hand of the North, David fights with every fiber of his being. Hawkins should come with a "Tissues Needed" warning label, since she keeps breaking my heart. Her novels are poignant, beautiful, and thoroughly-researched. As with her previous book, I was drawn in from the very first sentence of A Beckoning Hellfire, and regretted how quickly I can read. I didn't want it to end! I love the way Hawkins develops her characters, and portrays their personal growth and the coming-of-age of David. With her novels, you're doing more than just reading; you're having an experience. I highly recommend this to everyone that likes fiction, even if historical isn't usually your cup of tea. Students would also benefit greatly from this being adapted as part of the curriculum. Hawkins should be nicknamed `Arachne' for the beautiful tapestries she weaves of the Civil War. Without a doubt, 5/5 stars. I would give more but, alas, there are not enough stars on the scale. Review by Alexia Bullard for eBook Review Gal. eBook Review Gal received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    After having read a thoroughly engaging Civil war tale in A Beautiful Glittering Lie, I was certainly interested in reading the sequel. David Summers is heartbroken after hearing the news of his father Hiram’s death in the Battle of Fredericksburg. This motivates him to convince his best friend, Jake, to go with him and enlist in the Confederate army, more to avenge his father than for idealism. As with his father, he and Jake find that the war means nothing more than horror, suffering and cruel After having read a thoroughly engaging Civil war tale in A Beautiful Glittering Lie, I was certainly interested in reading the sequel. David Summers is heartbroken after hearing the news of his father Hiram’s death in the Battle of Fredericksburg. This motivates him to convince his best friend, Jake, to go with him and enlist in the Confederate army, more to avenge his father than for idealism. As with his father, he and Jake find that the war means nothing more than horror, suffering and cruelty. Again as in her first book, Hawkins recounts the human side of this tragic war. The young men in the story all too soon are thrown into battle. The author gives the reader a realistic view of the horrors of the battlefield, along with the characters’ reactions to all that happens around them. Historical facts that mix with a look into how the war is seen from the eyes of a young soldier, this is what makes this book so unique.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Rasley

    The history is intertwined ingeniously into the plot. It is well plotted and the narrative moves along at nice clip. The Civil War experience is related through the eyes of common folk rather than heroes and generals. The horror of battle experienced by foot soldiers is related. I look forward to the sequel.

  9. 4 out of 5

    J.D.R. Hawkins

    Fascinating, fast-paced read. Very informative. The characters, especially the main character, David Summers, are endearing. This book gives much insight into what it was like to be a Confederate cavalry soldier.

  10. 5 out of 5

    SHELBY

    BRILLIANT!!! I loved "A Beckoning Hellfire" and think J.D.R. Hawkins is an AMAZING writer! I highly recommend this book! BRILLIANT!!! I loved "A Beckoning Hellfire" and think J.D.R. Hawkins is an AMAZING writer! I highly recommend this book!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Excellent book if I do say so myself!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Chandler

  13. 5 out of 5

    J.D.R. Hawkins

  14. 5 out of 5

    William Savage

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Borders

  16. 5 out of 5

    SD

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kelly-Jo Sweeney

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ray Mullen Sr.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sadie

  20. 4 out of 5

    Deb

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pam

  22. 5 out of 5

    Erin

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Mcclennen

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michael Arrasmith

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

  26. 5 out of 5

    James Smithson

  27. 5 out of 5

    † elsherl

  28. 4 out of 5

    Don

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lana Waltosz

  30. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Whitt

  31. 5 out of 5

    Raeme

  32. 4 out of 5

    Jeni Kirby

  33. 4 out of 5

    Scott Cedotal

  34. 4 out of 5

    Katie-bree

  35. 4 out of 5

    Angel

  36. 5 out of 5

    Donna

  37. 5 out of 5

    Emmie

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