I decided that as I had completed the Goodreads reading challenge (about the only thing I ever use Goodreads for (certainly not for recommendations or any of the groups, and the design! They really need to bring that into the 20th Century (yes, I said that deliberately)). Anyway, I decided that as I was on an enforced trip over to Wales, I’d give the Mississippi Burning (I think that’s its collective title, though there’s a film with that title, isn’t there?) trilogy another read. Even though it was only a couple of years back that I read them and they were all so fresh in my mind…
Or so I thought.
Well, I listened to the books as audiobooks and was blown away again by the brilliance. And by how badly I remembered some details, the time line and many many other aspects. The jaw-dropping to the floor shock of the first time can’t be reproduced of course, but very nearly. I remembered most of the main events pretty accurately, but not necessarily in the correct order. Especially with book two, The Bone Tree. Then this time round, there were many more details I got fully, and many more impressions of the books I came away with. Like the references to English culture, they’re all over the place. At one point I wondered if GI hadn’t had a bet with a mate about how many he could get away with. Then, especially in The Bone Tree, the Kennedy assassination (the November ’63 one), plays a far bigger part in the whole than I recalled. Also, Greg Iles afterword after Natchez Burning illustrated how close to Natchez’ reality the series actually is, much more than I had thought I had realised.
I read so many books, and have so many books yet to read, that time constraints prevent me from going back and re-reading any of them. Maybe I should. Especially if I can get an audiobook version of them. The Company is one that I’d like to have a listen to, that was so big it was almost impossible to take it all in afterwards, I would really like to give it another go. I’m not doing Audible if you’re thinking ‘it’s on Audible’ (I don’t know if it is or not), they are way too expensive for what it is. I’m on StoryTel and The Company isn’t on there – yet (I hope it’s ‘yet’).
The three books – Natchez Burning, The Bone Tree and Mississippi Blood are actually part of a larger series Greg Iles has written about Penn Cage and his family. They are, as far as I can see, actually books 4, 5 and 6 (book 7 is still under way. I haven’t read the first three, and I probably won’t, as events in 4, 5 and 6 have/would have, taken the edge off them a little.
However, The Bone Tree is still the best number two of a trilogy I’ve ever come across. The Godfather 2 of the book world.
I really should re-read more often, that’s clear.
Natchez is, if you didn’t know, a town in the southern USA state of Mississippi. I’m pretty sure it’s where Greg Iles was born, brought up and lives now.