Karl Bacon breaks into the world of fiction with his novel, An Eye for Glory. The story is a first-person account of the Civil War told by Union soldier Michael Palmer. He details his journey of war and his actions at some of the most famous battlegrounds, including Antietam and Gettysburg. Bloody war, deep loss, and near impossible obstacles challenge Michaelís faith and his resolve to live.
Baconís training as a student of the Civil War comes through in great clarity. Michaelís character is very real. Bacon shows what soldiers in that time and situation could be thinking. Every complaint, every fear, and every goal seems like it comes from the heart of a real Union soldier. His descriptions and detailed accounts of military life sink the reader into the mud right next to the soldiers. The decrepit shelters, the grueling marches, the vile food, all are shown in believable detail and clarity. Baconís historical sense is also impressive. He depicts important Civil War locations all over the United States, each clearly described. Bacon also mentions the constantly changing leadership. This is a strong point, as it helps shape the soldierís views and expectations. The amount of detail is satisfyingly abundant. A final bonus is the addition of Bible verses at the beginning of each unit. They set a tone for the following section.
Baconís historical accounts are great, but parts of his novel are stylistically bland. Michael is more interesting when he is interacting with his friends, but as the book progresses, he becomes more and more secluded. His time in the beginning, when he is surrounded by other soldiers, provides entertaining, as well as thoughtful experiences. Michael becomes more depressing and uninteresting. Another problem with Baconís characters comes from how predictable they are. It is pretty easy to guess who will die and around what time they will. Most characters either donít stay around long enough to get really fleshed out, or they stay static through most of the book. Michael also seems to be incredibly lucky. Every battle has him fighting valiantly, hardly every sustaining anything more than a bruise. There are a number of times when Michael notices how close bullets came to killing him. This makes him seem like a super hero, untouchable until it is plot convenient. A small complaint about the verses in the beginning is that they reveal some important parts of the chapter and spoil some of the mystery.
Despite a predictable plot, Baconís novel is a good work. Impressive depth of detail and believable events help make the story interesting and engaging. There is a strong spiritual side to this book as well. Bacon explores men under pressure and how they react to the struggles they face. I would recommend this book to those interested in war, regardless of age. Bacon is never gory or obscene in his work, and the realities of war are shown without gruesome imagery. An Eye for Glory is definitely a good beginning for Bacon. It is a solid war novel that should interest a wide audience. Ė Todd Naevestad, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Michael Palmer has grown accustomed to the comforts of prosperity and a happy home. Yet, believing he has been created for some nobler calling, he enlists in the Union Army. He leaves all to take up a life of toil, hardship, and danger in the battlefields of Americaís Civil War, changing him forever.