A Most Civil War

Written by Greg Parkes
Review by Lisa Sheehan

As Greg Parkes quips in the author’s note of his thoroughly enjoyable debut, A Most Civil War, “I couldn’t make this stuff up, not all of it anyway.”

The disclaimer is understandable, since the subject of his novel is Margaret Schoolcraft of upstate New York, who became the wife of an Irish-born lawyer who was arrested during the British evacuation of Boston in 1776 and whom she later broke out of jail even though she was then to serve time in his stead.

Parkes takes this already-dramatic material and even further dramatizes it, heightening the villainy of the villains and very likely giving Margaret more ingenuity and rapier wit than she probably had.

His book is fast-moving and composed to a surprising extent of dialogue, and it brings to life both the personal dimension of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering of the American Revolution and the personality of a now-forgotten Revolutionary era figure.

A very strong reading experience.

Hardcopy read and reviewed but appears to be out of print; e-book listed