Call To Arms
Call to Arms is the first volume in an old-fashioned Civil War saga, the Palmetto trilogy. Allard Tyler and his friend Robert Gilmore are cadets in early 1861 at The Citadel, a still-extant military academy in Charleston, South Carolina. They must decide whether to resign and join Confederate service now, or wait until they graduate. Tyler’s wealthy shipbuilding father wants him to serve the Cause by building ships rather than sailing them in the Navy, which he feels is his true calling. His sweetheart Diana Pinckston doesn’t understand his desire to throw himself into the action. Matters are decided for them once Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor is shelled.
I call it “old-fashioned” because sagas don’t seem to be as popular as they once were. Also, the authors seem to be hanging on to Gone With The Wind-era notions of subservient depictions of slaves. For example, a Tyler female slave develops a crush on Robert, who treats her kindly, saying he’s “the best man I ever knowed.” Despite a few passages reading like dropped-in history lessons, the authors are skilled in creating multiple cliff-hangers that will compel Civil War and family saga fans to buy the next volume to find out what happens.