book cover of The Hidden Light of Northern Fires
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The Hidden Light of Northern Fires

A novel by

"Splendid—a distinctive clear-eyed perspective on a fresh corner of the Civil War." —Charles Frazier, New York Times bestselling author of Cold Mountain

"A wise and timely book." —Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena

Rooted in the history of the only secessionist town north of the Mason Dixon Line, Daren Wang's The Hidden Light of Northern Fires tells a story of redemption amidst a war that tore families and the country apart.

Mary Willis has always been an outcast, an abolitionist in a town of bounty hunters and anti-Union farmers. After college, she dreams of exploring the country, but is obligated to take over the household duties and management of her family’s farm, while her brother Leander avoids his own responsibilities. Helping runaways is the only thing that makes her life in Town Line bearable.

When escaped slave Joe Bell collapses in her father’s barn, Mary is determined to help him cross to freedom in nearby Canada. But the wounded fugitive is haunted by his vengeful owner, who relentlessly hunts him up and down the country, and his sister, still trapped as a slave in the South.

As the countryside is riled by the drumbeat of civil war, rebels and soldiers from both sides bring intrigue and violence of the brutal war to the town and the farm, and threaten to destroy all that Mary loves.

Genre: Historical

Praise for this book

"This is a vivid study of a corner of Civil War America that feels fresh and unexplored. Like all the best historical fiction, The Hidden Light of Northern Fires opens a window into the present by exploring the past." - Mark Childress

"An instant classic, The Hidden Light of Northern Fires announces the arrival of a major talent, fully matured." - Da Chen

"Wang’s engaging novel is a timely reminder of what can happen to a people when human rights are denied and the civil fabric of a nation is torn to pieces." - Ed Falco

"Though set in the past, this is a new story, an important story, one we all need to read. Daren Wang’s first novel is a marvel, and I hope he writes many, many more." - Connie May Fowler

"Splendid - a distinctive clear-eyed perspective on a fresh corner of the Civil War." - Charles Frazier

"With a forbidden love story weaving in and out of the pages, Daren Wang has crafted a novel that will linger in the heart long after its last page." - Patti Callahan Henry

"It is a powerful book, a worthy story." - Robert Hicks

"I will carry this story of love and vengeance, ruin and restoration with me for a long, long time. Read it--you will want to pass it on." - Joshilyn Jackson

"Mary Willis makes Scarlett O'Hara look like a whiney brat. Sure, The Hidden Light of Northern Fires brings to life an astounding lost story of the Civil War, but is also a stay-up-all-night, read-it-in-one-sitting novel that looses the corseted ladies of the era onto the real world." - Abbott Kahler

"A moving tale of loyalty and betrayal, violence and retribution, lofty ideals and harsh reality. Daren Wang has shined a light on a hidden corner of a story you thought you knew, revealing a divided America that, like our own, is both strange and true." - Thomas Mullen

"Daren Wang’s engrossing first novel is passionate and brave. The Hidden Light of Northern Fires is a richly detailed, genre-changing novel that unearths a fascinating drama that history forgot. It wonderfully subverts the myths that still cling to a time in American history we all believe we understand but don't." - Jonathan Odell

"A wise and timely book." - Ron Rash

"This excellent and timely novel asks of its characters the same galvanizing question we find ourselves facing today: Which side are you on?" - Susan Rebecca White

"An original take on the mysteries of war that continues to define our nation." - Mark Winegardner

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