A town on the Underground Railroad secedes from the Union after it becomes fractured by the politics of the American Civil War. Being a huge geek on the subject, I’m often skeptical of historical fiction relating to it. Although Wang’s tale benefits from being based on truth, that really is a moot point. His well-developed, very “real” characters and masterful writing are all that’s needed for an incredible debut. A novel of the home front, it’s nonetheless a war novel focusing on how conflict brings out the best and worst in people. It is one of the best works of historical fiction on the Civil War that I’ve ever read, and even perhaps that exists in recent memory.— Carl
September 2017 Indie Next List
“In The Hidden Light of Northern Fires, a town on the Underground Railroad secedes from the Union after it becomes fractured by the politics of the American Civil War. As a huge geek on the subject, I'm often skeptical of historical fiction relating to it. While Wang's tale benefits from being based on truth, that is a moot point. His well-developed, very real characters and masterful writing are all that's needed for an incredible debut. Though a novel of the home front, it is nonetheless a war novel focusing on how conflict brings out the best and worst in people. It is one of the best works of historical fiction on the Civil War that I've ever read, and perhaps even that exists.”
— Carl Kranz, The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA
"In a poignant and authentic tone, narrator Robin Miles brings her love of the theater to the fore in the telling of a little-known true chapter of the Civil War...Miles gives a compelling and very human voice to a time of strife and redemption." -- AudioFile Magazine
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.
More Praise for The Hidden Light of Northern Fires:
"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
About the Author
DAREN WANG is the Executive Director of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival, the largest independent book festival in the country. Before launching the festival, he had a twenty-year career in public radio, both national and local, with a particular focus on books and authors. Wang has written for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Paste magazine, and Five Points magazine, among others. The Hidden Light of Northern Fires is his first novel.Robin Miles began her audiobook narration in 1994. She's read over 130 titles covering many different genres and has won multiple Earphones awards. Her many audiobook credits include Augusten Burroughs's Sellevision, Edwidge Danticat's Brother I'm Dying, and Lalita Tademy'sCane River. Her film and television credits include The Last Days of Disco, Primary Colors, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order, New York Undercover, National Geographic's Tales from the Wild, All My Children, and One Life to Live.