CONWAY — White Birch Books is pleased to welcome New Hampshire author Mark Travis to the store on Tuesday, July 24, starting at 7 p.m., to talk about his first novel, "Pliney Fiske: A Civil War Mystery."
"Pliney Fiske" is what filmmaker Ken Burns calls "a wonderful novel" that works at several levels. It is a page-turning mystery that pits an unlikely title character, a federal pension agent, against a celebrated group of battle-scarred Civil War veterans who are intent on preserving a wartime secret. It is a vivid evocation of daily life and concerns in Concord, New Hampshire, in 1867, two years after the war's end, a place and a time at once distant and familiar. It is also, in the words of novelist Ernest Hebert, "an inquiry into the complexities of the American character," exploring such issues as race, women's rights, temperance, belonging, and forgiveness.
Author Travis is a longtime New Hampshire journalist now working as publisher of the Valley News in West Lebanon. Travis is a 1980 graduate of Brown University and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in 2002-03. He is the co-author of My Brave Boys, a nonfiction history of the Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers, who suffered the most battle deaths of any infantry regiment in the Civil War's Union Army. "Pliney Fiske" is Travis's first novel.
Praise for Pliney Fiske has been generous. Hebert called it "a gripping historical novel." Historian Dayton Duncan cited its "yeasty issues" and "vivid cast of memorable players." Reviewer William Craig called it a "delightful debut novel" that "shows us a 150-year-old society divided, like our own, between various kinds of haves and have-nots, believers and sinners, patriots and scoundrels."
White Birch Books is located in North Conway Village just south of the park, across from TD Bank. For more information about the event, or to reserve a copy of "Pliney Fiske," call White Birch Books at 356-3200 or visit www.whitebirchbooks.com.