In bitterly divided western North Carolina, Confederate troops execute thirteen men and boys suspected of Unionism. The Shelton Laurel Massacre, as it came to be known, is a microcosm of the horrors of civil war – neighbor against neighbor and violence at one’s own front door. Told by those who lived it—the colonel’s wife, a helpless witness; the jealous second-in-command who gives the fatal order; the canny mountain woman who cares only for her people and her land; the conscript, haunted and seeking redemption; and the mute girl, whose folk magic yields an unexpected result —these voices offer an intimate glimpse into the lives of five people tangled in history’s web, caught up together in love and hate.
Based on an actual event and historical characters, And the Crows Took Their Eyes is a richly imagined portrait of a dark and bitter time—illuminated by sudden gleams of warm humanity and undying strength.
Praise for And the Crows Took Their Eyes
“Lane’s richly detailed vision of the past expertly underpins a dark story of complex divided loyalties in an isolated, war-torn mountain community.”
– Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain, Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction
“In And the Crows Took their Eyes Vicki Lane has done nothing less than commit an act of mountain sorcery. Through her the voices of the dead rise up out of the hollows of Madison County, North Carolina telling a story as tragic and urgent as it was 150 years ago.”
– Tony Earley, author of Jim the Boy
“Vicki Lane casts an unforgettable spell in And the Crows Took Their Eyes, a compelling and humane reimagining of a heart-wrenching period in our American history. “
– Jessica Handler, author of The Magnetic Girl
“And the Crows Took Their Eyes is a devastatingly beautiful, complex portrait of a small community torn asunder by the Civil War. What Vicki Lane has rendered in this harrowing and profound portrait of life and death in one little corner of Western North Carolina is a world that would otherwise be lost to us or, at best, consigned to a dusty footnote of history. Lane, through the alchemy of her formidable imagination, has breathed life into unforgettable characters living through a time of upheaval and untold tragedy. I will never hear the words Shelton Laurel again without a host of Lane’s powerful and heartrending images coming to mind. And the Crows Took Their Eyes accomplishes what only the very best historical fiction can ever hope to accomplish, connecting us, not only to our history, but to our humanity as well.”
– Tommy Hays, author of The Pleasure Was Mine