The Blood of Heaven by Kent Wascom is an historical fiction novel set in the time when America was young. Our narrator Angel Woolsack flees his home after having an altercation with his jouneying Preacher-father. This life-changing moment sets him on a journey at finding himself and place during the same time America is doing the same. We journey with Angel and his band of brothers as they fight to carve out their own piece of the pie in territory occupied by the Spaniards, French, Native Americans, and others. Their journey covers distances between West Florida, Natchez, New Orleans, and Mississippi. There is a lot going on in this novel so don't blink or you could miss something.
Upon opening The Blood of Heaven, it's instantly gripping. Our young Angel is telling of the time he spent in his father's company preaching about the word of the Lord. There are strong religious themes happening in this novel at every turn. They kill, live, eat, and pray in the name of religion. It's often reminiscent of the many crimes that have taken place in the name of religion. But given the period (early 1800s) and Angel's upbringing, it's clear why God is mentioned on almost every page.
Wascom really brings to life the characters in this novel beginning with Angel. Often times it's easy to forget that he's not much older than his 15 year old wife Red Kate. We witness the growth of a boy into a man in a dramatically short time span. As the novel progresses his actions become the antithesis of his name (irony) that I sometimes found it hard to relate to him.
I will note there is a lot of violence in this novel. The novel takes place 20 years after the Revolutionary War and before (during) the Lousianna Purchase. It was a drastically changing landscape that didn't always have the laws to support the plethora of crime. Democracy was a very new thing and this novel best showcases those trying times.
Overall, I think Kent Wascom will be a voice many will enjoy hearing from given this debut novel. I really enjoyed this book with all its guts and gory. I recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction and debut hunters. I look forward to seeing what's next for Kent Wascom. ****