Berkley, Jan 2002, 22.95, 320 pp.
Harrison Raines was the son of a powerful and rich plantation owner in Virginia. He was the second son who wanted for nothing and was secure in his family's love. Unfortunately for Raines, he could not close his eyes to the evils of slavery and when he was twenty-one he freed the slave his father gave him as a birthday present.
Harrison left the family home and moved, with his freed slave Caesar Augustus to a remote farmhouse in Northern Virginia. When the War Between the States broke out, Harrison declared for the Union. He became a spy for Pinkerton and the U.S. Treasury. His latest assignment is to travel to Virginia and find out if the ironclad ship the CSS Virginia (formerly known as the Merrimack) is any real threat to the federal government. However, once he gets there, he spends more time trying to keep Caesar Augustus from hanging than he does trying to infiltrate the circle of people who know about the CSS Virginia.
THE IRONCLAD ALIBI will appeal to fans of history and espionage novels. The protagonist is the type of spy who messes up almost as much as he succeeds in his mission. This makes him fun to read about. Michael Kilian is a meticulous researcher who make the early years of the Civil War come alive for anyone reading his books.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner