How Can A Man Die Better

Fiction - Military
293 Pages
Reviewed on 07/07/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

How Can a Man Die Better by Roy V Gaston is a compelling historical novel with powerful themes of war and fans of Civil War novels will find it utterly fascinating. While there is chaos as the war rages on, Cage Carew is withdrawn, focused only on his academic pursuits. Although his fiancée covertly helps slaves escaping through the Underground Railroad across the River Jordan, he doesn’t seem bothered. But then his fiancée is killed by the slave catcher, Francois Devol, and everything changes. Cage is deeply wounded and resolved to hunt down the killer. So, he joins the 52nd Ohio Infantry Regiment under Colonel Dan McCook. Cage quickly grows from an intellectual into a dangerous fighter. But what drives him and will he succeed in exacting his revenge on the man who killed his fiancée?

Well-plotted and skillfully written, here is a novel that captures the pulse of the American Civil war in a way that is captivating. It is interesting to notice the transformation in the protagonist and to see how far love and revenge can drive the human heart. The setting takes readers through dangerous landscapes, filled with vivid descriptions that capture details of the environment and locales in which the story takes place. The action is pulsating and it doesn’t overshadow the emotional and psychological depth of the story. Roy V Gaston’s gift for character, prose, and plot is exemplified in this novel. The writing is atmospheric, the characters so alive they feel like part of the reader’s world. How Can a Man Die Better is hugely entertaining.

Rabia Tanveer

Cage Carew is a man who is more interested in academic endeavors than the Civil War that is tearing his country apart. His fiancée tries to help the slaves escape and he has nothing to say about that. However, his bohemian lifestyle and his illusion of a happy life are shattered when a depraved slave catcher kills her. Devastated and angry, Cage is now a changed man who thinks of nothing but getting his revenge on the man who killed his fiancée. He joins the army in hopes of learning some vital lessons and arming himself with the weapons he needs to do what he wants. But things are not easy, especially with the Civil War raging around him. As he gets closer to the man he desires to kill, he has some serious questions he needs to answer before he takes revenge.

How Can a Man Die Better by Roy V Gaston is a historical fiction/mystery that takes the reader through a gruesome and intense battle of will and revenge. The author held nothing back when it came to the realities of war, divided loyalties and bringing justice where it is due. Some of the scenes were very heavy, but they added to the story and made it even better. Anyone who is a fan of historical fiction, stories revolving around war or the American Civil War will love this novel. The fast pace, the complex story and the layers upon layers of development had me reading on. Cage Carew, the protagonist of the story, had a huge learning curve and he grew as he learned. He started out being indifferent, but one point in his life changed him completely and made him a different man. His story was interesting and the author was able to keep the momentum going with his story by adding plot line after plot line in the background to make the novel even more entertaining. A very well written, intriguing novel.

Astrid Iustulin

Roy V. Gaston’s How Can a Man Die Better is not for the faint of heart. This amazing historical novel begins a few decades before the main events happen, and it literally takes the reader from one end of the world to the other. The background stories of Captain Lyman Dunnock and slave catcher Francois Devol are set in Europe, Asia, and America, but How Can a Man Die Better is set in the U.S. during the Civil War for the most part. Cage Carew, a carefree academic, is indifferent to the war until Devol and his gang murder his fiancée. His only way to get revenge is by joining the army and chasing the murderers in the South. Cage will fulfill his goal only after a long journey.

How Can a Man Die Better presents an astounding and thoroughly consistent picture of a historical era. The frequent changes of setting cover so much geography that you fear you might get lost. This does not happen. Gaston guides the reader safely to the end, thanks to his superior writing skills. He minutely portrays each of his characters, even minor ones. It is easy to take a liking to the good ones and loathe the evil ones, especially Devol. Lively dialogues, rich descriptions, and accurate historical research are elements that define How Can a Man Die Better as an epic novel. The book is superlative.

K.C. Finn

How Can A Man Die Better is an intense and dramatic work of historical fiction penned by author Roy V Gaston. Recommended for adult readers due to graphic content in battle, explicit language, and sexual references, this powerful tale of military tactics, sacrifice and revenge is set during the period of 1840-1870 in the American Civil War. The backdrop to the war leads us to 1862, where Cage Carew wants nothing to do with the conflict until a harrowing personal tragedy puts him into a bloodier mindset. He joins an ensemble cast of scouts and snipers under Captain Lyman Dunnock, so beginning an incredible journey through the intricacies of patriotism, loyalty, and justice in wartime.

Author Roy V Gaston has gone full tilt into an immersive and non-stop field of action, drama and great details garnered from real history. As a central newbie to the events of the war, Cage allows us to see into the action and learn with him, endearing us to his desire to assuage his grief and seek revenge against the man who caused it. There are also fantastic cameo appearances from many of the central historical figures in the conflict, showcasing vicious warlords and real heroes facing off in well-timed and vividly described battle scenes. At its heart, there is a deep question of the nature of war and what it takes and means to be a soldier. Overall, How Can A Man Die Better gives a lot more than meets the eye as a deep, well considered and well-penned work of Civil War adventure fiction.

Christian Sia

How Can a Man Die Better by Roy V Gaston is a historical novel set against the backdrop of the American Civil War in 1862. Cage Carew is a man bound to his intellectual life and one who pays no attention to the war tearing the country apart. His fiancée isn’t indifferent to the plight of the escaping slaves, who use the Underground Railroad that crosses the River Jordan, and comes to their aid. But when she is murdered by a slave catcher, Francois Devol and his gang, everything changes for Cage. Consumed by the desire for revenge and unable to track down the band of murderers, he joins the 52nd Ohio Infantry Regiment of Colonel Dan McCook. Follow this tale of bravery, of battle, and comradeship as the protagonist joins some of the iconic warriors of the Civil War. But can he bring down the one man who killed his fiancée?

Love, patriotism, death, revenge, and friendship are some of the themes that are beautifully explored in this historical narrative. Roy V Gaston recreates the atmosphere of the war, re-enacting scenes against a turbulent historical and cultural setting. The uncertainty of the time, the sense of desolation, and the effects of the bloody war are skillfully written into the story. The story begins in the midst of the action, introducing readers to one of the key characters in the story. “Lyman Dunnock sprinted past the gospel grinders gathered around a coin-pot under a dying gaslight, their bells tinkling eerily in the pre-dawn London fog. On the opposite street corner, a cluster of wretched three-penny uprights cackled and cursed the missionaries, bitter that the Salvation-Sallies had run any late-night business away.” I was instantly captivated by the power of the descriptive prose, at the author’s ability to thrust readers in the heart of the action, with imagery that is strong and a voice that is as compelling as it is clear. How Can a Man Die Better is a gripping historical novel that entertains readers and compels them to relive a dramatic moment in the country’s history.