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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Journey Into Darkness by J. Arthur Moore is a well-crafted tale of a young man’s adventure in the Civil War. While his father is away fighting with the Confederate army, Duane Kinkade is left with no choice but to search for him after his mother is killed by raiders, a search that will immerse him in an adventure he never considered initially. He joins one camp, gets wounded, and rescued, finding himself on the other side of the war front. It’s a painful story of love and loss, of courage in the face of death, and the numerous vicissitudes of war.
The story features a cast of rock-solid and fully-fledged characters and readers will want to follow the protagonist through every step of his struggle, turning the pages to know what happens to him. From the moment his mother dies, readers ache to know if the young boy will find his father, but things do not always turn out as readers would want them to, and J. Arthur Moore prepares yet more twists and surprises. This novel features a perfect blend of the playfulness and alacrity of youth, the grim reality of war, and the art of surviving in difficult and dangerous situations.
Journey Into Darkness offers a refreshing look at the Civil War, combining fiction with historical facts to entertain readers while making a powerful statement that condemns war. The language is charming, mimicking the different accents and backgrounds, and one immediately gets a picture of the cultural and educational backgrounds of the characters. Listen, for instance, to this dialogue:
“Hey, Pounder!” the boy called.
“He sure has growd since I last saw him,” Jamie observed.
“We'll git off here, Ma,” Duane stated.
But then at times, it is lyrical, and poetic, like the rush of hastened feet of soldiers on the charge, rhythmic and nerve-wracking. Although Journey Into Darkness is a powerful chronicle of war from a boy’s point of view, it is an altogether enjoyable story, exquisitely entertaining, and utterly satisfying in its denouement.