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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
The Lies That Bind is a stunning opening in the DarkHorse Trilogy by Ed Protzel, a gripping tale for fans of Southern fiction, and a story of deceit, slavery, and dangerous complicities. The trickster Durksen Hurst returns to Mississippi after being away for a long time and after leaving a very disgraceful legacy. He is broke and he wants to make things better this time around. He finds the opportunity when he discovers a group of slaves hiding in the wilds, hungry and desperately seeking a livelihood. He convinces them to start a plantation with him. But this venture doesn’t come as good news to many people, especially the widow, Mrs. French, and her son, Devereau. Conflict becomes inevitable and it builds up pretty fast with the arrival of the enigmatic Antoinette DuVallier, seeking her missing son. The reader is pulled into a world of deceit, greed, and lies.
Ed Protzel is a gifted storyteller and readers will enjoy the setting he has created for this impassioned story, a world where slavery is a gruesome reality and where the value of human life could be traded for a morsel of bread. The story is conflict-driven and readers will love the protagonist, a man who is motivated and determined to right his wrongs. The pacing is great and the narrative voice is light and friendly, coming across compellingly through the tight and well-crafted prose. The Lies That Bind features very powerful themes masterfully written into the story, like slavery, family, and what it took to survive in the harsh world of the racial South in the 1850s. The historical elements of the story are strong and the reader’s imagination is filled with vivid images from the lyrical writing.