Gold Under Ice by Carol Buchanan - Fiction book review

Gold Under Ice

By: Carol Buchanan

Published: July 20, 2010
Format: Paperback, 408 pages
ISBN-10: 0982782217
ISBN-13: 978-0982782217
Publisher: Missouri Breaks Press

During the American Civil War, Daniel Stark saves a drowning man from the icy water of Alder Creek, Montana Territory, and sets of a series of events that traverse America from the Old West to the gold trading pits of Wall Street, in the spellbinding and fast paced novel Gold Under Ice by award winning, Montana based novelist Carol Buchanan.

Carol Buchanan moves well beyond the usual historical fiction realm, and enters into a story of Wall Street gold trading and the value of President Abraham Lincoln's greenback currency. The story of Daniel Stark, and his quest to repay his family's indebtedness, is mirrored by the larger historical drama of the Wall Street battle of the greenback dollar against the gold Double Eagle coin. The fate of America, embroiled in the horrific carnage of the Civil War, hangs in the balance. The threads of Daniel Stark's life become intricately woven in the arcane financial drama played out by the gold traders in New York. In the days before electronic trades, the gold market was a rough and ready business, that could easily determine the outcome of the war, and the future of America, in just a few failed or successful trades.

Carol Buchanan (photo left) creates living breathing characters, with realistic dialogue, who are caught up in events that sweep them to their destiny. The desires and motivations of the characters, are timeless, and provide an immediacy to the sweeping tale. For business readers, the intricacies of the gold pits, and of the battle for supremacy between gold and paper currency, are fascinating in their modernity.

The price of gold, and the value of the dollar were as as much the daily headlines in 1864 as they are today. The trades made on Wall Street could make or break a currency and a nation then, and they can still do so in the modern world. The author creates a realistic portrayal of the financial markets of yesterday, that still has relevance in the our own time. The battle between gold and paper money, the lure of riches, and the often cold calculation of profit regardless of the outcome, remain as true as ever.

Carol Buchanan tackles a potentially tricky area with the discussion and description of the Civil War era gold and financial markets. The author deftly combines the microcosm of the Daniel Stark story with the larger narrative of the national economy. Even more important, Carol Buchanan transforms the actions on Wall Street from a potentially dry and arcane topic, into a riveting part of the novel. The novel is a fascinating account of fictional characters inhabiting a historically accurate world. The novel is a page turning epic, a lesson in the often ignored financial history of America, and a series of well drawn character studies.

I highly recommend the wonderful historical novel Gold Under Ice by Carol Buchanan, to anyone seeking aen enjoyable and idea filled historical novel. The characters are memorable, and stay with the reader, long after the last page is completed. This book is well worth a read, as the events of the story feel as if they are taken from today's financial headlines, all wrapped up in a gripping adventure tale of family honor.

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