All Other Nights, by Dara Horn (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2009)
"'How is tonight different from all other nights?' For Jacob Rappaport, a Jewish soldier in the Union army during the Civil War, it is a question his commanders have already answered for him -- on Passover, 1862, he is ordered to murder his own uncle in New Orleans, who is plotting to assassinate President Lincoln. After this harrowing mission, Jacob is recruited to pursue another enemy agent, the daughter of a Virginia family friend. But this time, his assignment isn’t to murder the spy, but to marry her. Their marriage, with its riveting and horrifying consequences, reveals the deep divisions that still haunt American life today.
"Based on real personalities like Judah Benjamin, the Confederacy’s Jewish Secretary of State and spymaster, and on historical facts and events ranging from an African-American spy network to the dramatic self-destruction of the city of Richmond, All Other Nights is a gripping and suspenseful story of men and women driven to the extreme limits of loyalty and betrayal. It is also a brilliant parable of the rift in America that lingers a century and a half later: between those who value family and tradition first, and those dedicated, at any cost, to social and racial justice for all.
"In this eagerly-awaited third novel, award-winning author Dara Horn brings us page-turning storytelling at its best. Layered with meaning, All Other Nights presents the most American of subjects with originality and insight -- and the possibility of reconciliation that might yet await us."
"Inside a barrel in the bottom of a boat, with a canteen of water wedged between his legs and a packet of poison concealed in his pocket, Jacob Rappaport felt a knot tightening in his stomach -- not because he was about to do something dangerous, but because he was about to do something wrong."
Here's one I wish I'd reviewed for real shortly after I finished it, because I remember really liking it but can't remember enough details to offer a useful review. If the jacket blurb above intrigues you and you're a fan of Civil War fiction that's not the same old thing, check out Wendy Smith's Washington Post review, or just check out the darned book.