Ron read a bit from the novel and I was hooked -- I'd already bought it and had gotten him to sign it but the little bit he read aloud truly roused my appetite. And when he mentioned that the story was a retelling of Macbeth and that there was a sort of Greek chorus of old loggers, commenting at regular intervals on the action, I had to start in right away.
Something about being an old English major makes me dearly love a modern book that follows the story line of a classic. That was what I enjoyed the most about Sharyn McCrumb's St. Dale -- the ties to The Canterbury Tales. I even tried to do something of that myself with the Lydy Goforth section of In a Dark Season -- there are quite a few parallels to The Odyssey. But I digress.
Suffice it to say that the character of Serena can give Lady Macbeth a run for the money. She's intelligent, fearless, strong, beautiful, mysterious, sexually aggressive, and utterly ruthless. She rides a pure white Arabian horse and hunts rattlesnakes with the giant golden eagle that she had shipped all the way from Mongolia. I found her utterly compelling in her evil. I didn't like her at all -- she's a truly horrible person --but, oh my goodness, I did want to find out what was going to happen next.
The writing is beautiful -- what you'd expect from a poet -- and Ron Rash had three books of poetry to his credit, along with the other novels and short story collections.
This is a book crying to be made into a movie -- and, as one reviewer put it, the brave actress who plays Serena can expect an Academy Award.