Owen Parry’s first novel, Faded Coat of Blue, is a fictional look at America’s Civil War through the eyes of an immigrant, Abel Jones, who has recently left military service in England to make a fresh start for himself and his family in the great nation of America.
Abel wants nothing to do with America’s war, but upon seeing a disorganized group of young men attempting to prepare themselves to fight on the side of the Union, Abel makes a moral decision to lend them the benefit of his formal military training. In a twist of fate, Abel is soon leading the men into battle, saving lives and becoming wounded in the process.
In recognition of his service to the Union, Abel is given the rank of Captain and assigned to a desk position with the Union forces in Washington until, for reasons unknown to Abel, he finds himself assigned as a confidential agent to General George McCellan. His one and only assignment is to uncover the facts surrounding the death of Anthony Fowler, a vocal opponent of slavery and an inspiration to the Union forces.
In his search for answers, Abel is forced to confront some of the most unsavory aspects of the war – corruption, prostitution, bigotry, disease and deception. Although he only wants to return to his family in Philadelphia, Abel’s loyalty to his assignment does not waver, even when he discovers that he was chosen because he was someone who “would do what he was told and not ask too many questions."
Abel discovers that Fowler, thought to be a hero and a missionary against slavery, was living a secret life that ultimately resulted in his murder. Like the layers of an onion, Abel uncovers one clue after another, until he finally discovers the shocking secret surrounding Fowler’s death.
Faded Coat of Blue contains many historically correct facts about the Civil War and the climate of America during 1861. Historians may be unimpressed with the depiction of Union troops and America’s leadership during this time, but as a fictional work, Faded Coat of Blue entertains and surprises from the first page until the last.