NATCHEZ BURNING

Greg Iles

Raised in the southern splendor of Natchez, Mississippi, Penn Cage learned all he knows of duty from his father, Dr. Tom Cage. But now the beloved family doctor has been accused of murdering the African American nurse with whom he worked in the dark days of the 1960s. Once a crusading prosecutor, Penn is determined to save his father, but Tom, stubbornly invoking doctor-patient privilege, refuses even to speak in his own defense.

Penn's quest for the truth sends him deep into his father's past, where a sexually charged secret lies. More chilling, this long-buried sin is only one thread in a conspiracy of greed and murder involving the vicious Double Eagles,

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Raised in the southern splendor of Natchez, Mississippi, Penn Cage learned all he knows of duty from his father, Dr. Tom Cage. But now the beloved family doctor has been accused of murdering the African American nurse with whom he worked in the dark days of the 1960s. Once a crusading prosecutor, Penn is determined to save his father, but Tom, stubbornly invoking doctor-patient privilege, refuses even to speak in his own defense.

Penn's quest for the truth sends him deep into his father's past, where a sexually charged secret lies. More chilling, this long-buried sin is only one thread in a conspiracy of greed and murder involving the vicious Double Eagles, an offshoot of the KKK controlled by some of the most powerful men in the state. Aided by a dedicated reporter privy to Natchez's oldest secrets and by his fiancée, Caitlin Masters, Penn uncovers a trail of corruption and brutality that places his family squarely in the Double Eagles' crosshairs.

With every step costing blood and faith, Penn is forced to confront the most wrenching dilemma of his life: Does a man of honor choose his father or the truth?

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  • William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Paperback
  • August 2015
  • 816 Pages
  • 9780062311085

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About Greg Iles

Greg Iles spent most of his youth in Natchez, Mississippi. His first novel, Spandau Phoenix, was the first of thirteen New York Times bestsellers, and his new trilogy continues the story of Penn Cage, protagonist of The Quiet Game, Turning Angel, and #1 New York Times bestseller The Devil’s Punchbowl. Iles’s novels have been made into films and published in more than thirty-five countries. He lives in Natchez with his wife and has two children.

Praise

“A whopping tale, filled with enough cliff-hanging crises for an old summer-long movie-serial. Yet there are still enough unresolved matters at the end of Natchez Burning for two already-promised sequels.” —Wall Street Journal

“Every single page of Natchez Burning is a cliffhanger that will keep you devouring just one more chapter before you put it down.” —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of The Storyteller

“Natchez Burning is just flat-out terrific . . . its themes about race, violence, tradition, and the eternal smoldering anger of the South [bring] to mind Thomas Wolfe and William Faulkner . . . Greg Iles is back and truly better than ever.” —Scott Turow, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Natchez Burning is extraordinarily entertaining and fiendishly suspenseful. I defy you to start it and find a way to put it down . . . This is an amazing work of popular fiction.” —Stephen King

Discussion Questions

One critic described Greg Iles' writing in Natchez Burning as William Faulkner “for the

Breaking Bad generation.” How does Natchez Burning fit into that comparison?

Iles dealt with his own personal tragedy when his life was nearly lost in an auto accident

in 2011. During his recovery, he wrote the latest trilogy featuring Penn Cage, of which

Natchez Burning is the first installment. What personal trials of his own does Penn have

to fight through in this novel?

Even though this is the start of a trilogy with Penn, he has been the protagonist of three

previous novels — The Quiet Game, Turning Angel and The Devil’s Punchbowl. What

are the challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

There are many secrets described in this book. Dr. Tom Cage has held one from his

past for decades, and it’s one of the most damaging in the novel. How does Penn deal

with it in the present?

Discuss the sociological and political landscape in Natchez, Mississippi, from the

turbulent 1960s as well as the present. Does this novel show any progress in these

areas, or are the characters doomed to suffer from their own personal histories?

Penn is an attorney, and his father is a physician. What is the impact of these

professions on the plot, and do they produce limitations for these men?

What do you think is more important to Penn — protecting those he loves, or seeing that

justice is done?

There are several twists and turns that keep the plot driving forward. What do you think

is the most significant plot twist, and is Penn able to recover from and move beyond it?

Natchez Burning is unlike most thrillers in its length and the fact that it will remind some

of classic literary fiction. What other thrillers would you compare it to?

What symbolic role does the Ku Klux Klan play in this story — both in the present and in

flashbacks?

What do you think will happen to Penn Cage and his family in the second and third

novels in this trilogy, The Bone Tree and Unwritten Laws? What would you like to see

happen to these characters and to Natchez?

What do you think makes Natchez Burning such a recognizable Southern tale? Is there

a unique, recognizable quality to Southern novels and novelists?