Natchez, Mississippi

Books (non-fiction and fiction) about Natchez, Mississippi.

Pilgrimage - A Tale of Old Natchez (non-fiction)

Based on the family history of John Walworth, the patriarch of the family who lived at The Burn for over 100 years. The book was written by Louise Wilbourn Collier who once lived at The Burn and learned of her family history through the stories of her two great-aunts.

Pilgrimage chronicles the family's struggle to survive the devastation of war and the cultural and social changes that followed. Pilgrimage relates not only the effect of the Civil War on the Walworth family but also on the historic town of Natchez.

Guests staying at The Burn learn about the Walworth family during the evening reception and tour.

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More about The Burn Bed and Breakfast.

The Barber of Natchez (non-fiction)

The diary, letters, and business records of William Johnson, an ex-slave, reveal his personal thoughts concerning the social, political, and economic conditions of the antebellum South.

In The Barber of Natchez, Edwin Adams Davis and William Ransom Hogan tell the remarkable story of William Johnson, a slave who rose to freedom, business success, and high community standing in the heart of the South--all before 1850. Emancipated as a young boy in 1820, Johnson became a barber's apprentice and later opened several profitable barber shops of his own. As his wealth grew, he expanded into real estate and acquired large tracts of nearby farm and timber land. The authors explore in detail Johnson's family, work, and social life, including his friendships with people of both races. They also examine his wanton murder and the resulting trial of the man accused of shooting him. More than the story of one individual, the narrative also offers compelling insight into the southern code of honor, the apprentice system, and the ownership of slaves by free blacks. Based on Johnson's two-thousand-page diary, letters, and business records, this extraordinary biography reveals the complicated life of a freedman in Mississippi and a new perspective on antebellum Natchez.

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More about the William Johnson House Museum.

Greg Iles' Mississippi Burning Trilogy

Natchez Burning (fiction)

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles comes the first novel in his Natchez Burning trilogy—which also includes The Bone Tree and Mississippi Blood—an epic trilogy that interweaves crimes, lies, and secrets past and present in a mesmerizing thriller featuring Southern lawyer and former prosecutor Penn Cage.

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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The Bone Tree (fiction)

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles comes the second novel in his Natchez Burning trilogy—which also includes Natchez Burning and Mississippi Blood—an epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice, featuring Southern lawyer Penn Cage.

Former prosecutor Penn Cage and his fiancée, reporter and publisher Caitlin Masters, have barely escaped with their lives after being attacked by wealthy businessman Brody Royal and his Double Eagles, a KKK sect with ties to some of Mississippi’s most powerful men. But the real danger has only begun as FBI Special Agent John Kaiser warns Penn that Brody wasn’t the true leader of the Double Eagles. The puppeteer who actually controls the terrorist group is a man far more fearsome: the chief of the state police’s Criminal Investigations Bureau, Forrest Knox. The only way Penn can save his father, Dr. Tom Cage—who is fleeing a murder charge as well as corrupt cops bent on killing him—is either to make a devil’s bargain with Knox or destroy him. While Penn desperately pursues both options, Caitlin uncovers the real story behind a series of unsolved civil rights murders that may hold the key to the Double Eagles’ downfall. The trail leads her deep into the past, into the black backwaters of the Mississippi River, to a secret killing ground used by slave owners and the Klan for over two hundred years . . . a place of terrifying evil known only as “the bone tree.”

The Bone Tree is an explosive, action-packed thriller full of twisting intrigue and deadly secrets, a tale that explores the conflicts and casualties that result when the darkest truths of American history come to light. It puts us inside the skin of a noble man who has always fought for justice—now finally pushed beyond his limits. Just how far will Penn Cage, the hero we thought we knew, go to protect those he loves?

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Mississippi Blood (fiction)

The endgame is at hand for Penn Cage, his family, and the enemies bent on destroying them in this revelatory volume in the epic trilogy set in modern-day Natchez, Mississippi—Greg Iles’s epic tale of love and honor, hatred and revenge that explores how the sins of the past continue to haunt the present.

Shattered by grief and dreaming of vengeance, Penn Cage sees his family and his world collapsing around him. The woman he loves is gone, his principles have been irrevocably compromised, and his father, once a paragon of the community that Penn leads as mayor, is about to be tried for the murder of a former lover. Most terrifying of all, Dr. Cage seems bent on self-destruction. Despite Penn's experience as a prosecutor in major murder trials, his father has frozen him out of the trial preparations--preferring to risk dying in prison to revealing the truth of the crime to his son.

During forty years practicing medicine, Tom Cage made himself the most respected and beloved physician in Natchez, Mississippi. But this revered Southern figure has secrets known only to himself and a handful of others. Among them, Tom has a second son, the product of an 1960s affair with his devoted African American nurse, Viola Turner. It is Viola who has been murdered, and her bitter son--Penn's half-brother--who sets in motion the murder case against his father. The resulting investigation exhumes dangerous ghosts from Mississippi's violent past. In some way that Penn cannot fathom, Viola Turner was a nexus point between his father and the Double Eagles, a savage splinter cell of the KKK. More troubling still, the long-buried secrets shared by Dr. Cage and the former Klansmen may hold the key to the most devastating assassinations of the 1960s. The surviving Double Eagles will stop at nothing to keep their past crimes buried, and with the help of some of the most influential men in the state, they seek to ensure that Dr. Cage either takes the fall for them, or takes his secrets to an early grave.

Unable to trust anyone around him--not even his own mother--Penn joins forces with Serenity Butler, a famous young black author who has come to Natchez to write about his father's case. Together, Penn and Serenity battle to crack the Double Eagles and discover the secret history of the Cage family and the South itself, a desperate move that risks the only thing they have left to gamble: their lives.

Mississippi Blood is the enthralling conclusion to a breathtaking trilogy seven years in the making--one that has kept readers on the edge of their seats. With piercing insight, narrative prowess, and a masterful ability to blend history and imagination, Greg Iles illuminates the brutal history of the American South in a highly atmospheric and suspenseful novel that delivers the shocking resolution his fans have eagerly awaited.

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