Books: Dark & Bloody Ground

BROTHER TO DRAGONS (232 pp.)—Robert Penn Warren—Random House ($3.50).

Just before the earthquake hit on the night of Dec. 15, 1811, there were some truly terrible doings out at the Lewis place in old Kentucky. Doc Lewis' son Lilburn had murdered his manservant George with an ax. Then, before the terrified eyes of his younger brother Isham and the other slaves, the body was thrown on the fire, the flesh burned off, the bones gathered and buried. What was young George's crime to fetch such dire punishment? He had broken a pitcher that had been prized by the boys' dead mother.

The murder...

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