That Bright Land


Set in the summer of 1866, a year after the Civil War has ended, That Bright Land is the story of Jacob Ballard, a former Union soldier and spy who has been sent south into the North Carolina mountains to find a serial killer who is carrying out his own private war in an isolated community. His journey also takes him home to the mountains where he was born. As he searches for the killer, he meets a war widow who helps him heal his own wounds and make peace with his past. Based on true events, That Bright Land paints a compelling picture of a violent and fragile nation in the wake of the Civil War.

Published by  Turner Publishing in June of 2016. 

Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review

“Set in the aftermath of the Civil War, That Bright Land is a thrilling and seamless fusion of fact and imagination, bringing to light a too-long neglected part of American history. This novel further confirms Terry Roberts’ place as one of Appalachia’s most important voices.”

Ron Rash, author of the New York Times bestseller, Serena

That Bright Land is a thriller set in the complex and deadly aftermath of the Civil War in the mountains of Western North Carolina. With authority and authentic and precise detail, Terry Roberts brings to life an obscure corner of our history where brother fought brother and neighbor was divided from neighbor. With humor as well as compelling drama, this mystery story unfolds in conflicts of loyalty, revenge, vivid poetry of place, and the bonds of healing love. No one who reads this novel will ever forget it.”

Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek and Chasing the North Star

“Terry Roberts has set his gripping detective story, That Bright Land, in the still bleeding aftermath of the Civil War. The place is backwater Appalachia and the depiction of ways and manners is not only accurate but integral to the force of the story. And what force it has! Reading, I felt at times that I was on a raft down the flooding French Broad river, exhilarated and more than a little scared, but wishing that the ride would continue as long as possible.”

Fred Chappell, author of I Am One of You Forever

“Out of the tangled conditions in the Southern mountains just after the Civil War, Terry Roberts has constructed a novel of considerable historic value, containing a charming love story.”

Elizabeth Spencer, author of The Light in the Piazza and Starting Over

“Without a single doubt, Terry Roberts captured the volatile and chaotic times after the Civil War here in Madison County. And with such an interesting, well written and shocking cliff-hanger of a story. I felt the characters had stepped right off the pages of my own family history. I really cannot express how much I enjoyed the book. Thank you, Terry Roberts, for writing such an accurate account of what our people experienced during those awful times. My hat is off for such a fine bunch of writing!”

Shelia Kay Adams,renowned ballad singer and author of My Old True Love