Reviews and Awards

Selected Praise for Scarred: A Civil War Novel of Redemption

“This lean Civil War sequel packs in more history and raw emotion than a 600-page epic…Smith writes wonderfully and realistically, and one can hear the pacing and menace…Smith knows the Civil War in his bones…” KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Scarred is Michael Kenneth Smith’s emotional, fast-paced sequel to his debut Civil War novel Home Again…In his description of the Richmond prisons and Andersonville, the author demonstrates that he is quite knowledgeable about Civil War prison camps. History buffs and scholars alike will appreciate Smith’s dedication to historical accuracy…Readers will especially enjoy Smith’s inclusion of well-known officers into the narrative, as this heightens the reading experience and helps anchor the story firmly into Civil War history…Smith’s almost cinematic novel could easily be the true story of a Civil War prisoner of war. Historians have recently demonstrated that both Union and Confederate veterans, especially ex-prisoners, struggled to reintegrate into civilian society after the war; while not all were as hesitant as Zach, many did not share their stories until the turn of the century. As a result, the story of Zach’s quest for redemption and closure will interest and surely entertain all those fascinated by the Civil War, from professional historians to history buffs…Overall, Smith provides an intense reading experience that leaves the reader wanting more.” —THE CIVIL WAR MONITOR

“Although this book takes place during the Civil War, it isn’t a story about the war. Instead it looks at the effects of war and one man’s conflict among friendship, duty to country, and personal actions. Scarred would be a good match for Civil War buffs and historical fiction fans as well as anyone interested in a good story.”—BETH FISH READS

“Scarred by Michael Kenneth Smith is an outstanding read…powerful writing from an experienced hand.” —SAN FRANCISCO REVIEW OF BOOKS

“Michael Kenneth Smith’s absorbing historical novel explores the violence and moral dilemmas endured by civilians, prisoners, and soldiers alike during the bloody Civil War…Harkin is a vibrant protagonist who grows increasingly sympathetic throughout. Meanwhile, Scarred’s pace is nearly cinematic…This, however, isn’t a war novel; it’s the story of Harkin’s quest for redemption and closure. Historical fiction and Civil War buffs will wish Scarred were closer to the epic length of Gone with the Wind, simply because the subject never grows tiresome…an engrossing, moving read.” —BLUEINK REVIEW

Scarred is an eloquent tale told through vividly fleshed-out characters…the setting is detailed and imaginative…the engaging writing style, along with the novel’s strong characterizations and attention to detail, help maintain a driving pace. Scarred is enjoyable historical fiction with a romantic twist. —FOREWORD REVIEWS (5 Stars)

Scarred is not your typical Civil War novel by any stretch of the imagination….This is not a long novel but it’s a rich one….[Smith’s] story is strong, compelling and one to read more than once.”—BROKEN TEE PEE

“I give it 5 stars…well done…” —INJOYFUL BOOK REVIEWS

Scarred“…is well written, informative and sometimes gut-wrenching….the story will keep readers engaged up to the very last pages. Smith has a great skill in drawing his readers into each character and scenario. The difference in Smith’s book in comparison to others I have read is that it provides just enough facts about the Civil War so as not to bog down the reader. Five Stars!”—READERVIEWS 

“This action-packed American civil war drama is a must read for fans of historical fiction. Scars are torn open when Zach Harkin, former sharpshooter for the Union Army, agrees to an interview with New York World Newspaper reporter, Chris Martin, more than forty years after the war’s end. This poignant story brings a personal and human aspect to an atrocity of American history that goes well beyond the typical history lesson and delves into the personal cost of war. Both men, though separated by over a generation and from vastly different life experiences, share a common conviction to do what they feel is right, no matter what the consequences. I found the story engaging, with well crafted descriptions that immediately yanked me into the story and held my attention.”—Mark Bierman, author of Vanished

“…a haunting love story…keeps the reader turning pages, rooting for this man who finds himself trapped between the North and South and only wanting peace.” —Susannah Carlson, author of Picnic Point

“This is a novel not just about the Civil War – or even war itself – but rather an examination of the layered scars of trauma laid down by months and years spent in the battlefield. Ultimately it is a story about the human heart and how love and friendship heals and maybe even redeems.” —Rafael Lima, Professor, University of Miami, School of Communication

“Smith is a master of description and dialogue. . . . In a long weekend, one could read Scarred all the way through and feel rewarded by the familiarity of characters, enhanced knowledge of the Civil War and excellent writing.” —Jill Zima Borski, Board chair, Florida Outdoor Writers Association, and author of Know That I Have Lived, a memoir in essays


Selected Praise for Home Again: A Civil War Novel

One of Indie Reader’s Best Books, 2014

IndieFAB Honorable Mention Award Winner—War and Military, 2014

“In the end, the brilliance of Home Again lies less in its fictional machinations, and more in the author’s impressive depth of historical research and knowledge. Home Again is a novel for military and Civil War enthusiast who already know the historical backstory, love to revel in it, and will thrill to the action, both real and imagined.”—INKSPOTS REVIEWS

“A fantastic debut.”—SELF-PUBLISHING REVIEW

“With wonderful attention to historical detail, Michael Smith tells the bracing story of two young men caught in the vortex of bloody civil war.”—Michael T. Bernath, Ph.D. Charlton W. Tebeau Associate Professor in American History at the University of Miami and author of Confederate Minds: The Struggle for Intellectual Independence in the Civil War South


Scarred: A Civil War Novel of Redemption has received several awards including:

Reviewers Choice Honorable Mention/Historical Fiction
RV-Awards-2016SmithMichaelKenneth copy
eLit Silver Book Award/Historical Fiction
eLit_silver_outline_final copy
NIEA (National Indie Excellence Awards)/Military Fiction
da328f_f76ae4a077a242b09d8edcfd8b5af27d~mv2


Home Again: A Civil War Novel received IndieFab Honorable Mention from Foreword’s Book of the Year Awards

indiefab-honorable-imprint