Days of Purgatory is an impressive debut novel from author Ken R. Abell that examines the human condition in all its darkness, light, and shades of grey. Couched in the years surrounding the American Civil War, Abell weaves a narrative in crisp, poetic prose with themes of faith, fate, duty, honor, love, and regret. From the opening sentence, we are pulled into the story of Deke Coburn: a man whose idealism is forced to face the realities of racism and war with a country on the brink of wrenching itself apart. The consequences of his decisions send him on a journey searching for answers and provide the reader a look at a long since lost American landscape peppered with characters so vivid that they live with you long after the final page has been turned. At times disturbingly violent and surprisingly tender, Abell proves to be adept at pacing and building tension with passages that push the plot along and never let it lag. A must read for anyone who craves quality storytelling full of intelligence and heart.