By Derek Robinson
Rock Springs, Kentucky. A backwater miles from civilisation, but so far upstream that the riverboats can go no further, and with plenty of farmland there for the taking. Among the pioneers who choose to build their homes here are the Hudds and the Killicks, two families destined to spend the next century despising one another. Kentucky Blues is a powerful, unsentimental depiction of life through several generations, widely considered to be Robinson's most ambitious work. Told with his trademark dark humour, it is an epic tale of one small community's journey from its foundation in the 1820s, through the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, to the dawn of the modern age.