The fifth novel in the 6-book ”Patriots” series continues the story of brothers Daniel and Quincy Reed and their growing circle of friends and fellowThe fifth novel in the 6-book ”Patriots” series continues the story of brothers Daniel and Quincy Reed and their growing circle of friends and fellow patriots in the young struggle for independence during the Revolutionary War. This book covers the time frame from Autumn 1775 through the Spring of 1776. It features the arduous trek of bringing the cannons from the Ticonderoga all the way to Boston during extreme winter conditions in order to commence the bombardment of Boston which ultimately drives the British out of the city. In addition to several historical figures from previous books, this time we are also treated to characters such as Henry Knox and John Paul Jones.
As always, James Reasoner, writing under the pen name of Adam Rutledge, does a fine job of telling the adventurous tales of his characters and allowing readers to experience a historical setting in all its vibrant colors. Only one more book in the series but I’m sure it will be a rewarding read. ...more
The second book in the “Camel Club” series combines a lot of subjects that are near and dear to my heart: antiquarian and rare book collecting, shortThe second book in the “Camel Club” series combines a lot of subjects that are near and dear to my heart: antiquarian and rare book collecting, short and long cons, and the Library of Congress (yes I am a card-carrying member and certified as a “reader”) and its Rare Books reading room. The story brings back the four main members of the Camel Club from book one The Camel Club, but FBI agent Alex Ford gets a breather this time around. Instead we are treated to the interesting character of Annabelle Conroy, a con artist extraordinaire who pulls off an amazing revenge con on an Atlantic City casino king only to be drawn into the orbit of Oliver Stone and the rest of the Camel Club as they investigate the somehow connected deaths of the Speaker of the House and the Director of the Library of Congress’s Rare Books room.
I think I enjoyed this one just a little bit more than the first, probably because of the book-related and con-related plots. I do think it would be best if readers begin the series with book one, rather than plunge directly into this novel because there is not much time devoted to describing the various quirks of the main characters. I would be afraid that without the background development from book one, readers might think these Camel Club guys are just plain weird versus understanding how their peculiar personalities and characteristics actually lead to progress in resolving the plot.
I chose this book to read during a business trip because I always feel confident that Baldacci can hold my attention throughout the ordeal of crowded airports and cramped plane seats as I make my way across the country. He has an easy-to-read style which not only holds my attention but also makes it easy to pick up my place in the narrative despite multiple interruptions. This book did the trick…I only wish I had brought along book number three for the trip home....more
This book kicks off the “Uplift Saga” and I wanted to read it even though I had heard that it isn’t David Brin’s best stuff. Turns out it’s his firstThis book kicks off the “Uplift Saga” and I wanted to read it even though I had heard that it isn’t David Brin’s best stuff. Turns out it’s his first novel and based on the critical acclaim for the next two books in the series (Startide Rising and The Uplift War), I can only assume that his storytelling vastly improved. As for this one, while there is a story here that is of interest, and an epic concept, I think Mr. Brin lost sight of that story in order to utilize his own background in astrophysics and electrical engineering. This is, indeed, a “hard science” science fiction novel but there was just too much of that here for me to feel fully engaged. It’s a story about taking a space vehicle into the sun, after all, so there has to be a lot of science. But it came at the expense of the characters (especially the aliens which could have been really cool) and the story itself.
I will certainly continue on, however, as book number 2 won the Hugo, The Nebula, and the Locus for best science fiction novel. That will either be amazing…or way over my head....more
Jean Labarge, an orphan born in the swamps of the Susquehanna and a regular dabbler in adventures of all sorts, has long dreamed of the West, and espeJean Labarge, an orphan born in the swamps of the Susquehanna and a regular dabbler in adventures of all sorts, has long dreamed of the West, and especially the promise of the Alaskan wilderness. As his story unfolds, we get to watch him live out his dream, growing into a rugged fur trapper, merchant sea captain, and eventually becoming a pivotal force in the US’s purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. Along the way, he meets and falls in love with none other than the beautiful (but already married) niece of the Czar, himself. Talk about adventure!
I feel fortunate to have visited the unique and interesting town of Sitka, Alaska, and therefore looked forward to reading this novel with great anticipation. It’s a fairly early Louis L’Amour novel, written in 1957 and reflects his earlier writing style. It’s much more of a historical novel than the more typical western that we often think of when L’Amour’s name is mentioned. While most of the plot takes place in Alaska or in the surrounding seas, there are also lengthy sections in the American south as well as Siberia, and all the way to St. Petersburg.
The book itself is about fifty percent longer than the average L’Amour novel and while there were, indeed, more “events” occurring, it seemed the overall novel dragged a bit in places. That was easy to overlook though, given the inspiring nature of the “disadvantaged orphan makes good” plot. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend starting your L’Amour reading roster with this novel but at the same time, don’t leave it off the list all together. Sometimes a longer L’Amour novel like this one allows for more in depth characterization. ...more
This second book of the “Truth” quartet was not quite as good as the first. The first 3/4ths of it was really drawn out as Alissa learns more about hoThis second book of the “Truth” quartet was not quite as good as the first. The first 3/4ths of it was really drawn out as Alissa learns more about how her magical abilities work. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by Brandon Sanderson’s magic systems but this one seems to be pretty straightforward…just slow to learn and with a lot of “you’re not ready for that yet” talk from her mentor. Equally drawn out is Alissa’s inevitable growing relationship with Strell who is actually my favorite character in the series thus far, even though his role seems to be merely a foil to Alissa. The primary antagonist over the first two books, Bailic, always seemed rather benign and here again, he still comes off as a poor excuse for a bad guy.
The final 1/4th of the book was pretty awesome though as a key event finally (finally!) takes place. It was well handled and made me care once again for the larger plot still to come in the final two books. I also liked the addition of the character of Lodesh who promises to shake things up in the future even though I can already tell the old cliché is coming: a love triangle that will also fulfill a prophecy. I will soon see if I am correct. ...more
The tag line on this novel, “A witty, engrossing homage to noir from National Book Award finalist Howard Norman” was enough to both get me to give itThe tag line on this novel, “A witty, engrossing homage to noir from National Book Award finalist Howard Norman” was enough to both get me to give it a try while simultaneously raising alarm bells in my mind that I would hate it. The word “noir” always peeks my interest and conjures up images of James Ellroy, James M. Cain, femme fatales, and fedoras. So I was excited to open this up to the first page and begin reading. But the phrase “National Book Award finalist” is enough, normally, for me to steer clear and prevent myself from being exposed to the high-brow prose that my literati friends try to foist upon me. It’s almost as bad as being a winner of the Man Booker Prize for fiction.
Regardless, plunge into the novel I did. It was immediately obvious that I would really like the book, given the nature of its sheer readability. There were no attempts by the author (and no need) to impress the reader with his extensive vocabulary, paint any absurd literary word pictures or provide paragraph after paragraph of over-the-top exposition. Instead, the book transcends such artificial definitions of “literature” and instead captures the story itself. What a relief!
The plot takes place in Nova Scotia during the late 1970s and is told from the first-person perspective of Jacob Rigolet who, at the beginning of the novel, works as an assistant to a wealthy art collector who specializes in collecting photographs. When Jacob’s mother casually enters one of the art auctions and inexplicably throws black ink on one particular photograph “Death on a Leipzig Balcony” by Robert Capa at the very end of WWII, (for the uninitiated, Robert Capa is arguably the greatest combat and adventure photographer in history), the mystery aspect of the novel begins. Why would she do such a thing? Jacob’s fiancé, Martha, a smart and competent police detective, gets assigned to the case and before long a complex history of Jacob’s family emerges, including a dangerous cold case and revelations of the identity of his real father.
To employ an over-used phrase, reading this novel proved to be like peeling back the proverbial onion. There are so many layers to the plot, including flashback scenes, letters from the past, and a variety of interesting characters. But the story is not in the least confusing and I never got that feeling of “what’s really going on here?” like I do with a lot of authors who are “finalists for the National Book Award.” There is a fair amount of witty humor as well as emotional and even poignant moments. The noir aspects run throughout the novel as the plot unfolds but I loved the way Jacob and Martha regularly listened to a 1940’s era radio drama called “Detective Levy Detects” which features Detective Frederick Levy and the love of his life and partner in sleuthing, Leah Diamond. In many ways, the radio drama reflected what was happening in Jacob’s and Martha’s life, especially at the end when their own lives take on even more “noirness” than the radio program.
Overall, I was wonderfully impressed by this novel and enjoyed it all the way through. It’s one of those books that you just want to keep on reading, throwing aside such arbitrary intrusions as eating and sleeping and going to work.
The second book of the “The Diaries of the Family Dracul” trilogy continues the tale of Vlad Dracul and his descendants that began in book one, CovenaThe second book of the “The Diaries of the Family Dracul” trilogy continues the tale of Vlad Dracul and his descendants that began in book one, Covenant with the Vampire. The first couple of chapters take place in the immediate aftermath of that first book (1845) but then the plot takes a 26 year jump forward in time to 1871 where the rest of the novel takes place. Most of the same characters return although Vlad’s role this time around is much reduced from book one. I was happy to see the major addition of Van Helsing, and in a much more fleshed out way than he usually appears in Dracula tales. Indeed, this novel is largely about Abraham Van Helsing, and his education and beginning experience as a vampire hunter. There is also a cameo appearance by Elizabeth Bathory, an alleged serial killer and Countess from the Báthory family of nobility in the Kingdom of Hungary.
This entire trilogy is a prequel to the classic story of Dracula by Bram Stoker. It’s fascinating in scope and ideas and certainly well-written. But I felt this second novel was a bit too drawn out with a couple of characters belaboring their predicaments for too long. That’s partly the nature of the writing style, what I tend to refer to as classical flowery and even Victorian in nature. I enjoyed the Van Helsing plot line the most but the rest seemed to be mostly marking time until book three. I do appreciate the author’s research into all things Dracula and her choice to depict Vlad and other vampires with hard-core evil vampiric power. Nothing cartoony or sparkly about these undead creatures!
I am hopeful book 3 turns out to be a little more like book 1, filled with unpredictable plot lines, intriguing characters and an emotional climax. ...more
Dr. Thaddeus C. Harker, along with his two assistants, the lovely Brenda Sloan and the muscular slow-witted Hercules Jones, travel the country in theDr. Thaddeus C. Harker, along with his two assistants, the lovely Brenda Sloan and the muscular slow-witted Hercules Jones, travel the country in the guise of a travelling medicine show, selling their cure-all, “Chickasha Remedies”. But it seems that at every stop, they encounter crime and thus Doc Harker is obliged to utilize his considerable sleuthing skills, his forthright and charming personality, and his trailer that doubles as a criminology laboratory to solve the crimes. His plans to thwart the criminals are quite complex and make good use of Brenda, (often as bait), and Herc as the muscle.
This book contains all three of the Doc Harker novellas ever published by the author Edwin Truett Long, a prolific pulp writer in the 1930s and 1940s, under a wide variety of pseudonyms. The stories are as follows:
“Crime Nest”, originally appearing in the June 1940 issue of “Dime Detective Novels” (Volume 1, Number 1)
“Woe to the Vanquished”, originally appearing in the June 1940 issue of “Red Star Detective” (Volume 1, Number 2)
“South of the Border”, originally appearing in the June 1940 issue of “Red Star Detective” (Volume 1, Number 3)
All are part of the Munsey-owned pulp mags (probably best known for “Argosy”) and in fact Doc Harker was used as the primary drawing card for the brand new launch of “Dime Detective Novels” pulp magazine in 1940 (not to be confused with the very popular “Dime Detective Magazine”).
The novellas themselves are filled with adventurous action, dangerous situations, and a variety of pulpy characters. I found the plots to be a little on the convoluted side and felt like I wasn’t always privy to the clues that Doc Harker had available to him. The stories probably are not as polished as what we might read today but given the sheer number of stories that this author turned out that is hardly surprising. But in the end, they are good, hearty stories and good for an evening’s entertainment. ...more
Book 4 of the “Patriots” series by Adam Rutledge (pseudonym for James Reasoner) takes place during autumn of 1775, continuing the various plot lines fBook 4 of the “Patriots” series by Adam Rutledge (pseudonym for James Reasoner) takes place during autumn of 1775, continuing the various plot lines from the previous books. This time, the larger events of the Revolutionary War take a back seat to the action of the individual characters with only a few mentions of the burgeoning American spy ring and the fact that the British are nearing a decision to withdraw from Boston and allow the Patriots to re-claim it entirely.
Indeed the action gets started immediately with Daniel Reed being attacked and left for dead while his girlfriend and fellow spy Roxanne is captured and taken into Boston. Meanwhile Daniel’s brother Quincy continues his westward trek with frontiersman Murdoch into Pennsylvania, facing the perilous threats of Indian attacks, a wayward and violent preacher, and the all-to-real threat of young romance. The biggest plot line though deals with the rising criminal element that always surrounds wartime activities, this time taking the form of the “Liberty Legion”, a group of false patriots who are actively exhorting the prominent Tories of Boston. I was glad to see the character of Elliot Markham finally get his day in the sun and take the fight to this new enemy. Heretofore he has been sort of stuck in the role of strong British supporter rather than the rebel patriot he truly is.
Two more books to go in this series and I look forward to getting to them. No doubt historical events will once again come to the forefront as the end of this novel sees Daniel finally get his orders related to Washington’s spy ring. ...more
Jerri is a young and dutiful wife to Greg Hollister but is more or less sleep walking through life as arm candy to her Country Club husband and also sJerri is a young and dutiful wife to Greg Hollister but is more or less sleep walking through life as arm candy to her Country Club husband and also strives to be the ideal friend, companion, and hostess to the various women at the club. But at home, their marriage isn’t so perfect and when Greg takes a business trip to Chicago, Jerri is left to her own devices. With the subtle urging of a college psychology study, she determines the need to become more independent and assertive in her life choices, especially when it comes to a physical relationship.
Jerri, for lack of a better term swiftly turns into a sort of femme fatale and even briefly gets involved in a crime. But ultimately this is a romance plot with both Jerri and Greg learning some important life lessons about what is truly important in a relationship. The question is whether or not they will learn these lessons in time.
This novel was first published back in 1954 and was fairly typical of this genre for that era. This was the very end of the pulp era which really started its decline during the WW2 years but by this time, the paperbacks were really taking over. Avon was one of the big publishers to recognize this change and often marketed their paperbacks using provocative cover art and teasers. I could not dig up any information on the author Bart Frame, even after checking Hawk's Authors' Pseudonyms II and the internet in general but I do see a couple of other books by him listed on Goodreads....more
I was very pleased to read this final entry in the 7-book series, The Clifton Chronicles and, happily, it fulfilled my expectations. There were some pI was very pleased to read this final entry in the 7-book series, The Clifton Chronicles and, happily, it fulfilled my expectations. There were some points during the novel that earned only 4 stars but the final few chapters were absolutely stellar and put the icing on the cake for the entire series. A very emotional ending (for it could be no other way given the nature of the series) but extremely satisfying in all regards. I can’t say much more without spoilage…so I won’t....more
It was with great reverence and a bit of trepidation that I returned to my reading of the Camulod Chronicles. The first 6 novels of this amazing serieIt was with great reverence and a bit of trepidation that I returned to my reading of the Camulod Chronicles. The first 6 novels of this amazing series form a complete series by themselves and I was a little worried that even though I had greatly enjoyed those novels, this next one might be more of a “filler” novel. After all, it tells the story of Uther Pendragon, a life that was already mostly covered during the events of book 3, The Eagles' Brood, where he is shown growing up with his cousin Merlyn. The shear length of the book also added to my concern, weighing in at over 900 paperback pages. So…at the risk of suffering through a lengthy filler novel, I plunged in anyway, tossing my fears aside for the simple reason that I trust this author, Jack Whyte, to provide me with yet another amazing novel, much as he had with the first 6 books.
And he did just that. Most of the first half of the book was, indeed, a repeat of the events of The Eagles' Brood but while that book was told from the first person perspective of Merlyn Britannicus as he looked back on long-ago events, this book was from Uther’s third person perspective as those events unfolded. It’s quite a different viewpoint because the two characters are so different from another.
The second half of the book covered Uther’s life after leaving Camulod (Camelot) as he becomes King of Cambria and leads his alliance in an aggressive defense against Lot of Cornwall. These events were not covered in previous books in the series other than a passive mention of Uther being off doing his thing in the West. So I was happy to fill in these holes. We do know the end result of Uther’s campaigns, of course, and so the second half of the book does read a little like a tragedy. But to read of Uther’s actions, his thoughts and growth as a character, his relationship with Ygraine, their child Arthur, the difficulty with dealing with various allies as Uther tries to counter the devious Lot…all of that was truly awesome.
Historical novels that center on warfare can often get bogged down in endless battles but the battles that take place in the final 200 pages of this book were absolutely intriguing. To watch Uther’s brilliance at overcoming difficult odds, designing a new brand of warfare when desperately needed, and demonstrate ideal leadership qualities was extremely fulfilling. The battles themselves are like a combination of a strategic chess match and well-choreographed action sequences filled with all the bloody horror one would expect from up close and personal sword play, flails impacting helmets, pounding horse hooves, etc. I never once felt bogged down or wished for the plot to speed up even though this is a very long novel. But don’t get the impression this is strictly a war novel. That’s really only a small part of Uther’s life and of this novel.
Once again, a Jack Whyte novel gets my highest recommendation. But definitely start at the beginning of the series (The Skystone) in order to be privy to the numerous interactions and history leading up to the rise of Arthur himself. Only two more books to go in the larger series and I am already dreading the moment when I will have turned the last page. ...more
Polly Newton has a straightforward personal career goal: become a starship pilot, preferably as an intergalactic pilot and take advantage of the new MPolly Newton has a straightforward personal career goal: become a starship pilot, preferably as an intergalactic pilot and take advantage of the new M Class drives being developed. However, her immediate plans are interrupted when her mother, the Mars Colony One director, announces that Polly and her twin brother Charles have been enrolled at the prestigious Earth-based Galileo Academy. Polly, having been born and raised on Mars as the third generation, post-colonization, has never stepped foot off-planet so moving to Earth for three years is a dreadful prospect, even if it might help her chances of getting into a pilot training program.
This stand-alone novel reminds me a lot of the Robert Heinlein juveniles. That’s a good thing because I really enjoyed reading those books. It’s told from Polly’s first person POV as she struggles to adapt to her new environment on Earth. I’ve read a lot of science fiction about people living on Earth who have to adjust to life in space, other planets, asteroid mining colonies, etc. but this is the first time I’ve seen that concept spun on its head. (With the exception, I suppose, of Heinlein's own Stranger in a Strange Land). Not only must Polly struggle with things we take for granted, such as the relatively high gravity of Earth, the concept of “outdoors”, the vastness of the oceans, etc. but she must also cope with the prejudices of fellow students and teachers who regard Polly and Charles as outsiders and lesser people.
Polly herself is an interesting character. As a typical older teen, she has the usual sarcastic observations, a bit whiny, self-esteem challenges and so forth but she is also courageous, smart, funny, and it’s a joy to watch her learn how to adapt. Much of the novel is about how she makes this adjustment and builds a coterie of friends but there is also a mystery here… something is going at Galileo Academy, something that seems to be moving beyond the expected rigorous academic training and testing and seems to be getting more and more dangerous.
Billed as a stand-alone novel, the story is complete in this one volume but it practically screams for a sequel or three. I am hopeful Ms. Vaughn will consider writing more of Polly’s and Charles’ adventures....more
The novel opens in the year 1756 with the heroine of the story, Tully Truegood, locked up in Newgate prison, awaiting trial for murder. I don’t use thThe novel opens in the year 1756 with the heroine of the story, Tully Truegood, locked up in Newgate prison, awaiting trial for murder. I don’t use that word “heroine” lightly but even though Tully herself denies it, I disagree and think the term is appropriate. The story is told in the form of a first person written account of what led her to be incarcerated at Newgate, but just whose murder she is accused of remains a mystery for most of the novel.
To be honest, I didn’t expect to like this novel as much as I did. Published by Mira, a division of Harlequin, I suspect I am not exactly the targeted market for such a novel. However, Tully herself is such an engaging character that I could not help but to root for her to overcome all that life has thrown at her: a mother who died in childbirth, a father who was a drunken fool and who treated her as a servant and used her to erase his gambling debts, a bizarre marriage at the age of 12…the list goes on. Much of the book deals with Tully’s education as a courtesan in her step-mother’s Fairy House, and as such details her own sexual awakening. Falling in love is not the goal of a courtesan but when it happens to Tully, life changes forever after.
While mostly a romantic/erotic suspense novel, there are also elements of fantasy sprinkled throughout. Tully has “powers” such as the ability to see ghosts occasionally and allow others to see and hear them as well. A few other abilities manifest themselves from time to time but there is never an explanation of where such magic comes from or of any consequences from using it. As a fantasy aficionado, this sort of magic is not at all what I seek out in a fantasy novel but here it seems just fine. The powers do play an important role in the final part of the plot but for the most part, seemed somewhat unimportant to the story.
Overall, this was quite an enjoyable novel to read. Those who avoid “spicy” novels will likely want to steer clear of this one as well due to the large number of sex scenes although I will say they are handled with finesse and flowery/Victorian language. It’s certainly not porn. In the end it is a sweet romance story with a hugely satisfying ending. I just wish the magic system was more completely developed and Tully’s use of it more fully explored. The ending doesn’t seem to suggest a sequel but perhaps more books in this “universe” could explore that aspect to a greater degree....more
Ahhh…it’s a wonderful feeling to get back to Repairman Jack, one of my all-time favorite series, and one of my favorite characters. I’d finished the oAhhh…it’s a wonderful feeling to get back to Repairman Jack, one of my all-time favorite series, and one of my favorite characters. I’d finished the original RJ series over a year ago as well as the related series, “The Adversary Cycle” (some 20 books in all) and have been looking forward to diving into this prequel trilogy ever since then.
This first book of the trilogy is really a fairly straight-forward thriller novel, albeit with quite a complex array of sub-plots. It basically serves as a sort of origin story for Jack. We get to see how he gets his start as a fixer, how he learns to live off the grid, the budding relationship with friend and mentor Abe, as well as quite a few opportunities to see how he acquires his various skills (hand-to-hand fighting, lock picking, pick pocketing, shooting, etc.) that will come in so handy in the later series. This novel does set up the second and third books and while a variety of antagonists are introduced, their plot lines are not all concluded in this first book.
While some readers may want to start here so as to read the entire RJ series in chronological order (not counting the “Secret Histories” YA trilogy that takes place even earlier), I am happy to be coming to it at the end. Knowing Jack’s future and having a good handle on the entire “Secret History of the World” makes it fun when Easter Eggs happen in this prequel trilogy. There’s just something about elderly women and dogs that tends to affect Jack’s life so when I see that here, I understand the nature of destiny and what is waiting in Jack’s future. ...more
Continuing with my quest to sample the great mystery and detective writers of yesteryear, I now turn my attention to Ngaio Marsh, often mentioned as oContinuing with my quest to sample the great mystery and detective writers of yesteryear, I now turn my attention to Ngaio Marsh, often mentioned as one of the “Queens of Crime” alongside the likes of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. She is known mostly for her detective series which contains 32 novels featuring Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn (later Chief Superintendent) of the Criminal Investigation Department, Metropolitan Police, London. However, she is also well recognized for her extensive activities as a theater director and it is this background upon which this particular novel is built.
“Enter a Murderer” is the second novel in the Inspector Alleyn series and it boasts an absolutely classic whodunit plot. Alleyn is given a complimentary ticket to see a play and he, along with the rest of the audience witnesses a murder when a prop gun is discharged with real bullets instead of blanks. My first thought: hasn’t this plot been done before? But then I realized this novel was written in 1935 so perhaps all others actually stemmed from this one. As inspector Alleyn methodically investigates the crime, I was happy to see some surprises thrown in here and there, many false leads and ultimately, a final denouement wherein Alleyn reveals the culprit. As often seems to be the case with these sorts of mystery novels, virtually every person involved had a reason to commit the crime.
This was quite a complex plot…perhaps too complex. I always prefer a mystery plot where I have a possibility of figuring out the identity of the murderer on my own but to do so this time would have required me to keep extensive notes myself and perhaps build a replica of the theater/stage so as to fully understand where each suspect was at what time. But nevertheless, it was fun to watch Alleyn and the others do the legwork for me and simply be part of the large group to be surprised when the murderer is revealed.
I plan to read two more from this series this year, one from the middle and one from near the end. That should satisfy my need to adequately sample this author’s work. However, given my enjoyment of this one, I may well read many more than that....more
The third book in the “Patriots” series by James Reasoner, writing under the name Adam Rutledge, picks up immediately after the events of book 2, RebeThe third book in the “Patriots” series by James Reasoner, writing under the name Adam Rutledge, picks up immediately after the events of book 2, Rebel Guns. Brothers Daniel and Quincy Reed split up in order to carry out separate missions. Quincy and frontiersman Murdoch Buchanan escort a group of refugees towards the Ohio River Valley and find themselves caught up in the efforts of the British to recruit the Mohawk Indian tribe to their cause. Meanwhile, Daniel makes his way to the Charleston area and participates in the battle of Breeds Hill and Bunker Hill. And finally, we get to see the beginnings of George Washington’s spy network as the turncoat within the Committee of Safety is uncovered.
These books continue to provide an adventurous take on the American Revolutionary War by treating us to engaging characters caught up in the struggle. At times they are a bit prescriptive but that’s OK because I’m not always looking for a deeply gritty realistic portrayal of warfare. I do appreciate that they get the history correct. As an example, the action and importance of the battle at Breed’s Hill is fully described vs. the common misperception of the importance of the Bunker Hill battle. I also like how the war isn’t reduced to the “good” guys vs the “bad” guys but instead notes the plight of the typical British soldier who was often simply plucked from duty in England to fight against a rebellion for which they had no opinion or even understanding.
At the half-way point in the series now and a couple of newly introduced dastardly characters in this volume will no doubt provide for more daring adventure in the next. Looking forward to seeing what happens next....more