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The Patriot Witch

(Traitor to the Crown #1)

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  401 ratings  ·  73 reviews
The year is 1775. On the surface, Proctor Brown appears to be an ordinary young man working the family farm in New England. He is a minuteman, a member of the local militia, determined to defend the rights of the colonies. Yet Proctor is so much more. Magic is in his blood, a dark secret passed down from generation to generation. But Proctor’s mother has taught him to hide ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 341 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Del Rey (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.32  · 
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 ·  401 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Sherwood Smith
May 05, 2009 added it
Shelves: fantasy
Though I got thrown off track during the opening because Finlay had an unmarried girl entering a coffee house, and in the company of her father (which at least in England was just about always a pimp bringing in a "coffee girl" for a customer), and this girl was wearing a cap (which no eighteen year old girl would be caught dead in unless she were already married) outside (no bonnet?)--making me think that he had created an alternate world, the way Madeleine Robins did with her Sarah Tolerance b ...more
Jacob Proffitt
The more I hear about Proctor's infatuation with Emily, the less I can take the stupid piling up in this book. It'd be one thing if I didn't suspect that he's going to spend the remainder of this book fixated on her. It's just so clumsy, really. I mean, when a girl repudiates both what you are (a witch) and what you do (fighting for the minutemen) and is horrified by both, that relationship is completely over unless you plan on repudiating them (and probably not even then). She isn't going to be ...more
Tamora Pierce
Jun 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Proctor Brown is a Minuteman, summoned to battle in Lexington. He's been courting the beautiful daughter of a Tory neighbor who is not happy that he's thrown his lot in with the rebel cause. And he has magic, as the son of a line of witches that goes back to the infamous Salem trials. It's his magic that makes him realize Major Pitcairn, in command of the British regulars, has a charm that makes him invulnerable to injury. His interference in trying to take Pitcairn's charm makes a British witch ...more
May 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I couldn't get into this series. It was well written but I just couldn't make myself care about the characters.
Mar 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Review Patriot Witch

On the brinks of Revolution, American militia men—troupes of armed farmers and other non-military men—stand to guard the “Patriot Cause” against the British redcoats. Unknown to the vast majority of fighting men on both sides is the presence of magical intervention—or that those among them are charmed or gifted with supernatural abilities.

Twenty-year old Proctor Brown, a farmer and militiaman, spots a charm worn by Major Pitcairn, a British “lobster”. Though Proctor is suppo
Jim Gera
Apr 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly Spectacular

After reading the synopsis on the back cover I was expecting the Patriot Witch to be a cheesy and laborious read. To my delight it was the complete opposite. I was instantly drawn into Proctor Brown’s character and the imagery created by Finlay’s writing. Finlay has done a fantastic job of combining the history of the American Revolution, the lore or Salem Witchcraft and the Puritan society into a fast moving, well development and twisting thriller.

Proctor Brown is a hi
Apr 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
It's April, 1775, the time of year when a young man's mind turns to romance, cattle, and his poor fashion options. Young Proctor Brown has many things on his mind, not the least of which is his attempted courtship of loyalist Emily Rucke. Her father is none too pleased by the pairing and Proctor means to change his mind. Matters are complicated by the fact that Proctor is a farmer, a militiaman, and a witch.

It's no easy thing being a witch in 1775 New England. It's a thing Proctor's mother has t
Nicholas Whyte
"[return][return]This is hot off the presses, having been published only last week. Our hero, Proctor Ward, is a young Bostonian caught up in the start of the War of Independence. He discovers that he has magical powers, inherited from his Salem ancestors, and gets mixed up in faction and counterfaction of the secret network of witches, supported by Quakers and other free thinkers. (The British have magic too, led by the historical John Pitcairn, whose s ...more
Jun 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
The Patriot Witch, first installment of C.C. Finlay's Traitor to the Crown series, sets up the story of young Proctor Brown, who's inherited the ability to scry from his mother. His only wish is to marry his sweetheart and prove himself to her father by making a fortune on his farm... except that the stirrings of rebellion are beginning in the countryside, and Proctor's sympathies are with the local militia with whom he's enlisted. When he encounters a British officer carrying a powerful protect ...more
Jun 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Having heard nothing about this book, I picked it up on a whim when searching for light reading for a recent vacation. I had just spent a year in another teacher's American History class, helping my ESL students, and I was curious how Finlay would portray the American Revolution with magic.

I was pleasantly surprised. Reminiscent of Naomi Novik's novels, the reader follows the main character Proctor Brown through some famous moments in history. The magic system created by Finlay is nicely done, f
Preston DuBose
Oct 14, 2009 rated it liked it
I got this book several months ago as a publisher promotional e-book. It didn't grab me in the first two pages, so I set it aside and focused on other things. Finally, I gave it another try and was pleasantly surprised. Within a few pages of where I'd left off, the plot picked up and the book kept me turning (virtual) pages right up to the end. Was it predictable? In a lot of ways, yes. More than once I read a passage and thought to myself, "This is clearly foreshadowing," but it was fun enough ...more
Jun 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Quick review for RWB Read-a-thon, more to come.

Witchcraft underlies events that begin the Revolutionary War. A young militiaman seeks to learn more about his own powers and becomes enmeshed in magic much larger than he ever realized existed.

I have mixed feelings on this one. I love the idea of magic being involved in the time period, when witchcraft was viewed with grave fear, but just didn't bond too well with the characters.
Feb 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Historical Urban Fantasy (A Review of the whole Trilogy)

I am normally not one to read urban fantasy. It typically has way too many dry and overused ideas. The authors of the genre tend to be unimaginative as well as untalented or perhaps lazy. For example? Sparkling vampires, need I say more? While I am a fan of alternative history, I am a harsh judge. So, if I encountered the complete Traitor to the Crown Trilogy by C.C. Finlay in a library book sale I most likely would never buy it. On the d
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Could not put this down.
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Clever idea, but it needed a better editor. I didn't like it enough to overlook the errors, minor though many of them were.
Barb Czz
I never heard of this author, or this series. After reading this book I'm going to look up more.
Jesse Whitehead
Jan 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Proctor Brown is getting married to a young Boston socialite and about to inherit his father’s large and prosperous farm. Then the Revolutionary War breaks out and Proctor, one of the minutemen, gets tossed into the middle of it. Things couldn’t be worse until he discovers that he is a witch when he encounters a British soldier wearing a charm to keep him safe.

Proctor has to learn to control his magic in the midst of war and treachery and betrayal while trying to understand which side he’s on.

Jack Massa
We readers all have peculiar tastes.

One of the peculiarities of my taste is that I tend to dislike "alternate histories." Having to imagine that the Sourth won the Civil War and then Hitler migrated there in 1918 so the Germans were really the good guys in WWII...just seems too high a toll to pay before I even get in to the story.

And I have an equal prejudice against "epic historical fantasies" (of the type typified by Guy Gavriel Kay) where the setting is really (pick one) Renaissance Italy /
Aug 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric Juneau
Jul 27, 2009 rated it did not like it
Tedious. Imagine if the there were witches in the Revolutionary War, and those witches were on both sides, controlling things through subtle magic - debilitating spells, artifacts of protection, and conspiracies with leaders. This book has three parts - the Shot Heard Round the World, exile at a farm full of witches, and the Battle of Bunker Hill.

The problem is that it's filled with descriptions of the battle, through the eyes of the main character. You can tell the author is a historian with a
James Snyder
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love books that take place during the Revolutionary War, and that's what I was looking for when I found this one. I actually noticed the sequel A Spell For The Revolution first but realizing it was a series I bought this one. By the end of the first chapter I could barely put it down.
The pace is nice and quick in the beginning but slows down just a little in the middle, but by that time I was already hooked. Thoug h some of the dialogue wasn't precisely period, it is not distracting, and it
Margaret Boling
7/5/12 ** I thoroughly enjoyed this - a nice blend of historical fiction set in the opening months of the American Revolution and supernatural elements. Did you know that we had witches on both sides fighting a shadow war?

Have I mentioned lately that I LOVE the internet? While reading THE PATRIOT WITCH, I wanted to see a 1775-era map of Boston, Lexington & Concord. So when Proctor fought in the Lexington battle and the Concord battle on the same day, how far did he really run down roads and cros
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is an unusual book about witches, in that the main character is a male witch - something you don't usually see in "paranormal" books. And when there is a male witch character he's often cast as a bad guy.

In this case the protagonist, Proctor Brown is a decidely GOOD witch, although he doesn't really know much about his talents, or how to use them, because his Mother, from whom his talents come doesn't want him to use them so won't teach him anything.

To complicate matters further, Proctor is
William Tooker
Jan 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
C.C. Finlay is a historical researcher IMHO that is second to none. His academic background lends itself well to the crafting of this project and these characters.

Proctor Brown is a grounded flawed character even for a Witch. He follows him impulse when his gift of prophecy has warned him just as his witchy mother had warned him. He discovers early on that discretion and control can fail even when fueled by the best intentions.

In one of the most dangerous periods in American history he stumble
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book is definitely well written but unfortunately I had trouble forming a bond with the main character. I prefer my heroes a little bit more decisive. Through most of the book Proctor's magic is rather ineffectual. He seems slow to learn, is not really inclined to experiment and there is a complete scarcity of anyone to teach him (although he is surrounded by other witches for most of the book). I read a sample of the second book in the series. It starts off a year after the events in the f ...more
Lynn Calvin
Jan 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Lynn by: can't remember, but someone did.
Finally got around to reading this- bought it quite a while ago on someone's recommendation. It sounded interesting and it sort of was, but somehow it didn't engage me. I had no strong sense of the characters and they seemed to be walking through their plot and their lines. For me, the main character's relationship with his mother was erratic and unclear.

The setting was interesting - the revolutionary war, but I was also somewhat thrown by the author's failure to correctly render Quaker "plain s
Apr 01, 2011 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. I like the idea behind the book: combining witchcraft with historical events, in this case, the American Revolution. I really like the author's solid grounding in history that doesn't overpower the story. I understand that the world has to be built and the characters introduced (I understand this is the start of a series) and he did a pretty good job with that although the story was a little draggy in the beginning third to half & I wasn't too sure I liked ...more
Jul 06, 2012 rated it liked it
While I love any book that deals with the American Revolution, I am not the biggest paranormal fan. THE PATRIOT WITCH however is a historical novel with a twist........witchcraft. The hero is young Proctor Brown and his role in 1776 is that of most young men that consider themselves to be a member of the Sons of Liberty. He also has a sweetheart named Emily but that romance is up in the air because her father is loyal to the king and is not happy that Emily is involved with a Patriot. Emily in f ...more
May 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Suitable for reading in a household where the TV is going all-day and all-night, like where I was last week. I checked it out especially for traveling, and it was the right pick.

If it hadn't been competing with audio distractions (you can not look, but you can't not listen) I think I would have been disappointed at the not-exactly-zippy pace, and lack of surprise in plot and/or description of magic.

Revolutionary America isn't an era that really grips me (should I blame Johnny Tremain? Too many 5
Jul 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009, fantasy
This book was really good a lot better then I expected. It was a fast paced, fun quick read that wasn't complicated at all.

A lot of historical fic can be flat or really cheesy and this was really believeable. I liked that I could actually imagine the characters in real life Revolutionary War period.

The magic that the people had fit, and it didn't seem out of place. The characters are a little flat except for the main character, readers really get to know the main character.

The only thing I'd
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Editor: The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (

Author: The Prodigal Troll, the Traitor to the Crown Series, and Wild Things, and dozens of short stories.

Awards: nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (2003), the Hugo Award (2003, 2009), the Locus Award for Best Magazine (2016), the Nebula Award (2003, 2009), the Sidewise Award (2003) Sturgeon Award (2009).


Other books in the series

Traitor to the Crown (3 books)
  • A Spell for the Revolution (Traitor to the Crown, #2)
  • The Demon Redcoat (Traitor to the Crown, #3)

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