The Bow-Tied Blogger

The life and adventures of one soldier and his various journeys.

  Sunday, February 25, 2007

Book Review: Last book read in January.

Now for my final book review in January: The Bastard

Now, for those who don't know, I love history. I also love historical fiction and alternate history. The Bastard is historical fiction about Phillipe Charbonneau, the bastard son of the Duke of Kentland. The story starts in rural France with Phillipe living with his mother, a tutor, and a maid in an inn owned by his mother. In the beginning, Phillipe is 17 and meets the Marquis D'Lafayette and is seduced by the maid, much to his mother's dismay. She then explains his legacy and how she wants him to find the daughter of a British noble or a woman from a wealthy working family.

After his legacy is explained, Phillipe's mother Marie learns of the Duke's illness and takes her son to Kentland, where they are not well received by the Duke's wife and legitimate son, along with the son's fiance, Alicia. They are not welcomed and attempts are made to pay them off so the inheritance claims would be dropped. After being led to believe that the Duke is dead, the Charbonneau's have no more money, and after Phillipe damages his half-brother's hand and has an affair with his fiance, they flee to London being pursued by hired thugs sent by the Duke's heir.

In London, Phillipe and his mother look for places to stay but run afoul of some beggars and are taken in by the Sholto family, deeply religious publishers and whigs. Phillipe is apprenticed by the Sholto patriarch and learns a trade, until his half-brother hires a one eyed assassin to kill him. After this, Phillipe and his mother flee to Southampton and to Boston, much to his mother's objections.

When they arrive in Boston, the mother has died and Phillipe is left with no one. He wanders in Boston trying to look for work and lodging, until he runs afoul of two British officers, but is rescued by separatists who admire his spunk. one of the seperatists is an innkeeper who gievs him lodging and work, where he will eventually meet Samuel Adams and Samuel's cousin John. He also falls in love with Anne Ware the daughter of a separatist and a fiesty indepndent woman in her own right, especially for 1775.

During this time, Phillipe (now Philip Kent) rusn afoul of his half brother, who has purchased a Lieutenant Colonel's commission and is in Boston. Eventually they confornt each other again and Philip runs his sword through his brother, eventually killing him.

That is a brief summary and I may have spoiled too much of it. In a nutshell I like the story. The only issue I have is that Philip's life is too fanciful as he meets the Marquis D'Lafayette, Benjamin Franklin, John and Samuel Adams, and Paul Revere, plus he is the illegitamte son of a Duke. Perhaps that is overkill, but this is fiction, and I admit I enjoy the connectiosn, because they spark an interest in the historical characters. This book is also the first of seven books about a family heriatge in America and definitely worth looking at.

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