The Bow-Tied Blogger

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

  Tuesday, May 08, 2007

One more book review for March. Boy am I a slacker!!

The final book to review for March is The Rebels

This is the second book of the Kent family Chronicle and takes place during the American Revolution, detailing not just the story of Philip Kent, but also Judson Fletcher, an ill-tempered, self-destructive, dilettante son of a prominent Virginia planter possessing a modicum of decency, but not often.

Philip Kent is married to Anne Ware and she bears him a son while he is off at war. During the time leading up to his son's birth, Anne's father Abraham dies. Anne uses the inheritance to invest in two treasure hunting ships, a considerably risky venture, and at the same time she encourages Philip to re-enlist in the Continental Army.

In Virginia, Judson is prompted by his brother to take his place in the Continental Congress, but he proceeds to take on a binge of drinking and whoring much to the chagrin of Thomas Jefferson. During his time there, he drinks heavily and is eventually expelled from the Congress for his lewd behavior. At the same time, Alicia has degenerated form the loss of her husband and being rebuffed by Philip to a streetwalker and Judson's bed mate, until her wealthy uncle finds her and challenges Judson to a duel. Judson easily wins the duel and Alicia kills herself.

Philip lives history as he crosses the Delaware with Washington and spends the winter at Valley Forge learning drill and ceremony from Baron Von Steuben, as well as reuniting with the Marquis D'Lafayette, and even meeting General Washington.

Anne is in Boston with little Abraham being watched by a neighbor, but also by a lecherous ship captain who is ripping off the returns the Kents should be receiving from their ships. The Captain eventually kidnaps Anne to rape her aboard his ship, and he manages to do this many times until she manages to fight him to a draw killing them both.

Philip hears nothing from Anne and is concerned but he is not allowed to leave until he is later wounded, but by then he is too late as his wife is dead. During this time, Judson returns to Virginia and sleeps with Peggy Ashford McLean, an old love of his, but then moves on to seek a new life out west in the Appalachian Frontier following his childhood friend George Rogers Clark (as in the Clark of Lewis and Clark).

Peggy is pregnant, and hides away to Boston to have her daughter, Elizabeth Fletcher. While there, she meets Philip, and they wed.

Now that is a brief and unhelpful summary, but I don't want to give too much away. I enjoyed this book as a I am a fan of historical fiction, but I find events a bit fanciful as Philip experiences so many battles of the American Revolution. part of what shocks me is that with all this combat experience he remains a Private. Even if his friendship with Marquis D'Lafayette yields no perks, his experience should have eventually made him a Sergeant, but I do not know promotion structures at that time. I also liked the tie in of Alicia as a prostitute, closing a thread from the first novel, as well as Judson's redemption.

Once I finish a few more books, I look forward to reading the next book in the series to learn about Philip Kent and his children as well as step-daughter Elizabeth.

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