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Shadowbrook: A Novel of Love, War, and the Birth of America
Synopses & Reviews
The Los Angeles Times called Beverly Swerling's City of Dreams "a near-perfect historical novel." Now, in Shadowbrook, set against the backdrop of the famously bloody French and Indian War, Swerling once again tells a gripping, multilayered story of colonial America that will captivate both new readers and admirers of her critically acclaimed earlier novel.
1754. In a low-lying glen in the Ohio Country, where both the French and the English claim dominion, the first musket ball fired signals the start of the savage seven-year conflict destined to dismantle France's overreaching empire and pave the way for the American Revolution. It is here that Swerling introduces a cast of unforgettable characters: Quentin Hale, the fearless gentleman-turned-scout the Indians call Red Bear; Cormac Shea, the part-Irish, part-Indian woodsman with a foot in both worlds, sworn to drive every white man from Canada; and the beautiful Nicole Crane, who, struggling to reconcile her love for Hale and her calling to the convent, becomes a pawn in the British quest for territory.
Quentin and Cormac were raised as brothers on Shadowbrook, a prosperous plantation in the northern wilderness whose fertile land, worked by slaves, sits between Hudson's River and the Adirondack Mountains. Though fiercely devoted to each other, they often find themselves on opposite sides of a fight, but not in this war, or in the struggle to wrest control of Shadowbrook from Quentin's depraved older brother.
From Iroquois longhouses to the elegant rooms of Shadowbrook, from the virgin forests of the frontier to the cobbled streets of Québec, Swerling weaves a tale of passion and intrigue, faith and devotion, courage and betrayal.
Peopled by historical figures including a young George Washington, the fabled Ottawa chief Pontiac, and the legendary generals Wolfe and Montcalm, this richly textured novel vividly captures the conflict that ignited the eighteenth century and presaged our nation's quest for independence. But it is through Swerling's powerfully drawn characters — the ordinary men and women living in a world on the brink of astonishing change — that this novel comes searingly alive. A classic in the making, Shadowbrook is a page-turning tale of ambition, war, and the transforming power of both love and duty.
"Swerling's sweeping fictional account of the French and Indian War rivals Harold Coyle's 1997 novel, Savage Wilderness, in its masterful treatment of the hardship, brutality and treachery of America's colonial wars. Covering the years 1754 — 1760, with the British, French and Indians slaughtering each other for king and empire, Swerling tells of two men who straddle the white and red man's worlds, desperate to preserve the best of each culture, but fearful they will lose everything they love. Quentin Hale is a gentleman turned scout whose family owns a prosperous New York plantation called Shadowbrook. He is white, but also follows the Indian ways of his adopted tribe, the Potawatomi. Cormac Shea is part-Irish and part-Indian, nearly a brother to Hale, but he wants all whites driven from Canada. Together these men find themselves caught up in a bloody war neither wants, but they must fight to save the plantation and create a homeland for the Indians. Hale faces treachery at home from his sadistic and greedy elder brother, John; from a scheming one-eyed Scot; and from lying, corrupt politicians who want to steal his legacy; he also has an Indian enemy who wants to cut out his heart. Hale and Shea fight in many battles, mostly massacres, from Louisbourg and Fort William Henry to the climactic battle at Quebec. Surrounding them are colorful historical figures like the young George Washington, the hapless General Braddock and the powerful Ottawa chief, Pontiac. Swerling also cleverly reveals the arrogant influence of the Catholic Church in politics, the duplicity of governmental promises and the forced migration of Acadians from Nova Scotia. The complexity of the history involved may daunt some readers, but most will be captivated by Swerling's intricate plot, colorful characters and convincing descriptions of colonial life. Agent, Henry Morrison (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Beverly Swerling is a writer, consultant, and amateur historian. She lives in New York City with her husband.
Table of Contents
Important Characters in the Story
Book 1: Shadowbrook · 1754
Book 2: The World That Came from the Belly of the Fish · 1754-1756
Book 3: The New World and the Old · 1757
Book 4: Québec · 1758-1759
Book 5: The Covenant · 1759-1760
Epilogue: The World of Tears · 1763-1769
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