THE BIG KNIVES by Bruce Lancaster


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Lancaster's latest fictional foray into American history is very lively while avoiding stereotypes and sex. Markham Cape, a Bostonian stranded in Europe, works his way on various ships to Spanish New Orleans. Though wanting to go to Boston, he is forced to avoid the British blockade of the east coast, and thus instead makes his way up the Mississippi and along the Ohio. On the way he falls in with a buckskinned. Virginian who indoctrinates him into river life and the use of big knives so feared by the Indians. The two of them, however, are impressed into service by George Rogers Clark, who is leading an expedition against the French-settled village of Kaskaskia. Clark's rebels are Kentuckians and Virginians who have seen their families and friends slaughtered by Indians who were armed by the British; they are perfectly willing to fight Indians as well as redcoats. Through Cape's aid they go back down to New Orleans for money and Clark supports his vagrant army and takes several towns after forced arches on starvation diet. Clark's spell over Cape turns him into a loyal follower, and it is the novel's main success that Clark comes ruggedly alive, a believable, brilliant character. A well assured audience here.

Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.