An engaging, informative exploration of the lesser-known battles of the American Revolution, presented through the interactions among fictional and historical characters.
The American Revolutionary War comes to life in Weaver’s (Nav Cad, 2012, etc.) vivid historical novel. Set in South Carolina, the volume is so chock-full of details of life in Charles Town and its surrounding countryside that readers can almost feel themselves walking down the streets or through the swamps. Weaver’s narrative focuses on the scores of usually overlooked Southern skirmishes that kept the British busy and frustrated, making it impossible for them to execute a successful sweeping march to round up the South and then push forward to finish off the North. The fictional hero of the story is Truly Doran, aka Gray Cloud, son of a Catawba maiden, Singing Water, and her white husband, Sean Doran. As a result of his parentage, Truly is considered a “brassankle,” a term derived from the brass ankle shackles that Southerners sometimes used to keep mixed heritage workers from running away. Gray Cloud grows up in his mother’s Catawba village, learning hunting, tracking and survival skills from his uncle, while his father serves as a guide for a government survey project. When Gray Cloud reaches his teenage years, Sean brings him to a prestigious English school in Charles Town, where he goes by his English name, Truly Doran. During these years, he is befriended by Capt. Francis Marion of the 2nd Continental Regiment on Sullivan’s Island and eventually becomes Marion’s scout. Weaver intersperses moments of levity and romance with intricate battle details, giving readers a front-row seat to the personal development of Truly and the emergence of the new America. The linguistic style is just formal enough to simulate 18th-century Southern society, although the use of heavy dialect for three characters (one Irishman and two black slaves) is unnecessarily disruptive, especially since the work does not similarly encumber any other characters (including the two Catawba orphans Truly takes under his wing).
A unique journey back to America’s Southern colonial roots that will appeal to history buffs.