Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE YEAR OF THE HANGMAN by Gary Blackwood Kirkus Star


by Gary Blackwood

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-525-46921-4
Publisher: Dutton

A wastrel-in-training finds cause, and a Cause, to mend his ways in this alternate history from the author of Shakespeare’s Scribe (2000). The American revolt has collapsed with the capture of George Washington, but there’s still unrest in the colonies. Creighton Brown, spoiled son of a British officer supposedly killed in the war, has been involuntarily dispatched there in hopes that his ruthless uncle, Hugh Gower, colonel in charge of the Charles Town garrison, can shape him up. Captured by pirates led by dashing hothead Benedict Arnold, Creighton meets Ben Franklin and other exiles living in Spanish-held New Orleans, and finds himself playing both sides, forced to spy for Gower while becoming embroiled in a rebel plan to find and free Washington. Losing his arrogance and preconceptions with realistic reluctance, Creighton survives several narrow scrapes on the way to rescuing his father, who turns out to have actually been imprisoned for warning settlers of an impending massacre. As well, he ends up taking to heart Franklin’s observation that there is no such thing as a good war, or a bad peace. Disappointingly, Washington never does turn up, but readers will be swept along by this what if? adventure, and will find Franklin’s philosophy as applicable today as ever. (afterword) (Fiction. 11-13)