THE SILVER OAR by Howard Breslin


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This might almost be termed a picaresque novel, with its full components of adventure, exotic recall, romance and pace of story. Breslin has picked a phase of New England's early Colonial history this time- the period when England's change of rulers from the Catholic James to the Protestant William and Mary supplied the twist of fortune that rescued the novel's hero from hanging. We are too apt to forget that Europe's history carried across the waters, shifting balance of power, producing change of administrative officers. Cormac Doyle was Irish and a ""Papist"" and worst of all in the eyes of the law, a pirate against whom charges of all kinds had been levied. That he managed to escape time and again makes for entertaining reading, though one guesses the outcome if not the process. His love for the Puritan Jill provides romantic interest, as Jill seems to play weathercock to the turn of Cormac's fortunes. Reader appeal for a novel with greater elements of story than the average today compensates for lack of depth of perception or interpretation. Recommended as good tall tale telling, The Silver Oar should do better than The Bright (Vermont in our early national history) and perhaps better too than The Tamarack Tree (French-Indian wars). The publishers promise generous backing.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 1954
Publisher: Crowell