LAST REFUGE OF SCOUNDRELS by Paul Lussier

LAST REFUGE OF SCOUNDRELS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Forced and flimsy first novel about the American Revolution, in which the Founding Fathers are almost uniformly vain, bumbling, and greedy.

Using George Washington's deathbed recollections as a framework, Lussier focuses on the story of John Lawrence, eventually one of the general's aides-de-camp. We meet John in 1765, when he travels to Boston with his father, a wealthy Royalist businessman. There's revolutionary ferment in the air, but John is interested only in Deborah Simpson, a prostitute with whom he falls in love at first sight. Deborah invites John to join her later that night and introduces him to a revolutionary cabal. When he returns to the now actively rebellious Boston four years later, searching for Deborah, we learn that John Hancock, John and Sam Adams, and the other gentlemen involved are fomenting revolt for their own political or personal reasons, with no intention of improving the rabble's lot. Following Deborah's trail, John discovers that the Founding Fathers are themselves being manipulated by a working-class underground whose chief strategist seems to be Deborah, a spy in varying capacities who sleeps with leaders on both sides. At her behest, John becomes a spy as well, which makes him privy to machinations by all parties. The Continental Congress is aghast at the idea of war; the British are willing to work with the Americans to avoid it; none of these gentlemen wants to see changes in the power structure; but Deborah and her cadre, behind the scenes, arrange events to bring about the revolution, which they hope will leave the People in charge. From the “true” story of the Boston Massacre to the “real” reason for America's triumph, TV producer Lussier turns it all into miniseries schlock.

A failure on every conceivable level: as narrative, as entertainment, as history, as romance, as commentary.

Pub Date: Feb. 8th, 2001
ISBN: 0-446-52342-9
Page count: 320pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2000