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by Philip Roy

Age Range: 12 - 17

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-897009-72-7
Publisher: Cape Breton University Press

In 1744, two brothers, unbeknownst to each other, arrive at the French fortress of Louisbourg in what is now Nova Scotia and find themselves swept up in what is destined to be an important battle between the French and English.  

Jacques, a scholar and musician at heart whose mother resides in France, has been forced by his officer father into the French army and required to accompany him to Louisbourg to help defend the fortress. Jacque’s half brother, Two-Feathers, the son of a Mi’kmaq woman, begins sneaking around the stronghold in hopes of identifying and perhaps meeting the father he has never known. Chapters alternate between the third-person perspective of Two-Feathers and the first-person narration of Jacques, a narrative strategy presumably designed to shed light on the Mi’kmaq and French cultures as well as on their perceptions of each other. In the closest thing to an interesting plot twist, Jacques finds happiness only when he teaches a young French woman to play the violoncello, while Two-Feathers spends his time finding food for, and falling in love with, this same young woman.

This rather dry offering may find a place in a history classroom; however, the lack of an absorbing story and truly compelling characters will cause most casual readers to soon abandon the tale, if they pick it up in the first place. (Historical fiction. 12-17)