Muse Mythology – a revisionist account

I have always claimed that I have a Muse named Wanda who helps inspire my writing. Well, as it turns out, I recently discovered a rare tract about the myths and legends of the Greek Muses (editors note: no he didn’t; he’s making this up), and Wanda had been given a Homeric like epithet. She was known to her fellow Muses as one who was cheerful, mellow, always had a smile on her face, and was a terrific baker of brownies, and so named her Wanda The Merry One. This is not to say that she can’t be a little feisty when she’s doling out inspiration; indeed, she often gives me story ideas for two books ahead of the one I am writing.  For the sake of brevity, however, I will from now on call her Merry Wanda.  🙂



Clash of Empires – a synopsis


Thomas and Abigail Mallory move their family from their farm on the Susquehanna River to a frontier trading post near Fort Duquesne (modern day Pittsburgh) at a time when the French and the British both seek to control the lucrative fur trade along the Ohio River.  Clash of Empires is the story of the Mallory family as they are caught up in the conflict that would become The French and Indian War.  It is a tale of the three Mallory siblings, Daniel. Liza and Liam and their involvement in the conflict; the emotional trauma of lost loved ones, the bravery they exhibit in battle situations; the friendships they develop with the young, first time militia commander George Washington, and the friends, or enemies, made with many of the Native American tribes caught up the war. Clash of Empires is the first book in The Mallory Saga, a saga that will follow the Mallory clan through the making of the United States, and its rise to power in the 19th century.

Latest Clash review 3/25/18

Clash of Empires—A Novel of the French & Indian War

The Mallory Saga: Book One

by Paul Bennett

221 pages

A list of characters appears at the end.

A man chopping wood, thinking of how his wife will react when he tells her that, come next spring, he wants to pick up stakes, head west into the wilderness, and face a new challenge. Something very dangerous.


Clash of Empires takes place during the French and Indian Wars, or what England and France refer to as the Seven Years War. Some would also call it the first war of truly global proportions, for it was conducted on the American frontier, as well as in Europe, West Africa, India, and the Philippines, with the goal of establishing a new world order. And, more to the point of this historical novel, waged to determine the fate of all territories west the Appalachians.


It is a story not of emperors or kings, but of common folk immersed in a struggle for survival, striving to build a life far removed from the conventions and restrictions of the established order.


The saga begins in the fall of 1749, at the convergence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, before it was known as Pittsburgh, and concludes in 1770. But most of the action takes place between 1763, and 1766.


The conflict unfolds upon a grand sweep of terrain, from Albany, New York, to Lake Michigan, and from Lake Ontario, to Kentucky. The story depicts the isolated and vulnerable nature of these far flung regions, many of them no more than lightly defended outposts. All travel is on foot, or horseback, or on the rivers. Very few roads existed to accommodate any wagon or cart, though many of the roads we now take for granted were built just after this period.


Liam Mallory, the Snake Slayer, is the main character, and it is he who roams most of the aforementioned territory. Hunter, courier and scout, explorer and visionary. Haunted by the brutal murder of Orenda, his beloved Mohawk wife, and their unborn child. Liam is driven by the need to kill Huritt, the Huron warrior who slaughtered Orenda. Liam is also being drawn ever westward by his vision of the sacred buffalo.


Along the way, we are introduced to prominent historical figures, long before they ever became famous. George Washington, a Colonel in the Virginia Militia. Daniel Boone, a frustrated young drover hoping to fulfill his destiny beyond the Cumberland Gap, in bountiful Kentucky.


Clash of Empires also foretells one powder keg of the American Revolution . . . the British attempts to pacify the understandably outraged native population, by constraining all westward expansion.


I have improved upon myself by reading Clash of Empires. Reading it is time well spent.


Lee Henschel

author of The Sailing Master series – historical fiction

A Big 5 Star Review

My knowledge of the French & Indian War is, well…non existent! That is to say, it was.

I went into Clash of Empires with a completely open mind, but slightly worried. As a passionate lover of the ancient world, I thought I would struggle to immerse myself in the minds and surroundings this book had to offer.

I was wrong.

This book is terrific, from cover to cover. It follows the story of Liam Mallory, a young man, skilled hunter, expert shot with a rifle. His father is a farmer, veteran soldier from the militia, he longs to return to the life he once had. He will get that opportunity, when his friend, William Trent, offers him the chance to go west, and open a trading post with him. The one downside? This post is slap bang in the middle of contested ground between the two world super powers of the day, the British and the French.

Added to this, the local native tribes face a daily struggle to keep their identity, their own way of life. Most choose to ally with either the British of the French, but some choose their own path. This is where the story really gets brutal, and not for the squeamish!

I’ll give away no spoilers, but it’s needless to say Liam and his family walk right into the thick of it. The author possesses great prose, the violence is not built up slowly, and you don’t see it coming. It’s fast, brutal, and bloody.

I found myself loving the characters of the natives more and more as the story developed, felt their passion and anger toward the two invading nations (and have also developed as obsession with the tomahawk, I need one!)

Needless to say I can’t recommend this enough. If you’ve read and loved The Fort or Redcoat by Bernard Cornwell, this is for you.