Review of Clash by Rosie Amber’s team

I chose to read this book for Rosie’s book review team because my knowledge of the French and Indian Wars is limited to what I learned reading The Last of the Mohegans by James Fennimore Cooper and Northwest Passage by a Maine author I revere: Kenneth Roberts. I hoped to increase my knowledge with Clash of Empires and the book did not disappoint.
This first book, The Mallory Saga, is modestly described as follows: “In 1750, the Mallory family moved to the western Pennsylvania frontier, seeking a home and a future. Clash of Empires reveals the harrowing experiences of a colonial family drawn into the seven-year conflict between the British and French for control of the continent – the French and Indian War.”
What an understatement this blurb is! The book is so much more, populated by three-dimensional characters, embedded in a story that has you on the edge of your seat wondering when the next tomahawk will fall, and stimulating me to do a little more reading on the various historical events.
By 1754, both the British and the French were well established in the ‘New World,’ and families from England were encouraged to go there for a better life, with the promise of land. Both France and Britain ignored the fact this land was already inhabited by many Native American tribes, treating them more or less like wayward children, plying them with gifts or promises never kept to pay them for their land. The Mallory family from Ireland is already established in Eastern Pennsylvania, when Thomas decided to move his family to the western frontier. At this time, the frontier is just west of the Allegheny mountains and in French- controlled territory. They establish a trading post on the Kiskiminetas River, a tributary of the Allegheny River in western Pennsylvania. Hard to think of western Pennsylvania as wilderness!
Mallory brings friends with him, all of them interesting, and the author draws the reader into the harshness of life on the frontier, especially with rumors swirling of raids by the French and their allies, the Shawnee, to destroy British forts and English settlements. The Mallory family – daughter Liza and sons Daniel and Liam – each have a story line that winds in and out of strategic events that marked this period. There are losses of people along the way to the brutality of war at that time, and I found myself grieving right along with the other characters. The main story line concerns Liam, a wanderer by nature, who is adopted by a Mohawk tribe and marries the chief’s daughter. He acquires two mortal enemies amongst the Shawnee, much like Hawkeye’s deadly enemy Magua in The Last of the Mohegans, and his story is one of anger and revenge.
From this novel comes a comprehension of the vast and different tribes of Native Americans and one can’t help but wonder how different the story might have been if there had been any respect and understanding of their cultures. The reader also gets the sense of the early beginnings of this country, and the courage of settlers to put their lives on the line for the promise of a better life for their families.
The history is excellent, weaving in the events of the war and historical figures – such as the young George Washington, Daniel Boone, and the British Generals Braddock and Munro – to create a real world, worth visiting.
I very much look forward to the next novel in this series.

Enthralling Read – a new review of Clash

My entire knowledge around the French Indians Wars comes from two Hollywood movies. Last of the Mohican and the far better Drums along the Mohawk. So my review is purely based on the author’s prowess in telling a good yarn. Two European powers(super powers of their day) position themselves to win control of the America’s. As is the case in these matters, it is the ordinary families, who would rather get on with their lives, that are caught in the middle. One such family is the main protagonists of the story, the Mallory’s. Dangerous times made even worse by the many disgruntled tribes, of which their were many (Far more than I was aware of). But thats enough spoilers from me…
The story itself is not over complicated but well thoughtout and presented. The characters are well developed and give the story both authenticity and drive. There is a plethora of characters on all sides of the storyline, its always good to see the oppositions point of view, which are well drawn with no one dimensional bad guys in sight. The story moves along at a decent pace and keeps the reader’s interest. To sum up its an excellent read which certainly convinced this reader to eagerly await the next instalment and perhaps even read up further on the era and its complexities.

Robert Southworth author of the Spartacus Chronicles and Ripper Legacies

Promo and buy links


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.

Clash of Empires swept me along into a brutal frontier war of honor and vengeance.  Rob Hagar Bayliss – author of The Sun Shard and The Dead Gods

Bennett shows understanding and sympathy for a disappearing world in this tale of war-torn frontier America

SJA Turney – author of the Marius Mules series, The Ottoman Cycle and Tales of the Empire

A storming triumph – war, love, honor, betrayal and loss, Clash of Empires has it all! C.R. May – author of Sorrow Hill, Nemesis and Fire & Steel

A enthusiastic response to Clash of Empires:
“WOW!!!!!! I am not an author, editor, publisher or historian, just a fan of history and historical fiction,,,,,,just finished Book 1, cannot wait for Book 2 and 3, when might we expect them? Loved the book so much decided to head to Fort Necessity National Battlefield in a few weeks for a day visit….nice work…looking forward to more….fast!!!!”

“Historical novels like this help bring the past alive in a way textbooks simply can’t.”

“Well written entertainment with well developed interesting and varied characters. After a slow start, the pace and flow picked up and was very good throughout. The story was well researched and well told.”

“Couldnt put it down. Love the time line. Wonderful blend of true history with some fictional characters”

“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.
“This is an impressive bringing to life of an episode, an era, really, in pre-revolutionary America, the French and Indian War. While some of the elements are known to general readers, like George Washington’s military service and General Braddock’s disastrous retreat, Paul Bennett brings to life the daily struggles faced by settlers beyond the Alleghenies, not least the threat from the various tribes. The sheer number of different tribes Bennett incorporates into the narrative is fascinating reading, with eternal antagonisms as between the Iroquois and Algonquin nations, and the shifting alliances of the Shawnees and the French. And he is unsparing in his descriptions of the brutality of the conflict, the scalpings, tomahawks and arrows. Finally, he covers time and distance seamlessly although the combination means long treks from one spot to another, with loved ones left behind for months at a time.
A challenging and well done saga..”

“I love reading about American History so I was glad to review Paul Bennett’s Clash of Empires. The book tells the military and political story of the French and Indian War.

The author does a great job sending us back in time and introducing us to the Mallory family. The Mallorys start out farming but soon decide to head west to help run a trading post. As the Mallorys move they find themselves in the middle of fighting between Britain and France. The main character Liam marries into the Mohawk Indian tribe.

I totally enjoyed this well-researched, detail-rich historical novel. The characters are memorable and believable. The book contained plenty of action including the battle scenes. The pace of the book was spot-on and my interest was held throughout. I can’t wait to read more in this series.”

“Bennett’s retelling of the famous battles was skilfully done, he writes fabulous battle scenes. There is a huge cast of characters in this novel and yet, I never once had to look at the character list at the back of the book to keep track of them all. For a cast this size, it is easy to confuse the reader, but Bennett has masterful control. He has a firm grip on all his characters, and they all bring something important to the narrative. Although the focus is on the Mallory family, Bennett gives the same attention to detail with regards to his supporting characters. The writing is vibrant and rich. Bennett’s descriptive prose was wonderful to read. The story was incredibly compelling. ”

Mary Anne Yarde

Available on Kindle, paperback.

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11 Questions from Meghan Holloway

 With Paul Bennett



Born in Detroit, MI, now living in Salem, MA.  I’ve always been a student and reader of history.  My earliest recollections of that interest are having discussions with my Dad about WWII and of borrowing from the library a copy of Heinrich Schliemann’s book on Troy.  Movies such as Spartacus and Ben Hur also fueled my desire to know more of how we got to be where we are today.  I attended Wayne State University in the early 70’s with a focus on ancient history and physical anthropology and although I continued to read history books (both fiction and non-fiction) I did not pursue a career in those areas.  It wasn’t until I started reading SJA Turney’s Marius Mules series that I began book reviewing/blogging.  I finally succumbed to the pleadings of my Muse and began writing my own historical fiction.


Clash of Empires is the first book in a projected series called The Mallory Saga.  It follows the lives of a colonial frontier family caught up in the French & Indian War of the 1750’s.  I intertwine the historical record of the war; the battles, the historical personnel, etc, with the fictional account of the Mallory’s and their involvement in the battles and the suffering and triumphs they face.


The idea for The Mallory Saga came from looking at a photo of my great-grandfather, Harry Mallory, who came from western PA, the area where a lot of Clash takes place.  I wanted to write about a period often overlooked in American history despite the fact that the French & Indian War had a direct impact on the American Revolution 15 years later.  A lot of my research was done online and by reading Empires at War by William M. Fowler Jr.  I also visited some of the sites used in Clash…Fort Ticonderoga & Fort William Henry for example.


I’ve heard that there are plotters and seat of the pants types of writers.  I guess I’m somewhere in between but with a definite leaning towards seat of the pants.  I know where I want the book to go and have a general idea of how to get there but the actual process of putting hands to the keyboard is pretty much led by my Muse and so have a tendency to write in a non-chronological fashion.  As an example, I am writing book 2 of the series and already have chapters from the beginning, middle and end started – the tricky part is to make sure I tie them all together.


I do most of my writing in the pre-dawn hours, fueled by good, strong coffee and with my headphones on I listen to one of my writing playlists on Google or Pandora.  My Muse seems to draw inspiration from angelic voiced females so I listen to a lot of Loreena McKennitt and goth-rock bands such as Within Temptation, Nightwish and Sirenia.  The result of what I eventually put down on paper comes from ideas that I’ve thrashed about in my head.  Much of that thought process takes place during my 75 mile commute to work; a two hour excursion that allows my Muse free rein as I drive.  By the way, my Muse is named Wanda after one of my favorite movies, A Fish Called Wanda.  Anyway, Wanda is quite active during the commute, although there are times when she gets too excited and I find myself thinking about a scene that won’t happen until book 4 or 5 in the series.


The main thing I’ve learned is that to do it right takes a team effort.  I have always been leery of changing anything once I’ve written it and so was completely unprepared for working with an editor.  Fortunately, I connected with an old friend who is a superb editor and while I have accused her of eviscerating some of my hard written words and belittling my grammatical prowess, she made the story better and has made me a better writer.


Engaging, believable characters.  A story line that keeps you turning the pages and that makes you stop occasionally while you exclaim, “wow” or “I didn’t see that coming.”


The first one that popped into my head is 4 books – The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I guess I’ve read those 8 or 9 times…in fact I’m due for another read through.


I usually have two or three books going at a time (there’s so many good books out there)…one for my Kindle, one for my PC Kindle and a hard copy for bedtime reading.  Right now I am reading The Portuguese Affair (The Chronicles of Christoval Alvarez Book 3) by Ann Swinfen, Rosa by Jeanette Taylor Ford and Fire and Steel – King’s Bane 1 by C.R. May.


Umm…haphazardly as space allows.


Mark Twain   Kurt Vonnegut   Christian Cameron

Thank you for joining me on OF QUILLS & VELLUM today, Paul! It was a pleasure talking with you. 

Find out more about Paul and his writing on his blog or find him on Facebook and Twitter.

5 Star Review from a fan in Detroit


BennettFinalEdit copy.jpg


Clash receives another 5 star review:
5.0 out of 5 starsThis book was recommended by a friend
ByFan in Detroiton March 31, 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was recommended by a friend. Really thought not my kind of read! Boy was I wrong! Held my interest from start to finish. Very real
characters. Learned a lot about history that I never knew . Enjoyed the family aspect of the story and wondered what would happen to the
characters next. Looking forward to next book.! Great book from beginning to end!!