Clash of Empires Paul Bennett
As a child, one of my favourite TV shows was The Last of the Mohicans. I was, therefore, excited to find a book set in a similar time and place, one which is not often written about. Paul Bennett’s debut novel is a great, page-turning read. He takes us back to a frontier which was wild, beautiful and dangerous. His descriptions of the landscape are a lovely combination of the detailed and the poetic which seems entirely appropriate; I was swept away by it.
The story is based on the experiences of people, Europeans and native Americans, who were forced to live in close proximity, something which would be difficult at the best of times. This was one of the worst of times; when Britain and France were engaged in a deadly struggle for empire. Bennett is adept at allowing us to enter the different worlds of his characters, often by sharply defined dialogue which makes his characters memorable. He avoids over-simplistic stereotyping. There is plenty of good and evil in people of every race and affiliation.
As well as a host of interesting characters there is plenty of action. The battle scenes were appropriately gory but without a bunch of superman slogging it out for hours. None of this action was gratuitous; for example, [content deleted to avoid spoiler] was the engine for his grief and desire for revenge.
This is a well-researched, epic of a novel and I look forward to reading more of his novels.