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

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