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Thomas Mallory was not content with his life as a farmer. He wanted more. The frontier was the only place for someone like him. Thomas longed for the adventure and the freedom a trading post would bring.
But Thomas’ need for adventure comes at a terrible cost to his family. For the frontier was where the battle lines between the French and the British had been drawn. And as the local Indian tribes take sides, the frontier is no longer a place for an Irish-American and his family.
From the comfort of a small farm in eastern Pennsylvania to the horrors of The French and Indian War (1754–63) Clash of Empires (The Mallory Saga #1) by Paul Bennett is a story of one family’s battle to stay alive in the midst of Hell.
Set in a wild yet beautiful landscape, The French and Indian Wars are captured in this magnificent retelling. Like a bard from days gone by, Bennett recounts the events of this terrible seven-year war through the eyes of the Mallory family.
This untamed frontier is Liam Mallory’s idea of freedom. He could breathe here. It is no wonder that his feet led him to the Mohawk tribe. Here, is where he belongs. Liam’s story really drives this book forwards. His tale is terribly tragic, yet strangely majestic. It is Liam’s struggle, which takes Clash of Empires from being a great story to a future classic.
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 of 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. The chapters were long, but they were split up into very readable sections, which I think makes this lengthy book seem a lot shorter than what it actually was. Bennett’s retelling of the famous battles was skilfully done — he writes fabulous battle scenes.
As for the antagonists, and there are many in this book, Bennett has made a calculated decision to show both sides of the argument. So the story of Pontiac and his struggle against British military occupation certainly helps to give a broader understanding of what the Native Americans were facing and why they were fighting. The frontier was their home, and they were determined to keep it. But on the other hand, I didn’t want the protagonists to meet a gruesome end by a tomahawk. As a reader, it was interesting to feel so torn between the two sides. I wanted everyone to come out alive, maybe not so much in Chogan’s case, but I am not going to give away the plot, so I will leave that there.
I think this story can proudly sit alongside James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans. Bennet writes in a similar style to Cooper. Of course, it is about the same era so if you have read or watched The Last of the Mohicans, then there are some names and battles that you will be familiar with. However, saying that, I thought Clash of Empires (The Mallory Saga #1) brings something new to Historical Fiction about this war. I have to say that I thought his characterisation of a young Washington was amazing.
Clash of Empires (The Mallory Saga #1) is simply unputdownable. This story is something very special. I, for one, cannot wait for book 2.
I Highly Recommend.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club
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.
My guest post about the inspiration behind Clash of Empires.
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. 🙂
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—A Novel of the French & Indian War
The Mallory Saga: Book One
by Paul Bennett
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.
author of The Sailing Master series – historical fiction