Bringing the past alive – short & sweet review



Wonderful review

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.

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..”

Available on Kindle, paperback.

Goodreads link:

Facebook Page: