Note: This is Book 2 and it can be read on its own if you check out the author’s notes about Book 1 but it works best if you have read Book 1.
There is quite a bit going on in this book. I finished it and I felt heavy with my new understanding of this little slice of time in colonial America. This is a serious subject and horrible things happen during King Phillip’s War. I really appreciate that the author didn’t shy away from showing that, and showing that all sides committed war atrocities.
Linto and Wawaseca are spiritual leaders of their people and Linto is a special character. He’s knowledgeable about both the colonial English ways and their various flavors of Christianity but is also Native American. Throughout the entire book, he could be the one to bring everyone together. On the English side, there’s Brewster. He’s a bridge between the Puritans and the Quakers because he’s left one in disgrace and grudgingly embraces the other through marriage. He’s also a treasured friend of Linto’s.
Some of my favorite parts of the book were the times that Linto and his fellow Wampanoags interpret various Bible stories. I wasn’t raised with the Bible and I could really relate to some of the questions they ask and their take on the meanings of these stories. These scenes also provide a bit of levity in a pretty serious novel.
My one criticism about this tale is that the ladies are mostly sidelined. Wawaseca is a leader of her community but we rarely see that. We’re told it over and over again but we only see her providing marital comfort to her husband or playing with kids. Late in the story, her character does get a little bit of growth. However, she then becomes a character to pity, not follow. One of the other tribes also has a female leader but she’s described as uppity and rude. Her role is very small. All other ladies are there for comfort. One English lass is described as having a mind to rival any mind in the colony but we only have one brief scene where she cites some Bible trivia. The rest of the time, she’s being a wifely comfort. The ladies could have contributed much more and I was disappointed with their minimal showing.
The tale does have a lot of Bible references but I never felt that the story was preaching at me. For the people in 1670s American colonies, their religion was a major part of their lives so I felt that was reflected well in the story. I also like that there are several views and some people do their best to live up to their chosen spiritual book while others abuse their spiritual authority.
I was very glad to see that the author provides some historical notes at the end about the indulgences he took in creating this tale. The story shows the author’s great care in researching the time and location. This is both enlightening and entertaining. 4.5/5 stars.
The Narration: Angus Freathy was a joy to listen to for this narration. He had the perfect voice for Brewster and also for Linto, the two main characters. I loved all his regional accents for the various characters. There’s also some national accents as Scotsmen and Frenchmen join the cast of characters. My one quibble is that his female character voices weren’t always feminine. All his character voices were distinct. And there’s a bit of singing! Freathy did his singing well and then a short Psalm is sung by a woman (and done well too). The recording quality is excellent. 4.5/5 stars.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by James W. George. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.