The first sentence of the book was catching, “The stench was overbearing, even on the upwind side of the battlefield.” However, the rest of the first chapter was a struggle. Throughout the book, it was difficult at times to keep track of who was who and to which military they belonged. Also, there were few errors throughout including both names and grammar. Overall, the meaning behind the story was intriguing and made me curious as to how it was going to end.
I really enjoyed the meaning behind the story; the struggle between America (mainly North Carolina settlers) and Britain in control of home and land. Most of the Americans wanted control of their own land and not have the British control their land and money. This is the land the Americans have settled on and worked hard to make a functional property to support their families. The story doesn’t focus on just one character. It focuses more on the war between the Loyalists (Britain) and the Liberty Men (America). However, there was a slight focus on a boy named Jacob Godley and his family. Jacob and his four brothers are divided when they choose the side they support in the war. Jacob and his younger brother choose to fight with the Liberty Men while their three older brothers fight with the Loyalists.
The division between the brothers is what really got me through this book. I was interested to see what was going to happen between them. Would they all survive? Would they be forced to fight each other? Would some of the brothers die? Would all the brothers die? The Godley brothers were not the only family to be divided by the war, but they were main family of focus.
Throughout the book, there were many names mentioned of soldiers and their family. Majority of the names reflect real people and their story. I appreciated the historical “update” in the Afterword. It was nice to get a partial briefing on what happened to some survivors after the war ambush. One name that doesn’t reflect a real person is Jacob Godley. Regardless, we also get an update of what might have happened to him had he been a real person.
As a reader, you either sided with the Loyalists or the Liberty Men. In the beginning, I didn’t have much of an opinion on which side I would choose. However, after getting deeper into the story and seeing how the Loyalists treated the families of the Liberty Men, it was hard not to support the Liberty Men. The Liberty Men were the underdogs in every war leading up to the final war that liberated North Carolina from Britain. The Loyalists were gaining soldiers at an exceptional rate. Coincidentally, the Loyalists gained the majority of their army by threatening anyone who hadn’t pledged their allegiance to the King with hangings unless they swore their allegiance to the King.
Even though I found this book difficult to read, I’m glad I did. It was nice to get a more personal perspective on a feud between two armies during the late 1700’s. Joe Epley did a wonderful job writing the story of the men and women affected, whether directly or indirectly, by the war.
Closed the Cover