Traitor to the Crown: The Patriot Witch
History provides its own backdrop and tapestry to our lives. We know, at least in broad strokes, our nation’s history. But what if we didn’t actually know the entire story? Alternate history novels play with the past, and The Patriot Witch blends its portrayal of the American Revolution with magic.
When Proctor Brown, a minuteman, musters for duty on the night of April 19, 1775, he has no clue that he’ll play a part in a historic event. Before the night is over, the “shot heard ’round the world” will be fired, and Proctor will be involved in the Revolutionary War’s first battle.
But Proctor has bigger concerns than fighting the British: He can scry, and such powers are the purview of witches.
With no idea how to handle his powers, he searches desperately for someone to consult. In the process, he discovers that not all witches hide their powers … and not all witches fight for the fledgling States. Proctor may be using a gun and bayonet, but he’s also being drawn into a war of magic: one that may topple the young revolution before it ever begins.
Finlay chose wisely by making the American Revolution this series’ conflict. The battles and events are so iconic that readers quickly will pick up on the references. Starting the novel on the night of the Battle of Lexington and Concord propels readers directly into the tale.
That said, the story does stall in the middle. Proctor needs to find out about his powers and connect with those who can help him; although he meets some interesting characters, all this removes him from the fighting. On the plus side, this detour gives the author a chance to paint a picture of the early Americans’ common way of life.
The trilogy’s second book–A Spell for the Revolution–already is available, and The Demon Redcoat will debut on June 23. If you have a passion for history and a willingness to wonder “what if,” then the The Patriot Witch is right for you.
This review appeared in the Davis Enterprise on June 18, 2009.