Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Battle of Seattle by Douglas Bond

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley
Read: November 18, 2016

It’s 1855 in the Pacific Northwest, and hostility between white settlers and native tribes is rising quickly, leading to deaths on both sides. As tensions mount, young William Tidd joins Charles Eaton’s Rangers on a mission to hunt down Chief Leschi of the Nisqually. If they can stop him, they may be able to end the bloodshed before it gets worse . . . but not everyone wants peace with the enemy. Is all-out war inevitable? Through skirmishes, raids, close calls, and betrayal—William’s assumptions, beliefs, courage, and friendships will all be challenged in a few breakneck weeks.

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Battle of Seattle by Emily Inez Denny
Douglas Bond’s The Battle of Seattle jumped out at me because of its unusual subject matter. I wasn't overly familiar with the history on which it was based, but the story promised to take me into the unknown and I was more than ready to venture into an unfamiliar chapter of American history.

Looking back on the piece, I can honestly say that I appreciate Bond’s effort to chronicle the life and experiences of William Tidd, an express rider who carried dispatches in the Puget Sound Indian War. I’ve a sneaking suspicion that locals will find the text more illuminating than this Southern California reviewer, but I did enjoy the material and found myself intrigued by the politics of the conflict and the social elements that played into the fabric of the narrative.

That said, I found Bond’s presentation difficult to navigate and somewhat tedious. The author obviously put a lot of research into the novel, but I often felt I was being told more than I was shown. I found the characters interesting, but that recognize that fell into well-known and overused tropes. My greatest concern, however, was how distracting I found the religious undertones of the story. Please don’t misunderstand, I took no offense at the author’s message, but I didn’t feel theme and plot came together as they should. I recognize this is a matter of taste, but I really needed the two to be more integrated and intertwined.

When all is said and done, I’m happy to have sampled Bond’s work and will likely read him again, but I think The Battle for Seattle caters to a very specific audience and is best suited to those readers with a vested interest in the history of the Pacific Northwest and/or faith based fiction.

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He was in despair. It was all his fault. William know that his testimony, far from helping to clear Charlie, would be used instead to convict the Indian of a crime he did not commit. William was sure of it. But he was equally sure that in the aftermath of the Indian war, Charlie was guilty in the minds of those who sat in judgement on him.
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