“War is not what you think it is,” warned the rifleman …
Especially the war of the American Revolution. Six rich kids, students at an unusual boarding school in the year 1775, admire the American Colonials from afar. They read all the Bostonians’ pamphlets, follow their battles, and collect souvenirs of the American rebellion.
One by one, each of the students is pulled into the global war for equality and liberty — with unexpected results. Each find that the struggle for human dignity is not quite what they had imagined.
The Colonials is an old-fashioned epic adventure story complete with swashbuckling fights, treachery, hidden identities and assassins.
“Here, Ruan Shou.”
Mei Ying reached into the back of her waistband. She extended her hand to offer me a knife.
“If you’re traveling with me, you better have this.”
It was a wicked dagger, slim, with a bronze hilt and carved wooden grip, and six inches of tapering blade. It was well-balanced and felt indestructible; blade and hilt had never been apart. This was no ornament, but a weapon.
I thanked her.
“What does Ruan Shou mean?” I asked.
“’Soft hands,’” replied Mei Ying
“We require a tribute,” stated the first rider.
Leo, who longed for battle, turned, his eyes growing wide.
“You lot look flush enough — ” said the second.
“Beware, thou rustic. Thou calumniator!” warned Leo in imprecise French.
“You’re Brandenburg,” said one of them to Leo. “You’re safe. For now. Where is the new one?” he scanned our ranks. “Where is the Dutch lad — ”
His eyes found me. My blood turned to ice.
Leo unsheathed a short dagger and rushed at them —
The second rider knocked Leo to the ground without removing his leg from the stirrups.
“Ugh!” Leo splayed on the cobblestone, his knife clattering.
“Give me that– ” The first rider snatched Clotilde’s bag from her arm.
“You can’t– ” she protested.
“Yes, I can. I might take you as well, Princess– ”
Gilbert stepped forward, hand on hilt.
“I am of the King’s Dragoons,” said he, inserting a common gerund between the word ‘king’ and the word ‘dragoons’ to indicate that he was there to give battle.
“Ah, yes, the Nursery-School Regiment. I have heard of it,” chuckled the first rider. “You must be out on maneuvers this morning. Great danger among the fruit stalls. Come a bit closer, Dragoon— ”
A shadow fell sharply across the lane.
The riders looked up, squinting.
About Tom Durwood
Tom Durwood is a teacher, writer and editor with an interest in history. Tom most recently taught English Composition and Empire and Literature at Valley Forge Military College, where he won the Teacher of the Year Award five times. Tom has taught Public Speaking and Basic Communications as guest lecturer for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group at the Dam’s Neck Annex of the Naval War College.
Tom edits an open-access scholarly journal, The Journal of Empire Studies (www.empirestudies.org).
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“A series of historical novels like this is refreshing, and much-needed …”
Lauren E. Snyder / Bookseller, Malaprop Books
The Colonials is clearly well-researched, containing the high-octane adventure quotient of a James Michener novel and the imaginative complexity of a Harry Potter tale.
— Marta Chang, Independent Book Reviews
For Additional Reviews about Tom Durwood and his books, visit tomdurwood.com