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Drums of War Series (Revolutionary War Historical Fiction) Review by Kate Kessler

Independence ~ Bunker Hill ~ A Captive in Williamsburg
Peter Reese Doyle
Providence Foundation
P.O. Box 6759
Charlottesville, VA 22906

The Drums of War Series, by Peter Reese Doyle, is the perfect choice for the historical fiction fan. Book 1, Independence, places us in the homes of two Christian patriot families just before the start of the Revolutionary War. We hear them discuss the potential conflict with England and their understanding of the situation facing them. They talk not only about the political ramifications of war, but also the potential religious ones. They live in a town that has many patriots, or those who believe in the rights of liberty. They are, however, not completely safe. There are many who believe that those who have a love of liberty are really against the King of England-or traitorous to him. It is really a conflict for many it the town as things slowly escalate with England.

The story follows the two eldest boys, budding young men, in the two neighboring families as they attempt to deliver a terribly important message of betrayal to a patriot leader. One of their own is not loyal and will possibly compromise all that the patriot cause has worked for. Will they make it to the patriot leader or will they be captured by the King's men? Will it turn to war and will King George's Governor decide to do something drastic to quell the colonials' fermenting passions?

Woven through the story is another thread of two girls from each family. They learn of an important secret regarding the patriot, Patrick Henry. Will they be captured or will they be able to reach the patriot leadership in time with the warning?

In Book 2, Bunker Hill, we follow the two young men again as they take a sea voyage on their fathers' shipping vessel to help deliver some important supplies to New York. After they succeed they are faced with a decision whether or not to physically help the patriot cause. They end up right in the middle of the Battle for Breeds Hill and Bunker Hill. We get a first-hand look at one of the most important battles of the Revolutionary War and see the perilous situation the patriots find themselves in. The girls also have an adventure of their own in their town.

In Book 3, A Captive in Williamsburg, the passions of some less than savory loyalists boil over and we see the consequences of some of their actions. Courage, daring, boldness, and good thinking all play parts in this book. As the young people have been close family friends, and as the oldest young men and ladies mature, there are some sweet and tender feelings that begin to bud in this book. In previous books there were only small moments of affection or quiet looks of one to another. In this book, it is slightly more, because even the parents discuss it in a courtship type of way, but absolutely nothing improper or inappropriate happens between them. In fact the young man is a daring hero several times and my oldest daughters, ages 9 and 11, as well as myself, all thought these moments to be sweet and amusing. We enjoyed it very much. In fact I read ahead to find out what happens because the "captive" part is very exciting!

They are unashamedly pro-Revolutionary War, and pull no punches in this area-the author clearly supports the patriot viewpoint. The boys are manly boys, courageous and spirited and the girls are full of life and sweet, but are young ladies of the 18th century. I was happy to find them characteristic of the time period, and not influenced by the 21st century. How refreshing! There really is quite a bit of room for the Mr. Doyle to continue the series, as we have not come even close to the end of the war by the end of the third book. We hope he does. At this point, the three are all there are. These books made for some of our most enjoyable read-aloud history supplement time as a family. Not only are they interesting from a historical content point of view, as I really had not read anywhere else of the potential religious consequences of English rule, but also for the sweetness and fine Christian portrayal of the families represented.

-Product Review by Kate Kessler, Product Reviews Manager, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2006