The Firekeeper: A Narrative of the Eastern Frontier

Robert Moss, Author
Robert Moss, Author Forge $24.95 (512p) ISBN 978-0-312-85738-7
Reviewed on: 07/03/1995
Release date: 07/01/1995
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In Moss's vibrant docu-novel, the American colonial frontier is aflame during the 1700s as imperial rivalry pits colonists against British and French armies and their Indian allies. This follow-up to Fire Along the Sky tells the fictionalized story of the real-life Sir William Johnson, an Irish immigrant who settled in New York's Mohawk Valley to earn his fortune and became the only white chief (the ``Firekeeper'') of the Iroquois of the Six Nations. In Moss's politically correct account, ``Billy'' is depicted as a high-spirited rake, a shrewd but honest businessman and the only white man the Indians trust. Seeing the treacherous efforts of both French and British efforts to steal Indian lands, Johnson fights colonial corruption and duplicity to defend the Six Nations from the white man's menace. When the French and Indian War erupts in 1756 and the valleys of the frontier burn and bleed from raids and ambushes, his leadership and influence keep the Six Nations firmly on the British side; eventually, the Indians join his militia in the assault against the French fort at Crown Point during the Battle of Lake George. Surrounding Johnson are such colorful historical figures as Ben Franklin, George Washington and the hapless General Braddock, all carefully woven into the narrative. Moss, who is perhaps best known for his suspense novels (Moscow Rules, etc.), backs his vigorous adventure story with detailed research, summarized in extensive source notes. Author tour. (July)
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