SPARROWHAWK BOOK IV: Empire

Edward Cline, Author . MacAdam/Cage $24 (170p) ISBN 978-1-931561-87-7

Cline turns his attention to the antitax movement that helped shape the American Revolution, specifically the battle to stop the Stamp Act and the subsequent rebellion that started in Virginia. Hugh Kenrick, the hero of volume two, becomes a burgess in the Virginia legislature and leads the charge to push a series of resolutions to repeal the Stamp Act. Kenrick receives a key assist in his fight from a friend in England, Dogmael Jones, who procures a copy of the law and sends it to Kenrick in advance, giving him time to form alliances and prepare his arguments against the corrupt legislation. Cline's prose style is often as ponderous and pedantic as the language of the laws he describes, and he wears his research on his sleeve, slowing the story with unnecessary minutiae and excess detail. The pace picks up down the stretch with some stirring oration during the debates surrounding the final fate of Kenrick's resolutions, and the climax features an equally stirring cameo appearance from Patrick Henry. Thomas Jefferson, Adam Smith and Samuel Johnson also make brief appearances. History buffs may find the legal maneuverings intriguing, but the leaden writing and lack of narrative momentum makes it unlikely that this volume will earn Cline many new readers. (Dec. 7)

Reviewed on: 11/15/2004
Release date: 12/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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