Brock’s Traitor

Written by Tom Taylor
Review by Cindy Vallar

Exhausted after only three months of fighting and recovering from a wound suffered at Queenston Heights in October of 1812, Jonathan Westlake is stunned to receive a letter from General Isaac Brock, written shortly before his death. There’s a traitor in the British army, and Jonathan reluctantly agrees to uncover his identity. The search soon uncovers many disgruntled Canadians whose talk in taverns along the St. Lawrence borders on treason. But these are basically good men, not the traitor he’s after.

American riflemen, led by Lieutenant Tasker, have been raiding Canadian towns and homesteads, kidnapping and imprisoning men believed to be members of the militia, including his uncle. In attempting to rescue him, Jonathan is almost captured, and later, his worst fears come to pass just as he discovers who the traitor is. Thought to be a spy, Jonathan finds himself a prisoner in Sacketts Harbor, where preparations are underway for an assault on York. But escaping in time to warn the British of the invasion and reveal the traitor’s identity become complicated. Tasker and his men have orders to shoot Jonathan on sight. When the traitor goes missing, Jonathan must uncover the ringleader of the spies, which may prove costlier and more shocking than he ever suspects.

Taylor deftly weaves complicated threads into a compelling story of honor populated with characters as complex as real people. He ably demonstrates that nothing is black and white, especially in times of war, and sometimes choices made have outcomes no one can predict. The intensity of Brock’s Traitor captures readers from the start and never lets go until the last page is turned. Even then, the characters and story continue to haunt long after the reader finishes the book.