Sparrowhawk Book lll: Caxton

Written by Edward Cline
Review by Mark F. Johnson

Book I of this series introduced Jack Frake, a poor runaway who fell in with smugglers and was eventually shipped off to the American colonies as an indentured servant. Book II told the story of Hugh Kenrick, born into nobility and destined to be an earl. Hugh despised the false deference paid to people of his status and questioned the right of the monarchy to rule, an attitude that eventually forced him to flee to the New World. It is there, in the Virginia tobacco country in 1759, that these two seemingly disparate personalities meet and become good friends.

Cline’s goal with this series is to highlight the seldom-seen grassroots dissension in the Colonies that became the flint from which the first sparks of the Revolution were struck. Long before the Boston Tea Party and Valley Forge, there were patriots like Jack and Hugh; citizens of a country not yet born, but certainly conceived. As with Books I and II, the writing here is superb. I often found myself smiling with joy at a particular passage, so perfectly was it written. This is more than a great story. This is art.