The Lily and the Rose

Written by David More
Review by Jo Ann Butler

In 1761 the North American colonies are a bone of contention. Timber and fur provide wealth for their British and French overlords, but the French see their influence in the Great Lakes area slipping away, and the Iroquois, Delaware, and other tribes are horrified as British immigrants invade their homelands. Who shall control undeveloped lands – Indians, settlers, or the feuding countries? Some tribes ally with French troops to destroy British outposts. Others, particularly the Iroquois alliance of New York, remain loyal to Great Britain. Sir William Smithyman serves as Britain’s go-between with the Iroquois, and is the subject of a pair of historical novels by David More. In his second book, The Lily and the Rose, More deals with the French and Indian War.

I looked forward to More’s book, especially because it takes place in my upstate New York home. However, too much action takes place out of readers’ sight because the war occurred over several years in far-flung outposts. A map would have been very helpful. It’s clear that the author has thoroughly researched his subject, and his atmosphere is very good, but writing from both French and British perspectives requires a huge cast of characters. While interestingly drawn, they did not impel the complicated story lines forward, and Billy Smithyman remained a cipher. I have not read The Eastern Door, and maybe Smithyman was thoroughly introduced there. Go ahead and try The Lily and the Rose for a look at a poorly known period in American history, but start with The Eastern Door.