Author: Samuel Endicott
The following review was contributed by: NORM GOLDMAN: Editor of Bookpleasures &CLICK TO VIEW Norm Goldman's Reviews
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Most historians probably agree that one of the most crucial battles of the North American theatre of the Seven Years’ War (known in the USA as the French Indian War), was the English victory over the French in Quebec City on the 13th of September, 1759.
The turning episode was the crucial encounter that was fought just outside the city walls of the city, when the British under the command of General Wolfe and his soldiers scaled the Heights of Abraham to defeat General Montcalm.
Set against the background of this Canadian epic, Samuel Endicott’s debut novel, Molly Lake, is an entertaining and riveting narrative intertwining many tantalizing themes.
Our saga unfolds when Canadian raiders together with their Iroquois partners from New France abduct Marie Lake, an inhabitant of Schenectady, New York, from her log cabin, and at the same time viciously kill her young son.
In order to rescue Marie, her husband Peter and their feisty fifteen year old daughter, Molly, join a British frigate in New York City, the Pembroke, which is en route to Quebec City to meet up with General Wolfe’s naval fleet in their quest for their final defeat of the French.
Endicott has done a great deal of research popularizing history, particularly in his descriptions of the British attempts to find possible landing spots and the daunting tasks they faced, the ghastly battles that ensue, the cover-ups and betrayals, and in particular the portrayals of the corrupt Governor Vaudreuil, Intendant Bigot and their cohorts, as they had a jolly good time of lining their pockets and partying, while the majority of the population grumbled of not having sufficient food to eat.
As for our heroine, Molly, Endicott has painted a picture of a kind of teenage James Bond, who seems to have nine lives, escaping death several times. She also proves to be quite an invaluable asset to General Wolfe and his colleagues in their quest for victory against the French.
The author even throws in a complicated love story, when Mary falls for an enemy soldier, who turns out to be the nephew of the crooked Intendant Bigot.
All of which leads to our inevitable bonding to Molly, as we somehow have the gut feeling that she is going to survive all of her ordeals.
While this fast paced novel is certainly not lacking in imaginative details, I did find some of the dialogue a trifle trite. Furthermore, the French characters seemed to sound more American than French.
However, on the other hand, the book works on a number of levels, particularly pertaining to inaccurate conceptions of Canadian and Quebec history that many readers may have had prior to the reading of the book. Candidly, I must admit that it has changed my perception of my county’s history, that up to now I had found to be quite boring. Perhaps, this may be due to the manner in which it was jammed down my throat, when I was a teenager attending school in Montreal.