Lori Benton, who was raised in the Appalachian Mountains surrounded by history,
has chosen to make those early days of the fight for America's independence come alive through her writings. But her prize winning books go so much deeper than the conflict between Patriots and Loyalist, as Benton delves into the worlds of multiple Native American nations, who they align their loyalties with, how they interact with white settlers, and even how some of them accept missionary influence. A FLIGHT OF ARROWS is book two in the PATHFINDER series and continues the story begun in THE WOOD'S EDGE. I have not read the first book, but I was able to follow A FLIGHT OF ARROWS without any difficulty. However, I recommend that others read the first book and then this one because you will have a deeper understanding of the characters and their conflicts if you do.
In book one, Reginald Aubrey, then a young redcoat, stole a baby boy, the lighter of Oneida twins, and replaced the boy with his own dead newborn. For years, he and his wife (deceased in book two) raised the Oneida twin as their white child, even sending him back to Wales to live. As a young man, he attended Oxford. It is only at the end of book one that William learns his true identity and flees his American home, determined never to see his adopted father again. As book two opens, he has joined British forces and will soon fight the patriots. His sister Anna and their father Reginald have a precarious relationship, partly because of the lie Reginald has kept secret all these years, but mostly because he does not approve that Anna has fallen in love with William's darker, Oneida twin Two Hawks. Clearly Reginald's entire life has been tainted by his deceit, even his chance for a second marriage to Lydia, a midwife who cares deeply for him and Anna. Even though William's Oneida family -- his mother Good Voice (a white who had been a captive since childhood), his father Stone Thrower, and the twin Two Hawks -- have chosen to forgive Reginald, an action drawn from their faith, Reginald cannot let go of his guilt. As the days grow closer to battle, the two families decide that they must find William before it is too late to make amends.
Benton has done a superb job of illustrating the cultural differences through out the book. Even the speaking and thought patterns of Two Hawks' family differs from their white counterparts. And the seemingly impossible love between Two Hawks and Anna is examined from many different perspectives including why his Oneida family would disapprove of the union. Amidst the brutality of battle (especially the Seneca Indians quest for revenge), the message of Christ's love and sacrifice shines through. While the battles, the differences in culture, and the wide cast of main characters made the book a slower read than many Christian historical fiction titles, it is well worth the necessity to read slow and digest what is happening. I received a copy of this title from Blogging for Books for my honest review.