Posted in Book Reviews

The Sword & Scabbard: Thieves and Thugs and the Bloody Massacre in Boston: Allen Woods

In every basic U.S. History class, children and teenagers learn about the American Revolution and how the colonists came together to fight unfair taxation by their British counterparts, creating a country founded on the values of freedom, liberty and justice. One of the most notorious events leading up to this revolution was the Boston Massacre, which helped light the spark that fueled a rebellion. But what do we know about the events the paved the way to this historic moment?
The Sword & Scabbard: Thieves and Thugs and the Bloody Massacre in Boston by Allen Woods is the first in a series of novels that answers this question, weaving a story of crime, intrigue and politics to look at an unexplored section of history in a compelling new way.
The streets and taverns of Boston prior to ‘The Bloody Massacre’ were filled with brawls and scrapes, hot words and cold calculations. Nicholas Gray and Maggie Magowan run The Sword and Scabbard, a tavern that is the center of both criminal and political scheming. Each is a fugitive from a dangerous past and their relationship grows fitfully in the midst of historic events. The pair remain suspicious of politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, but are eventually caught in a world where politics and crime meet.
In this thrilling, yet in-depth look at life in the colonies and the onset of the American Revolution, The Sword & Scabbard reveals that:
•Samuel Adams and other leaders saw themselves at war long before bullets flew, and they were willing to use physical intimidation and threats by gangs of unemployed sailors and dockworkers to further their goals.
•The Sons of Liberty had no belief in freedom of the press if someone published information harmful to their cause
•Revolutionary Boston was a city in turmoil, not a mythical place of pure and uniform Revolutionary ideals, and was filled with both self-serving and heroic people, as well as many others who just wished they could be left alone.
•Resistance to the taxes of the Stamp Act (which led to the Massacre and eventually the Revolution) through an import boycott helped John Hancock and other large merchants run smaller competitors out of business.
If, as a reader, you’ve skipped Historical Fiction as a genre, then ‘The Sword’ is for you. Many times these fiction works tend to spend too much time on facts & dates rather than plot & characters. ‘The Sword’ breaks that stereotype. Allen Woods has achieved a very fair balance between actual events & wonderfully crafted fiction.
The American Revolution is usually written about in a romance novel & while there is some romance, the majority of the novel involves action. Another plus is that, although the dialogue is correct for the era, it’s not overwhelming to the point where it becomes monotonous. Nicholas & Maggie are both intelligent & strong leads, completely believable for the time period. With the amount of action, ‘The Sword’ has changed my opinion towards historical fiction as a whole.
While there are both violent & sexual situations included, one would expect as much during a time of war. Neither takes away from the value of the book. It is worth a read. Look for more books in the series to come soon. I give it 4 stars total.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.
Synopsis was provided by publisher. Cover pic belongs to publisher.

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