Sunday, June 7, 2015


ISBN #: 978-0990884101
Page Count: 348
Copyright: January 2, 2015
Publisher: Boston Heritage Publishing

(Taken from back cover)

The streets and taverns of Boston before "The Bloody Massacre" were filled with brawls and scrapes, hot words and cold calculations. Firebrands like Samuel Adams claimed high revolutionary ideals for the Sons of Liberty, while John Hancock and other well-to-do merchants found smuggling very rewarding. The Tory lords stuffed their pockets with silver and scorned the rude Americans and their democratic ideas. Informers worked both sides of the street while crowds of itinerant, unemployed sailors and dockworkers ruled the streets and intimidated Customs officials with beatings and hot tar.

Nicholas Gray and Maggie Magowan run The Sword and Scabbard, a North End tavern which is home to both criminal and political intrigue. Each is a fugitive from a dangerous past and their relationship grows fitfully in the midst of the turmoil. They view the politics of the time with a cynical eye but are eventually caught up in the conflicts. Finally, Nicholas must choose between saving himself and crippling the march towards the Revolution.

Charlene's Review:

Set prior to what we now refer to as the "Boston Massacre", Mr. Woods introduces us to Nicholas Gray, a small crime, bar tending fugitive. Having deserted the British Navy, he has changed his name and is in hiding. He resides with bar owner, Maggie, and together, they run "the Sword and Scabbard". On the streets around them, trouble is never far away, as redcoats and the Sons of Liberty clash in a political offensive amid economic and societal issues.

I wish I could tell you that I learned a great deal about this time in history, and that is not because Mr Woods did not have the information, or the ability to tell it. Unfortunately, my historical radar has never been clear, and I glossed over quite a bit. My focus in this novel was more on the relationships and persons of Nicholas and Maggie, as well as the surrounding characters that brought a softer reality to the tale. The complexity of the characters and their flaws and weaknesses made them even more real. I even loved the secondary characters of Mouse and Julius for their quiet support working in the background.

The Sword & Scabbard is the first in a series of novels that will follow Nicholas and Maggie through the Massacre up until the Constitution. Mr. Woods took on a daunting task, retelling the days leading up to Revolution. Historical fiction may not be my genre, but there is so much more in this novel.

4 out of 5 stars

*A physical copy of this book was provided via Authoramp in exchange for an honest review.

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