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Blood on the River: James Town, 1607 Paperback – September 20, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
I have just finished Elisa Carbone's superb Blood on the River.
NOW I get it.
Other books have accurately and factually recounted the history of the James Town settlement but Carbone has brought it to life. Using real characters from the colony's registers, she has recreated a story that is an absolute page turner. We smell the stench of the ships and see the frost on the ground. The distrust between the English and the Wampanoag is palpable. The gnawing hunger, the "summer sickness" and the scent of wood fires is so strong, I felt like I was within the palisade walls.
Young Samuel Collier is bound as a page to Captain John Smith on the eve of his departure for Virginia. Sam's fierce temper and survival sense will be his undoing and his salvation in the new land. The perils of the voyage at sea and the political turmoil that plagued the expedition from the onset are vividly described. The useless "gentlemen" resent the common sense of John Smith and his lack of respect for his "betters." Before they even arrive on Virginia's shores, the "gentlemen" have clapped Smith in irons and plan to hang him.
Sam clearly sees the issues confronting the colony but as a servant he is powerless. His loyalty to Smith serves him well. Smith teaches him to fight with a sword and how to use a musket. He also arranges for Sam to stay with a friendly Indian tribe during the second winter so he can learn their language and survival skills instead of going hungry at the settlement. Sam revels in his time with the tribe, realizing their lifestyle is perfectly adapted to the harsh environment. He respects their traditions and their pride as a nation. It is with great reluctance that he returns to James Town when winter is over.
The reader fumes along with Sam at the stupidity of the Virginia Company. Their reliance on old world ideas of "gentlemen" leaders dooms many settlers to death. It is only when John Smith is voted on, by the colonists, to become their president that the colony's fortunes take a turn for the better. The story of Pocahontas is part of the storyline. Carbone chooses a likely version of her rescue of John Smith and depicts her as the child she really was at the time.
In the afterword, Carbone includes excellent notes and suggestions for additional reading. She describes her research which was fascinating to read on its own.
"I asked teachers and librarians for suggestions. "What would you most like to see a new novel about?" I asked. The answer came over and over: Jamestown.
I thought, "That old story? John Smith and Pocahontas AGAIN? Booooooring!"
In Carbone's hands -- boring? Not at all! This is some of the best historical fiction I have read since The Blood Red Horse. Highly recommended.
Blood on the River is my favorite book I've ever read that I remember. I never liked any realistic-fiction or history type books. Blood on the River is not just a good book it's the best. The book could have no story to it and I would still read because the author's language is absolutely amazing.
Samuel Collier is the main character in the book Blood on the River. Samuel Collier is a very mischievous boy in the beginning. Throughout the book you get to see Samuel starts his life on the streets of England and go to being a fine gentleman at Jamestown in the New World. The message in the book is realistic to me, because of seeing, and hearing things in the world about it. The message in the book is how anyone can change with a little encouragement and if they are willing to try. When you start to read this book you will never put it down because no matter what kind of books you like to read, fantasy, nonfiction or whatever this is a great book.
Blood on the River has not only great voice and language the authors put a wonderful story with it. The setting in this book takes place in England and Jamestown in the New World. The few main characters are Samuel Collier, he is a young boy who has lost his mom and learns how to be a well civilized gentleman. One person that has acted like a father to Samuel is Reverend Hunt he is a Reverend who went to the New World and he assisted Samuel becomes the man he became in the end. Someone else who I believe to aided Samuel the most is Captain John Smith he was a great leader and had a great sense of judgment and was not greedy which I think set a good example for everyone in Jamestown.
Blood on the River isn't just a must read because it's a great book and you will want to read it over and over again. The literature she uses in the book is absolutely amazing. I hope that you do choose to read the book because you are in for a great time if you do.