Tuesday, August 26, 2014


By George Hamilton
Historical Fiction at its best
This is an excellent historical novel set in 18th century relative to the island of Jamaica in the West Indies and vast sugar plantations owned by British and tended to by black slaves under most severe conditions.  In the past, a large group of escaped slaves, who were called Maroons, signed a treaty with the British that they would live in peace and in return would be available to find escaped slaves and bring them in.  They had their own town and had been awarded acreage on which to live and farm.  Through the years, many of the Maroons had gone away high into the mountains in order to be more free and as such, became as independent and capable as their kinsfolks living in Africa, whereas black slaves had most of that bred out of them.
Charles Morley, son of one of the British plantation owners, believed that if conditions were kept reasonable for their black slaves and punishments weren’t severe, he could get more work out of them than being whipped harshly.  He even was teaching a few to read.  One day his father brought home two new slaves, a handsome Black girl, Catalina about seventeen years old and a young boy, Adam.  Catalina had run away twice from her former masters and she was just waiting for the chance to do so again.  She intuited that Charles wanted her the first time he saw her, but he wanted her to come to him of her own volition. It was his intention to educate  her to the point, that he could marry her and she could run his household.  His father was determined that Charlie would marry a British heiress and he would own and manage both estates.  His father took Charles to England, where he finally settled on an English girl, Dianne, whose father owned the adjacent estate, and he married her before returning home.
However, it was his intention to make Catalina his true wife and he managed to sidestep consummating his marriage with his new wife and took Catalina to bed.  After some time, Dianne was kidnapped by a Maroon, a powerful, handsome, Black, who brought sexual desire to the forefront in Dianne’s life.  She was released and returned home to Charles.  She knew Charles was sleeping with Catalina, but couldn’t stop it.  Charles impregnated both of the young women about the same time.  And this is a very poignant feature of this story,
The story encompasses the history of Jamaica and the battles between the British and the Maroons when the British broke their treaty.  There is much history, cultural background, passion and violence so that the story never gets stale or dull.  I loved this tale.
I received a complimentary copy of Road to Rebellion for an honest review.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


By Neil Grimmett
Dark, mysterious, treacherous actions and reactions.

This story starts out in 1951 at a Royal Ordnance Factory in Bridgewater when the nitration plant, which contained an extremely volatile, most powerful explosive, exploded killing five men.  This explosive wasn’t as dangerous at nuclear power in that it didn’t contaminate the lands for hundreds of years, but in its explosive ability, it matched it.  The contents of this liquid in the  nitration plant could not be trusted and when it reached an explosive condition, had to be corrected by certain techniques of the head scientist and another employee.  Charlie Stone, extremely experienced with this monster, could tell when it was becoming dangerous by feeling parts of the nitration pipes.  On this particular day, he knew it was reaching these proportions, but could not locate the head scientist and his helper to do the necessary to control.  Consequently Charlie managed to send one of his men out of the area to warn the townfolks and Charlie and five men died in the ensuing explosion.
One of the men who died was Gerald Browning, whose son, Byron, was born at that time and when Byron grew up he went to college and became a scientist because his mother always believed that it was through deliberate mishandling of the explosive that caused the terrible disaster.  The exploded area was walled off and a new nitration plant built.  Byron hired out as just a worker in training so he would be freer to explore and detect what must have happened in the first explosion.
The grimness of the story comes from the characters involved in the various aspects of those times in 1951 and now, as history seemed to be repeating itself and the young chemist who was working when Byron hired out was murdered.  The author makes everything a mystery like this explosive, the plant, some of the main characters and their importance that unravels as the story proceeds.  This is not a joyful or enlightening tale, but it is intriguing, and perhaps more suited to the reading tastes of men rather than women because it is mainly about men, their personalities and idiosyncrasies.
I was given a complimentary copy of this story for an honest review.