A Spell for the Revolution by C.C. Finlay

 

After making early gains on the battlefields, General Washington’s struggling young armies are being relentlessly pressed back by British troops and Hessian mercenaries. Among the enemy’s ranks is a mysterious force from the Covenant, a secret society of evil witches that for centuries has been pulling the strings of European history: a Hessian necromancer who drinks the power of other witches like a vampire and whose allies include devils and ghosts. Now this man seeks to sap the fighting spirit of Washington’s troops by means of a pernicious curse, chaining the souls of the dead to the spirits of the living.

Against him stand Proctor Brown and Deborah Walcott, two young patriots who lead a ragtag band of witches as much in danger from their own side as from the enemy. Proctor and Deborah must find a way to break the Hessian’s curse before the newborn revolution is smothered in its cradle—and the Covenant extends its dark dominion to the shores of America, extinguishing forever the already sputtering torch of liberty.

A Spell for the Revolution is the second book in the Traitor to the Crown trilogy.  It begins in August 1776 and ends in May 1777.  While it’s not necessary to read A Patriot Witch first I would recommend it.  Finlay does a good job of summarizing past events and relationships without dragging the story down but this book reads like it’s the middle of a long story because of the relationship between Proctor and Deborah.  He loves her and thinks she feels the same way but he can’t tell.  He can’t court  her properly due to the war.  Proctor and Deborah spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to break the Hessian’s curse which takes some trial and error. 

The powers of Proctor and Deborah compliment each other.  Deborah has experience and more control.  Proctor is more intuitive in deciding which words may serve as a better focus for his spell.

Though I wasn’t crazy about this book it wasn’t enough to keep me away from the final book in the trilogy, The Demon Redcoat.

The Patriot Witch by C. C. Finlay

I have C.C. Finlay’s blog on my LiveJournal f-list so I’ve been hearing about The Patriot Witch and the other books in his Traitor to the Crown series for a while now. When his publisher offered it as a free download I took the opportunity to find out how Finlay executed his idea.

What if witches were involved on both sides of the American Revolution and were able to have a hand in the outcome of the war? Call me prejudiced or conditioned, but I thought the main witch character in The Patriot Witch would be a woman.  To discover Proctor Brown, a minuteman, is the title witch was a pleasant surprise.

Finlay weaves fictional characters with real people and events.  The real people are military and historical figures.  Proctor Brown symbolizes the average man.  He’s a farmer’s son in his 20s with goals.  Proctor would like to get married and expand the farm into the cattle business.  The war necessitates changes to his plans and he finds himself involved with witches.

The first hundred pages are slow but Finlay is packing in a lot of cultural information and introducing multiple characters that return later in the story.  As the pace picks up, it’s a difficult book to put down.  It has spies, fights to the death, and even zombies.

When all is said and done, Finlay executed the idea well and leaves the reader wanting to find out what happens to Proctor Brown.