Blood Brothers in Louisbourg by Philip Roy | Review
By Philip Roy
Reading Age: 12-16
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Cape Breton University Press (August 15, 2012)
What to Expect: The nature of courage; questions of war and diplomacy; what constitutes civilized culture or savagery; spirituality; survival in a strange land
Jacques loves to read French and Greek philosophers and play the violoncello. He has no interest in military matters. When Jacques turns 15, King Louis XV declares war on the English. Jacques’ father, an officer for the King, decides Jacques must accompany him back to the Fortress of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia and learn how to be a soldier.
Two-feathers, a young Mi’kmaq brave, is on a quest. His mother lived with a soldier at the fortress, but then he married a French woman. Three years after Two-feathers’ birth, Two-feathers’ mother went seeking his father, then disappeared. The tribe raised Two-feathers, but now he must find out what happened to his mother and what his father is truly like.
In different ways, both young men become involved with Celestine, the daughter of a rich merchant who is a friend of Louisbourg’s governor: Jacques has been asked to teach Celestine to play the violoncello, in hopes of cheering her up. Two-feathers falls in love with her at first sight and worries how to save her when the “blue coats” and “red coats” go to war.
Neither Jacque nor Two-feathers realize they are half-brothers, and the author keeps them innocent of this knowledge, even as their paths cross many times in this amazing tale. As each son struggles with personal questions about his father, the author contrasts the two cultures’ approach to war, spirituality, human dignity, love, and loyalty. This is a moving story that rings true and that resonates long after you put down the book.
“It took several days to choose the right bear. When he saw it, he knew right away. So did the bear. It returned Two-feathers’ look with a stare of profound resignation. It didn’t run from him, though it looked like it would have liked to. Instead, it tried to scare him away with a show of strength.”
This book will appeal to 12-to-16-year-old readers who like historical fiction, particularly novels involving North American Indians and the conflict between early British and French settlers in North America
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Blood Brothers in Louisbourg was reviewed by Elizabeth Varadan writes for children and adults. Her middle-grade mystery, set in Victorian London, is in submission and she is currently working on Book Two. Varadan loves to read and write about the Victorian Era and blogs about the many things she uncovers in her research.