Monmouth : A novel by Charles Bracelen Flood
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1961. First Edition. Stated. Hardcover. 349 pages ; 22 cm. $4.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. Pages are age toned and unmarked. Binding is firm.
THE BATTLE OF MONMOUTH was the culmination of the first great testing of a new nation — the cruel winter at Valley Forge. It is this period of trial and its dramatic climax that Charles Bracelen Flood brings to life in his fourth novel, Monmouth.
Throughout the winter of 1778 a gallant handful of American soldiers stood between Philadelphia, where General Sir William Howe and his regiments were comfortably quartered, and the sick and starving Continental Army, twenty miles inland at Valley Forge. Sharpest of all the thorns in Howe's side was the fighting company of scouts and spies commanded by Captain Allen McLane, whose cavalrymen were equally adept at attacking British outposts and slipping into the city in disguise.
This is the story of these men and of the long winter of suffering and training that was the low point in the fortunes of the Colonies. It is a story told in human terms — through the adventures of Nicholas Burk, one of McLane's officers, and of Charity Avery, the beautiful widow who loved him and risked her life as a spy in Philadelphia. There Sir William Howe and his mistress presided over lavish entertainments, while in Valley Forge General Washington wrote letters to the Continental Congress begging for food and clothing for his men, and Baron von Steuben feverishly drilled his "Army of scarecrows" for the decisive battle both sides knew would come in the spring.
In June, when Howe's successor, Sir Henry Clinton, marched out of Philadelphia under the threat of the French fleet, Washington's hardened troops fell on the British column at Monmouth Court House in New Jersey. Monmouth was a turning point in the War of Independence. The men of McLane's company were in the thick of the savage battle which was almost lost through the cowardice and confusion of one American general and only just saved by the resolute courage of another.
Endurance, love, courage, battle, and triumph are the themes of this exciting and brilliant recreation of one of America's grimmest yet finest moments.
At twenty-three Charles Bracelen Flood published his first novel, Love Is a Bridge, which won a Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship and was received with great critical praise. That book and his two succeeding novels, A Distant Drum and Tell Me, Stranger, are concerned with the contemporary scene. Monmouth is his first excursion into historical fiction.
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