Deserted by his father after his mother’s death, thirteen-year old Nathaniel Dunn is relieved when Basil, a music teacher, takes him under his wing. The pair arrives in Williamsburg in 1774 where Nathaniel begins work for the local carriage maker.
As the royal governor and the king’s loyalists attempt to control the colonists more tightly, it becomes apparent that there will be no peaceful resolution to the tension. Through his friendship with the elderly schoolmaster Basil, Nathaniel is exposed to music, philosophy, and the political ideas of the day.
While Nathaniel’s inclination is to keep to himself and avoid trouble, he cannot help but be caught up in the events around him. In the end, Nathaniel must determine what he believes and act accordingly. The final scenes take place at the Battle of Great Bridge, where Nathaniel encounters people from his past as well as the British army.
Elliott packs a great deal of historical detail into a well-researched novel already filled with action, well-drawn characters, a sympathetic understanding of many points of view, and an introduction to many of the renowned patriots of the period. A detailed timeline and a lengthy bibliography conclude this solid historical novel that portrays the period and the characters with equal care.
Note: As students read higher level literature, there is more language to be aware of, and this particular book uses “Great God” and “Good God” in a way that is most likely not meant to be worshipful. Should you wish to use white out in these instances, the page numbers are noted for you within the Revival to Revolution guide.