The Brand is a historical fiction novel centered on the War of Independence at the American Colonies of the 18th Century. This is an action-adventure saga focusing on Anglo-Irish, Native American and women’s issues set against a revolutionary backdrop. This revenge tragedy sets the major protagonists against an oppressive regime in Northern Ireland, resulting in their migration to the Colonies to seek vengeance against the forces of the Crown. They recruit among equally persecuted groups in the Colonies, but find their loyalties questioned by the divided leadership among the rebel Patriots. The conflict finds resolution as the insurgents earn their victory and the Irishmen wreak their own vengeance at a terrible price.
Sean Coleraine is a former British prisoner having been branded by his captors with the SS symbol (Sower of Sedition). He and his friends travel to England from Ulster at great risk to seek the aid of legendary highwayman Flynn Ravernet. They tell him of a transfer of bullion worth £100,000 en route to Boston via Philadelphia where it will be invested in a ‘superfort’ designed to paralyze the rebel logistical system in the Colonies. A skeptical Ravernet is eventually persuaded to accompany the Irishmen to America where rebel forces await their arrival.
Colonel Keith Blackmore has been entrusted to build the fortress at Boston Harbor, and delegates responsibility for the gold shipment to Captain James O’Connell. The Captain’s weakness is his daughter Beth, who has become sympathetic to the rebel cause as an act of defiance against her father and the chauvinistic Colonial society. Coleraine infiltrates the British stronghold in Philadelphia and seduces Beth, convincing her to join their cause as an ace in the hole against the British.
Ravernet next sets up a meeting with Chief Raton of the Iroquois. Their suspicions of the ‘peace-loving’ British are confirmed, and they agree to join Ravernet in his sting operation. Coleraine seeks to hedge his bets by reaching out to the Marquis of Catalonia, whose Imperial overlords in Spain are seething over their gradual relinquishment of their territories to the British Empire. Ravernet uses his charms to win the favor of the Marquis’ daughter Magdalene, who convinces her father to support the Irishmen’s sting operation.
The British find themselves cutting off their noses to spite their faces as they alienate everyone involved in the fragile coalition. The women protagonists are treated as chattel by their overlords, the Spanish as an inferior race, and the Indians as uncivilized brutes. Though the schemers are reluctantly accepted by the Patriots, men such as Benjamin Franklin find value in the conspirators and eventually provide support to the bloody but successful act of vengeance.
This work of historical fiction has both action/adventure dynamics enhanced by romantic interests and essential social discussions resonating with present-day dialogues. The author’s trademark elements of irony, snappy dialogue and Shakespearean tragedy stand in bold relief of this compelling page-turner. The Brand is a cross-genre classic not to be forgotten.