Monday, November 22, 2021

Review: Links to Liberty by Robert J. Skead

I always seem to have a shortage of historical fiction for middle graders. So, today's review is a book that already had me smiling before I opened to the first page. This is the third in a series surrounding the American Revolutionary War and follows the adventures of two teens as they do their best to fight for what they believe in and much more. 

So, it's time to step back in time! 

Defending the Great Chain of West Point
by Robert J Skead
Knox Press
Upper Middle Grade Historical Fiction
224 pages
ages 10 to 14

Teenage twin boys go on an adventure protecting the Great Chain at West Point, which turns into a rescue mission when one of them gets captured by the Redcoats!

The year: 1779
The war: the American Revolution
The secret weapon: twin boys and a Great Chain at West Point

In this third book in the American Revolutionary War Adventures series, John and Ambrose Clark are hot on the trail of the spy who gave away the secret of their father’s mission, which ultimately led to him being shot by Redcoats. But when there is an attack on America’s new strategic defense on the Hudson River—the Great Chain at West Point—the twins must protect it. They soon discover things aren’t always as they seem and their friends have deadly connections. Discover how the boys’ faith in Providence and each other help the cause for Liberty!



The dangers and tension of the American Revolutionary War hit with vivid reality, while weaving in secrets, adventure, and more than a few solid facts.

John and Ambrose Clark are given two possibilities of what to do next, but before they make their decision, a man is murdered in the room next to theirs. When they see the initials of the same gentleman, who killed their father, they immediately are on his trail. An enemy attack forces them to return to the battlefield in hopes of protecting the country, and they soon find that secrets run deeper than they first believed.

I did not read the first books in this series before tackling this one, and that was a mistake, since this tale starts where the last one ended. Despite the missing background information (which did leave me feeling a little at a fault, obviously), the author starts this book out full thrust forward into adventure. The twins immediately find themselves at a murder scene and discover a clue, which sends them on a chase after their father's murderer. And the action doesn't let up from there.

History comes to life in these pages as the twins face the real dangers of war, get to meet historic figures, experience the famous battles and attacks, and all of that with as much grit and reality as can be added for the age group. There is danger, there is violence, and life isn't easy for these two. And yet, they maintain enough brotherly banter and a very light dusting of fun to keep it age appropriate and interesting. The relationship between the two is inspiring as is their determination to do what is right and protect that which they believe in. 

The writing carries the fitting atmosphere for the time period. The vocabulary and style is appropriate for the upper end of the middle grade audience as well as YA readers (although the boys' personalities lean toward the younger end of that group). History fans will especially enjoy this read as the places, people, and events show that the author has done his research and more. This also makes it a great addition to classroom themes and homeschoolers. But as said, there is violence and such to fit the reality of the situation at that time.

I found this well done, enjoyed following the twins through their adventures, and even gained a deeper respect for this historical period and those who fought in it.

And here he is...

Robert Skead is the author of several popular books for children. For the American Revolutionary War Adventure series, Robert partnered with his father to develop the stories. The father-son writing team are members of Sons of the American Revolution. Their ancestor, Lamberton Clark, one of the main characters in the stories, fought in the Revolutionary War as a member of the Connecticut Militia and the Continental Army. The tales in the American Revolutionary War Adventures series were crafted to inspire readers to do great things, nurture patriotism, and celebrate the courage and creativity of colonial patriots and General George Washington.

1 comment:

Heather N. Quinn said...

This sounds like a very interesting series. History is so much more interesting - not just to kids - when it's told in story form with characters we can invest in.