CM . . . . Volume XX Number 3 . . . . September 20, 2013
Storm the Fortress, written by award-winning author Maxine Trottier, is an historical fiction novel focussed on the role played by the British Royal Navy in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, September 13th, 1759. This was the final battle in the Seven Year War between France and Britain for control of what is now Canada.
The story is told through the experiences of William Jenkins, a young inexperienced and low ranking sailor aboard the Pembroke, one of the ships in the Royal Navy fleet that sailed up the St. Lawrence River to lay siege to Quebec and ultimately force the French to surrender to the British.
William's duties on the Pembroke offer insight into the command hierarchy and the day-to-day life aboard a Royal Navy vessel in the mid 1700's. Sometimes it was dull hard work; it took two hours and four or five men just to haul up a ship's anchor. At other times, William's life was full of adventure, especially when William is captured by the French and their "Indian" allies. Lucky for William, he is taken as a prisoner and not immediately killed. William grew up with both French and English friends. His past experiences allowed him insights that presented sympathies to both sides of the battle while living aboard the Pembroke and while living within the walls of Quebec city as a prisoner of war during the time the town was being destroyed by British cannon fire.
I highly recommend this book because it presents a true account of the historical events of the British Royal Navy's role in the Siege of Quebec through an action-packed exciting read. The historical notes and pictures in the back of the book help to outline the events leading up to the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, a pivotal event in Canada's history. Storm the Fortress should educate while it also entertains a wide variety of readers.
Heidi Henkenhaf is an Auxiliary Reference Librarian & Children's Librarian at the Vancouver Public Library in Vancouver, BC.
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