Shadow Patriots: A Novel of the Revolution

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9780765344625: Shadow Patriots: A Novel of the Revolution

In July of 1776, the American colonies are ablaze with passion. In the streets, those who would be free boldly read aloud the newly written Declaration of Independence. It is a cry of freedom, but it is also a time of critical confrontation, both on the battlefield and off as the people of a new nation choose between their king and an uncertain future.

It is a choice which is not easily made. As Commander-in-chief George Washington declares a major victory in New York, the rest of the colonies separate into Patriots and Tories. Kate Darby never expected to be swept up in this political storm. The Darbys are Quakers who have pledged their allegiance to God first--but that soon changes. Kate's younger brother, Seth, can no longer deny his soul's cry against tyranny. Fleeing from his Loyalist parents' house to join General Washington's ragtag forces, Seth enters a life he never expected.
With the influx of British soldiers, Philadelphia soon becomes a temporary base camp for the English forces. When the Darbys find themselves forced to take in Major Jonathan Andre, Kate falls quickly for his charm.

Despite her warring affections, Kate finds herself drawn deep into the war. As she attempts to follow her brother, she risks her life and her family's reputation by becoming a spy for the patriot forces, a role which quickly transforms the once-timid Quaker girl. With a world of danger and political upheaval thrown before them, Kate and Seth face incredible danger in the hopes of shaping one of the single most important events in American history: the war for freedom.

Told with historical accuracy and incredible attention to period detail, Shadow Patriots recreates America at its youngest and describes with vivid intensity the men and women who bravely did their part to deliver it from tyranny.

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About the Author:

Lucia St. Clair Robson was born in Baltimore, Maryland and raised in South Florida. She has been a Peace Corps volunteer in Venezuela and a teacher in Brooklyn, New York. She has also lived in Japan, South Carolina and southern Arizona. After earning her master's degree in Library Science at Florida State University, she worked as a public librarian in Annapolis, Maryland. She lives near Annapolis in a wooded community on the Severn River. The Western Writers of America awarded her first book, Ride the Wind, the Golden Spur for best historical western of 1982 and it also made the New York Times Best Seller List.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Shadow Patriots
OneWherein Robert Townsend sees more than he cares to; a tailor named Hercules spills the peas 
 
 
 
AS THE WOMAN WRESTLED HER VAST HAT BRIM, TOWERING wig, and seven yards of hoopskirt out of the carriage, Robert Townsend saw the calamity coming. He should have shouted a warning, but he couldn't believe the goat would maintain a collision course on the crowded street. The wooden soles of the woman's high clogs reached the cobblestones. She gave her hoop a swing to one side, like a flagship dipping its colors upon arriving at anchor.With perfect timing the goat ran under the lifted section of skirt and caught his horns on the hoop. The maiden screamed. The goat bleated. Passersby stopped to gawk.The more she tried to shake him out of her clothes, the more his horns tangled in the folds of the velvet, and the greater the number of people cheering him on. She tottered on her high shoes, then toppled backward. Her skirt and petticoats, held aloft by the hoop, formed an arch above her. To no one's surprise and everyone's amusement, she wore nothing underneath. Rob was probably the only one embarrassed by the view. He turned away and headed for the dockside tailor shop of his friend Hercules Mulligan.June of 1776 had settled like kettle steam on New York City. The stagnant sewers in the middle of the narrow streets demanded cat-agile footwork, knee-high boots, and an inferior sense of smell. Loose cobblestones made the streets even more treacherous. Benjamin Franklin said it best: "You can always tell a New Yorker by his gait, like a parrot on a mahogany table."The city fathers had persuaded New Yorkers to dump their garbage into the streets instead of leaving it to fester in their dooryards and cellars. The theory was that what the pigs, chickens, goats, dogs, cats, rats, and crows didn't eat, the rains would wash into the Hudson and the East River for the outgoing tide to transport. That was the theory. In practice, servants dumped more slop in the streets than the animals could eat. The rain washed more of it into the rivers than they could carry out to sea. Much of the garbage ended up here at the lowest end of Manhattan Island. The mixture formed a scum-covered swamp around the maze of wharves jutting into the East River. In exile aboard one of the five British ships anchored offshore, Governor Tryon could smell the city as well as see it.Rob Townsend had watched the Continental Army straggle into the city four months ago, but this was not his fight. He was a Quaker, and he swore loyalty to no one but God. As purchasing agent for his father's store on Long Island, Rob continued to go to the docks every day.Before the rebel army arrived, most of those loyal to King George had begged, borrowed, or stolen every vehicle they could find. Horses and hand carts disappeared under trunks and sacks, spinets, mattresses, and the portraits of ancestors staring morosely from sumptuous gilt frames. Thousands had fled north up the Post Road, crossed the Harlem River over King's Bridge, and scattered into Connecticut. Others had loaded skiffs to the foundering point and rowed across the Hudson River to New Jersey. Many had crowded onto the ferry going to the hamlet of Brooklyn and dispersed into the Long Island countryside.The loyalists who stayed behind pretended to side withthe rebels. If they were good at deception they avoided having the Sons of Liberty ride them around town on a fence rail that rendered their testicles unserviceable. People might be uncertain about which side of the political fence rail they preferred, but no one wanted to straddle it. New Yorkers had become adept at spying and lying, informing, avenging, and dissembling.The city took on the look of a garrison town. Drums rattled the window panes. Soldiers crowded the narrow streets. Wagons, caissons, and artillery carriages loosened the cobblestones that had held firm thus far.The first to venture back into business were the strumpets in the district known as the Holy Ground near St. Paul's Chapel. Taverns and gaming houses multiplied. Shopkeepers took the shutters off their windows and trebled their prices.During the day the docks teemed with stevedores unloading supplies and ammunition. At night sloops and catboats ghosted out of New York's creeks and coves and smuggled provisions to the five British ships anchored out of artillery range. With oars muffled, British sailors came ashore looking for love and a tailor. They carried parcels and messages for Rob's friend, Hercules Mulligan. The word among them was that in a city of traitors, ingrates, rogues, roughs, and rebels, Hercules Mulligan remained loyal to the king. The parcels contained uniforms. The messages listed body measurements. No man wanted to fight a war in badly fitting breeches.Hercules Mulligan's parents knew what they were doing when they named him. He stood taller than a pie safe, and almost as wide. His round face ended in a square chin that curved out like the butt of a carpenter's adz. He looked as though he should be felling oaks or carrying bales up a gangplank. Instead, with a bristle of pins in his mouth and the basting needle lost among the rugged promontories of his fingers, he circled the mayor of New York and the coat he was altering.Mulligan always gave Mayor David Matthews wide seams because he knew he would be letting them out soon.Matthews liked to rub his paunch and announce that he was expanding his horizon. Mulligan wondered when the mayor had last seen his own feet, hidden below his equator like two sloops in the southern latitudes.Mayor Matthews flinched when a pin stuck him. "I say, my good fellow, have a care.""Beggin' your pardon, squire." Mulligan was deft at his craft, but now and then he liked to jab Matthews. He said he wanted to deflate him a little.Rivulets of sweat, whitened by the flour used to powder Matthews's horsehair wig, ran down the sides of his face. The mayor lowered his voice to share a confidence."I hear that Mr. Washington has fathered a brat on his washerwoman's daughter."Mulligan mumbled around the pins. "Has he now?""Yes. And I have it from reliable sources that he is in such reduced circumstances he has sold his brass buttons and must hold his trousers up with twine, like one of his darkies back in Virginia.""The rebel army reminds me of a bird a gentleman killed." Mulligan's brogue grew more pronounced whenever he told a story. "His sarvant looked the bird up and down and said, 'By my soul, darlin', it was not worth the powder and shot, for the dear little thing would have died in the fall.'" He topped off the mayor's glass of whiskey.Mayor Matthews laughed so hard that flour drifted from his wig onto his sloping shoulders. He had downed a lot of whiskey. If Mulligan had held up a candle, the mayor's breath would have set his own nose hair on fire."My good fellow, we shall need neither powder nor shot to bring down a certain treasonous bird.""Will it be done with a snare then, your honor?""A snare, yes, indeed." He snorted merrily. "Our agents have bought several of Washington's own guardsmen. They were quick to accept the offer. The lads have not been paid since spring.""Money is like muck," Hercules observed. "Not good except it be spread around.""I myself was rowed out in the dead of night to see Governor Tryon, and he gave me the sum of one hundred pounds sterling to bribe them."Mulligan wondered how much of that money Matthews had pocketed. He decided to overcharge him more than usual."So Washington's own life guards will kidnap him?""That's what they think. We told them that Lord Howe wants him captured so he can stand trial for treason." The mayor lowered his voice. "But he's slippery, he is. He could slip the noose. With the guards in our pay, a loyalist in the household could season his favorite dish with rat poison.""What is his favorite dish?""Peas and lettuce stewed in butter and garnished with ham. The cook always serves him peas on Sunday."The sun was squatting atop the city's westernmost roofs when the mayor held his glass aloft in a toast to King George and Sir William Howe, the king's commander in chief in the colonies. He hugged Mulligan, tears spangling his bulging blueberry eyes. The sweat and flour had dried like delta mud in the creases radiating out from them.With his wig riding low on his forehead Matthews set a zigzag course for the door, as though tacking into a headwind."Pease porridge hot," he warbled as he tottered off down the crowded street. "Pease porridge cold. Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old."Hercules went to the door hoping to witness Matthews break an ankle on the cobblestones. Instead he saw Rob approaching.Rob followed Hercules inside. "The shipment of shagreen and baise arrived."Hercules surveyed Rob's rumpled coat, with broad tails that reached the tarnished buttons at the knees of his faded brown breeches. His chestnut hair was unpowdered, pulled back, and tied with a string."Those Quaker duds are the color of mud, lad. Why do you not commission me to fashion you a bang-up costume from that shagreen?"Rob shrugged. They had had this conversation before. "Ithink the cloth will be snapped up soon. I myself have bespoken six bolts.""I shall call on the ship's captain tomorrow." Hercules tucked a pewter whiskey flask into the waist of his breeches. He put his tinderbox in his old wide-brimmed felt hat and settled it like a bird on the nest of his red hair. "I'm going to look for Alex at the Drunken Duck. Will you be coming along?""You do not need a flask and a tinderbox to drink at the Duck. You must be off on a piece of business."Hercu...

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