Saratoga: The Illustrated Colonials Book Three
Empire Studies Press (2021)
Reviewed by Jeni Tahaney for Reader Views (06/2021)
In “Saratoga,” the final installment of Durwood’s Illustrated Colonials series, readers find the young heroes more determined than ever. Mahmoud, disinherited by his father, crosses the Atlantic to aid the colonials’ cause. Two additional men are dispatched to follow Mahmoud. One man is assigned as his protector and the other, his assassin. During the voyage, Mahmoud matures and transforms from a pudgy teenager into a lean young man. As he lands in Boston, resolves to find Gilbert and deliver the important documents that will aid the Americans both financially and in strength with new alliances. Along the way, Mahmoud meets Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne and finds himself at odds with the British leader. Mahmoud is then kidnapped and eventually rescued by a Native American brave. After a series of events, Mahmoud is reunited with his protector, Kace. Mahmoud then reveals his tactical skills and aids the Americans at the battle of Saratoga.
The papers delivered to Gilbert go to Benjamin Franklin, who then presents them to the King of France. As each letter is revealed to the King, the pact between the six main characters comes to fruition. Alliances are formed between Dutch merchants, Catherine the Great, the Ottoman Admiralty, and Chinese seafaring cartels. Each of these institutions has promised France great rewards if they aid the Americans. The heroes have fulfilled their promise made in Book One: The Pact. At the end, each of the main characters who survived are still fighting for the American ideals bestowed upon them by their beloved school masters.
Tom Durwood’s third installment of the Illustrated Colonials does not disappoint. His creative storylines culminate in the ultimate win for the Colonials. The innovative way he places these young heroes into the narrative creates a more enjoyable journey for tween, teen, and adult readers. While the tweens and teens are following the story to see what happens next, the adults are reading to see how Durwood utilizes his characters to influence a war in which they already know the outcome. Those who enjoy historical fiction will fall in love with Durwood’s story. In addition, those who crave adventure will also enjoy the journey these characters experience. Therefore, it is the opinion of this reader that all audiences from age 10 and up will enjoy this exciting book, “Saratoga: The Illustrated Colonials Book Three.” However, one should also read Book One: The Pact and Book Two: Home Fronts in order to appreciate the entire story of these young heroes.