4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Neither King Nor Country by Alan N. Kay is a gripping, highly researched historical fiction alternating between the present times and the American Revolution era. It explores the life of William Franklin, the little-known Benjamin Franklin’s Loyalist son. At the current times, we meet Rob, a recently separated elementary school teacher staying in Fairfield, Connecticut. His mother, Nana, had just recently passed on, and she had a large collection of items she kept in a secret box. Rob feels there is more he can discover about his family from this secret box. He, therefore, asks Lindsey, a member of his adult hockey team, to help him carry out that task. After moments of seemingly futile search, the duo finally discovers something peculiar that instantly catches their attention—a well-preserved letter dated 1785 and signed by William Franklin, the Founding Father’s son himself. The letter directed them to Canada and alluded to some documents that, if they succeeded in finding, could see Rob claim a disputed family land willed to them more than two hundred years ago. The task that was now remaining was that of tracing the documents, and hopefully, claiming the prize. I greatly enjoyed every step of this adventurous journey.
The author started this book on an engrossingly high note. Action and drama began right from the start, and the powerful prologue about the American Revolution exquisitely introduced this story, enhancing my initial understanding of this novel. I liked how the author aptly alternated between Rob’s life (the present times) and the American Revolution era. With the great organization of the chapters, readers get to see the relationship between Rob's search and what actually happened in the past. The chapters also end in suspenseful ways, and there is a smooth, interesting connection between one chapter and the next. The characters' background information was also adequately given, and this was largely facilitated by the use of flashbacks.
Furthermore, I liked how the author maintained historical accuracy without ruining the fictional part of this story. With the well-placed historical facts, readers will learn more about Benjamin Franklin, William Franklin, the Rebels, the Loyalists, and the US-Canada border conflict without even attempting or struggling to. The other aspect history fans will also appreciate is the fact that the author, at the end of the book, went a step further to show readers what was real and what he created, and they added to the resourcefulness of this interesting, informative historical fiction.
What kept me turning the pages and my favorite aspect of this book were the interesting characters the author created. They are well-developed, distinct, authentic, and bear a close resemblance to people in real life. I liked how the author allowed them to freely express their emotions, and through their actions, readers can discern how they are feeling about one another and their level of acquaintance. They are full of drama, and there are several heated, emotion-charged moments in this story, most of which are spontaneous. These further enhanced my enjoyment of this terrific novel.
All in all, I absolutely couldn't find anything to dislike about this book. I believe it was professionally edited since I only found a few minor errors, all of which could not affect my final rating. All factors considered, Neither King Nor Country by Alan N. Kay deserves a full score, and therefore, I am delighted to award it 4 out of 4 stars.
I highly recommended this book to fans of gripping, highly researched historical fiction incorporating adventure, family drama, espionage, and some elements of romance. Readers who like hockey will also relate to some parts of this story, and so, I also recommend it to them. On the other hand, except for those not into historical fiction, I can't find any other person who may consider skipping this. This book unveils various aspects of William Franklin’s life that history lovers will be happy to indulge in.
Neither King Nor Country
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon