Wednesday, October 3, 2012

SUNNY: BOOK REVIEW "Defiant" by Pamela Clare

The MacKinnon brothers are pressed into fighting for the British during the French and Indian War.  Their noble Scottish family was exiled from Britain during the conflict between Britain and Scotland.  The MacKinnon brothers, Iain, Morgan and Connor grew up in the rugged frontier learning to survive from their friends, the Muhheconneok people.  British General William Wentworth blackmails them into service and creating the MacKinnon's Rangers - an group of mostly Scottish frontiersmen - who are tasked to engage in guerrilla warfare.  

This is book 3 of MacKinnon’s Rangers saga focusing on the story of Connor MacKinnon and Lady Sarah Woodville.   Lady Sarah is capture by the Shawnee, enemy to the British, and Major MacKinnon is dispatched to rescue her by his nemesis and uncle to Sarah, General Wentworth.  It is ironic that Connor is sent to bring back a relative of the very King that had his family banished to America and by the man that is coercing him to fight.  Sarah has her own reasons for being in America.  Shamed and convicted by her parents for a crime she knows nothing about, she is exiled to America until her family can find her a proper suitor.  For Connor and Sarah, her return is more than just a rescue but becomes the beginning of a complex and deep love story.  

I have said this before, but it bears repeating - Pamela Clare is a MASTER storyteller.  It is not only her imagination but also the way she brings her readers into the world of MacKinnon's Rangers.  

This is a character study with timeless themes that include: the terrible ravages of war, the arrogance of class warfare, and the irrational nature of ethnic prejudice.  The story is compelling as well with lots of twists, turns, drama and conflict.  The battle scenes are scenes are raw, open and violent.  Through her writing, Pamela Clare's respect for the Rangers (this is a true life fighting group and the predecessor  to the modern day, special forces units, including the Army Rangers) is revealed.  They contributed more than manpower to the war effort, but also harassed the enemy and kept them off balance.  

Beyond the amazing plot, I found myself immersed in the characters, the setting, overwhelmed by the emotions the character were feeling.  We get into the heart and mind of Connor's guilt over his actions after the rumored death of Morgan (in book 2, Untamed) -- today we could call this a case of PTSD; his fierce devotion and love for Sarah; Sarah's bewilderment over her scandal; and her deep love of music.  Ms. Clare leads us beyond the superficial level and takes us deep into heart of her characters.    

Although this is the third book in the series, it can stand alone.  But why would you want to miss the opportunity to read the whole series?  It is THAT good. 

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