Our Lives, Our Fortunes, by J. E. Fender

by Peter on December 31, 2010

This is the third installment in the series often referred toOur Lives, Our Fortunes, by J. E. Fender as the Saga of Geoffrey Frost. In contrast to the previous two, however, this third novel mostly takes place on dry land, so it is not really a nautical fiction book.

The nautical fiction in this book concerns a daring attack on the British collier fleet in the mouth of the Tyne River. This is interesting and relatively well written, but seems a tad implausible.

I didn’t like Our Lives, Our Fortunes nearly as much as I like the previous two – The Private Revolution and Audacity. Mostly, I think, this is because J.E. Fender has written too much history and too many historical figures into this book. The story is that Frost takes on a mission to transport supplies to the hard-pressed Revolutionary Army, led by George Washington – not by sea, by over land. And carries out the mission with much too much perfection, and then meets men like Alexander Hamilton, Henry Knox, and the great George Washington himself.

Fender allows Frost to report on the crafters of the Constitution through the eyes of a practical, well traveled, disenchanted businessman who bears the brunt of the Revolution in his purse and his person. To me, this – and the tale of the book overall – requires too much suspension of belief.

As in the previous book, the dialogue is still pretty wooden, implausible and distracting. The story itself is interesting, but not extremely so. To me, Our Lives, Our Fortunes was quite disappointing, and I can only recommend it to people who want to read the whole series.

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