Northern Irish rebels pull off a sting operation against the British Army in 1777 Philadelphia.
TITLE: The Brand
AUTHOR: John Reinhard Dizon
RATING 5 Stars
REVIEWED BY: Tamara White
When a man is branded his life becomes the brand. The reader can feel the pain of Sean Colerian and almost smell his searing flesh as he is branded for his beliefs. Sean Colerian is the under dog fighter readers love to read about and root for. John Reinhard Dizon thrust his reader into one of the more tumultuous phases in American history 1777. John Reinhard Dizon’s historical fiction The Brand does a tremendous job of not only capturing the essence of the period but the tensions and strife that occurred during conflict. The Brand is not just a war story; where an infant country is struggle to become free but a love story as well. Sean Colerian and the lovely Beth O’ Connell’ hearts want for each other while class and duty demand she care for another. Beth is a young woman who doesn’t want what society 1777 society requires her to desire. The Brand does an excellent job of balancing fiction with historical truths. The Brand reads like a thrilling heart pounding roller-coaster that the reader will want to read again.
He and three of his men escorted Colonel Blackmore to the Penn Hotel that evening for the high-stakes Poque game Coulter alluded to. They reserved the conference room on the second floor, and there were eight other men who arrived to keep watch over the lobby area. One of them was Joe Flynn, who was with his three cohorts standing in the rear area on the main floor in discussion with four of Count Verdu's Spanish guards.
"Well, well," Brennus swaggered over to where the eight men were conversing. "Looks like we've got some truly hard men on guard down here. If I was a terrorist, I sure would think twice about making a move in this hotel."
"Just a friendly card game, it shouldn't be attracting a whole lot of attention," Flynn replied. "I'm not quite sure as to what would be the gain in offing a prison official, a couple of diplomats and an overseas trader."
"Nothing these terrorists do these days ever makes sense," Brennus said, before a flash of realization suddenly hit him. "Say, fellow, did anyone ever tell you that you looked like Flynn Ravernet?"
"Ravernet?" he squinted, looking at Cobra, who suddenly looked like he was poised to strike. "You mean Flynn Ravernet, the English highwayman? Do you mean you've actually seen a depiction of him? I was under the impression that no man could see Ravernet and live. Kind of like what God told Moses on Mount Sinai."
"I don't think there's a whole lot to compare between God and a murderous cutthroat."
"Well, I will admit Ravernet has not earned many admirers back home, although there are always the odd groups of females who fancy the rogue," Flynn smiled.
"Joe Flynn," Brennus mused. "Even that's a coincidence."
"I know it's hard to keep track of current events, being so far away from home, but I have found it to my benefit to keep reference material handy for the misinformed," Flynn reached into the pocket of his waistcoat and produced a folded-up newspaper. He unfolded it and handed it to Brennus. KING OF THIEVES KILLED IN SHOOTOUT
Brennus read the accompanying story on the front page of the London Times which told of a military foray into the hills surrounding York. Ravernet and his gang were trapped in a ravine and gunned down, the bodies returned to London before being buried in an unmarked grave. "Where's the rest of the paper? And why would you be carrying it around anyway?"
"I think I've had my share of the third degree," Flynn narrowed his eyes. "You're a prison guard; you're not an officer of the law. If you have any misgivings, I suggest you take it up with your superior officer. He may not be in the mood for much foolishness if he ends up on the losing end of that Poque game."
"I'll be sure to separate fact from foolishness before I bring it up with him," Brennus smirked. "I appreciate the suggestion."
Brennus turned and walked out of the lobby as the eight men began speaking in muted voices. He signaled his own men to keep an eye on things as he stepped out onto the windy streets. These scoundrels might be using these Poque games as a distraction for a bigger gambit. Anyone who spent time around Colonel Blackmore knew he was a degenerate gambler who would sacrifice time for a crap shoot. He would find out if Coulter and Flynn had an interest in anything more than cards.
He decided to head back to Constitution Hall and find out where Benjamin Franklin was staying. It was well known Franklin traveled with a portable printing press. He had no doubt Franklin could have made up a copy of the Times at Flynn's request. He also knew the authorities were dying to hang anything onto Franklin to warrant an arrest for sedition. It might be a career-changing move on his end if he could prove Flynn was actually Ravernet and had ties to Franklin himself. As he turned onto Market Street, he saw the figure of a woman on the opposite end of the block walking in his direction. She was dressed in men's clothing, possibly riding gear. It didn't make a lot of sense for a woman to be wearing that type of expensive apparel in the downtown area.
He stared in astonishment as he recognized the face of the Princess Nightshade beneath her tricorn hat. It seemed impossible she was out here in the middle of downtown, dressed like this. The last time he saw her she was beautiful, and Indian or not he would have married her in a heartbeat. If he had a choice between Beth O'Connell and the Princess, he would have gone for the white woman, but it would have been a hard choice.
The Princess walked directly up to him, and before he could say anything, he felt the sickening impact in his belly. She drove six inches of cold steel into his stomach, twisting it before shoving him backwards toward a narrow alley to her right. He felt his legs buckling, and the last thing he remembered in this life was collapsing onto his back on the slimy concrete. The Princess grabbed an overflowing trash barrel and dumped it out onto Brennus. She set it down in front of the alley, satisfied the body of the dying man would not be visible until daylight as she disappeared into the darkness.