David Garland has followed-up his wonderful first book, Saratoga, with Valley Forge â€“ which continues the exploits of British Captain Jamie Skoyles during the American Revolution. It is as well written as Saratoga.
Rather than having me explain the premise of the book, here is an excerpt from Publishers Weekly:
Garland picks up where Saratoga (2005) left off, with his British Revolutionary War soldier heroes, Capt. Jamie Skoyles and Sgt. Tom Caffrey, imprisoned after being captured at the British defeat at Saratoga in 1777. They quickly escape and, with girlfriends in tow, head toward the British stronghold in New York City, but split up along the way. Once back with the British Army, Skoyles is ordered to infiltrate Gen. George Washington’s headquarters at Valley Forge. Skoyles may be loyal to the king, but he also sympathizes with men who fight for freedom. Tormented by his conflicting feelings, he misleads both sides to protect a friend and American spy from discovery. Adding to Skoyles’s dilemma is an old enemy, Maj. Harry Featherstone, who, furious that Skoyles has stolen his fiancÃ©e, is out for revenge.
Garland does a superb job in character development. He continues to develop the main characters â€“ especially Skoyles, Elizabeth Rainham, and Ezekiel Proudfoot â€“ and introduces and develops new characters â€“ Mr. and Mrs. Hughes and Major Clark. I particularly like how Garland portrays the adulterous relationship between General William Howe, commander-in-chief of the British Army in the American colonies and Mrs. Loring, the beautiful wife of a Tory. Garland captures the scandalous behavior between the two and Howe’s behavior in the winter of 1777 â€“ he was just waiting for his resignation to be approved and become effective.
Garland appears to have researched the British occupation of Philadelphia and the American Army’s stay at Valley Forge. Although there were no pitched battles, there were skirmishes, ambushes, and intrigue aplenty. Garland captures the cloak-and-dagger atmosphere of Philadelphia where spies from both sides tried to outwit each other.
This second book builds on the excellence of the first book and I look forward to the continued development of this series.