Author: Lori Benton
As I read A Flight of Arrows: A Novel, I thought about The Wood’s Edge, the previous book in The Pathfinders series, and was once again reminded of the quiet yet strong faith and the conviction that bursts forth from the tone of the omniscient narrator in both books. Both books are imbued with the same strong air of comfort that comes of knowing that our fates are held in the hands of a loving, forgiving God.
The style that is followed is similar to that followed in The Wood’s Edge. There are chapters for each of the years from 1776 onwards. Sometimes though there are multiple chapters in a particular year, written from the third-person point of view of different characters.
The book begins where the previous one ended. More than a year has passed since William ran away from home, unwilling to face the truth about his origins. He has made the cause of the British his own, while Reginald Aubrey fights on the American side, the side the Oneidas have aligned themselves with. It is one more wedge that divides them.
For Good Voice and Stone Thrower, and Two Hawks, the sadness is even more painful, knowing that their son and brother, for who they have longed all these years, has once again distanced himself from them. This time the distance is not just physical.
A mountain of agonizing self-doubt and an utter unwillingness to forgive the man he called father holds him back. Nor can he come to terms with the fact that he is indeed Indian, he who has grown up believing that he is white.
And yet, the three will not stop hoping and waiting and trusting that William, their very own He-is-Taken, will be restored to them.
Anna is equally tormented at knowing that William won’t return and that Two Hawks and his parents as well as Reginald are denied the peace that must be theirs.
Meanwhile, Reginald’s refusal to accept Two Hawks as person or even as a potential son-in-law drives a wedge between him and Anna.
There is Strikes-the-Water, a girl who clearly resents Anna for her place in Two Hawks’ life.
The characters are all suffering. Reginald, bent under the weight of William’s refusal to forgive, cannot bring himself to accept forgiveness for himself. William physically runs away from the truth, only to find that he cannot outrun the truth, that the truth will find a way to enter his life.
Gradually, and it is a very slow process of realization that is beautifully handled, William begins to realize that his heart is not on the British side, that he is called upon to protect his people, Anna and Lydia, even Reginald, the man he thought of as his father, and his true family, Good Voice, Stone Thrower and Two Hawks, though he doesn’t believe that he will live long enough to be united with them.
Once again, I marveled at the manner in which Lori has married historical fact with fiction. It is after all a tumultuous and significant time in American history. America, as a nation, is about to be born.
Much of the book is taken up by the preparation for war and the actual skirmishes and active combat that takes place between the soldiers of the British Crown and the rebels who want independence.
While I read the long chapters relating to the battles, it was the chapters in which William is found and through which the family takes fledgling steps to one another that I loved the most. Lori has a knack for relationships, especially filial ones, that tugs at your heart.
The ending is heartrending because even though they escape relatively unscathed from the war between the British loyalists and the rebels, the Senecas, who fought on the side of the British, have lost many of their own soldiers and are demanding vengeance.
They take Reginald prisoner, but Stone Thrower, with both his sons by his side, mount an exciting rescue mission. How it turns out is something that you have to read yourself to believe.
This is historical and Christian inspirational fiction at its best.
("I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.")