Forest Sentinels

The Gauntlet Runner Book III

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
368 Pages
Reviewed on 01/11/2014
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers' Favorite

With the frontier in Pennsylvania undefended, the lives of the settlers there are at risk as parties of the Delaware tribe take advantage of an opportunity to regain what they had lost to the English settlers. Forest Sentinels by S. Thomas Bailey is an exciting historical fiction work which is set during the French and Indian War. With the British army having been defeated at Monongahela, they began to pull back to the east, leaving the settlement completely unprotected. Knowing that the settlers were left to their own devices, Jacob Murray and his young friend Joshua put together a group of militia to move back into the area and at least attempt to give some form of protection to the people who are fighting for their lives there. There is a fly in the ointment as they set out to build a fort and provide protection; Jacob’s wife Maggie is missing and has been captured by Pontiac, a leader of the Ottawa people and little more than a bully. Also missing is Joshua’s best friend One-Ear. As Jacob is attempting a rescue mission, however, he is captured and held prisoner by a dangerous warrior. When it appears that all is lost, however, a band of sentinels in the form of ghosts from the past and mysterious things begin to happen which were completely unexpected and the Murrays suddenly begin to feel as if they might make it through this difficult trial after all.

Forest Sentinels by S. Thomas Bailey is a well written historical fiction novel with a fantasy twist which draws on a deeper history and is an excellent addition to the Gauntlet Runner Series. The reader will be able to hear the wind blowing through the lonesome trees of the frontier and feel the fear of the impending disaster which lingers throughout the story. Well researched, mysterious and thrilling, Forest Sentinels will send a chill up your spine and make your heart pound as you are swept away in the intense drama of a time when early Americans were struggling to carve a nation out of the frontier.

Kristie Ingerto

S. Thomas Bailey continues the saga of Jacob and Joshua’s journey in Forest Sentinels, book III in his Gauntlet Runner series. These two men are trying to settle into Pennsylvania and build a fort that will mean security for all those who are living in the area. However, this is also so that Jacob and Joshua can continue their search for One-Ear and Maggie, whom they have been unable to track down. As the men struggle to cope with the winter weather, the savages, and the French who are in the area, Maggie is being held captive and trying to decide what her best course of action will be in order to hopefully be reunited with her husband Jacob.

Forest Sentinels is overflowing with adventure and historical details of life in early America. The time period and setting come alive on the pages as vivid descriptions and details are used. I could picture myself traipsing through the forests with Jacob and Joshua, and living in the camps with Maggie. The dialogue between the characters is very well written and this adds so much to the story and in helping to create the scenes as well. I do not judge a book by its cover, but the cover of this book is very appealing to the eye and has a certain mysterious aura to it that is so inviting. It makes the reader want to pick it up and become lost in the story.

Samantha Rivera

As the French attempt to overrun the British and the ‘savages’ attempt to retain their hold on land that was always theirs, battles are breaking out everywhere in the territories. Women and children have been kidnapped from their homes by Shawnee and Delaware Indians while other families have been massacred and tortured by the same. Maggie is one such captive who is unsure what has become of the rest of her family. She struggles to stay alive in a Delaware camp while, unbeknownst to her, her husband and children struggle to find her. But it’s not that simple for any of them. Her men must help the armed forces while they search. Maggie is only able to put up with so much before she attempts to break away in Forest Sentinels.

Maggie is a young woman who simply wanted to start a new life with her family. They set up a homestead and expected everything to be just fine but, in Forest Sentinels by S. Thomas Bailey, things are far more difficult than they could have imagined. That’s what makes this book so interesting and Maggie and her family such amazing characters. The reader can’t help but be drawn into their story and want them to succeed. The whole family is willing to do so much for each other. You would feel honored to have a family like this, and Maggie’s family is one of the best. I really liked this book and the characters, especially Maggie and everything she went through.

Kayci Webster

Forest Sentinels, by S. Thomas Bailey, is the third book in the The Gauntlet Runner book series. The story follows Jacob Murray and his friend Joshua as they return to Fort Cumberland after their journey on the Monongahela. They are stationed under George Washington. The British are retreating further back, and Delaware raiding parties are starting to attack settlers, taking advantage of the undefended land. Joshua and Jacob must take a group of militia men into Pennsylvania to establish a base and protect the settlers there. Apart from that, they are also in search of Maggie and One-Ear, Jacob’s wife and Joshua’s greatest friend, respectively. What begins as a simple rescue mission soon turns chaotic when the Delaware ambush them and take Jacob as their prisoner.

Forest Sentinels is an enjoyable read filled with action, suspense, mystery, and drama. I read this book first, and as it is the third in an established series, I now intend to go back and read the first two books. Bailey has a way with words, and his writing and use of imagery pulled me right into the book, as though I was standing amidst the battles myself. Filled with suspense and quite a few surprises, I could barely put the book down because it was so refreshing and interesting. Forest Sentinels, though 368 pages, took me under a day to read - I was that sucked in by the story. I would recommend this book (and likely the series) to any avid history fan who wants to add some entertainment to their bookshelf.

Faridah Nassozi

Forest Sentinels is the third book in S. Thomas Bailey's The Gauntlet Runner Series. Jacob Murray had left home to go and fight, but this left his family vulnerable, leading to the capture of his wife, Maggie, and their kids. Jacob led a group of local militia in a series of fights against the French-backed Indians to protect the British settlers and in an effort to find Maggie. Meanwhile, Maggie managed to escape from the Indians and was rescued by Jacob's long-lost brother, Israel. Jacob was captured by the Indians but, as fate would have it, Israel and his men ambushed the French who had purchased Jacob from the Indians, rescuing Jacob and reuniting him with his wife. They made it back to Jacob's fort but they still have no idea what happened to their kids and if there is any hope of ever seeing them again. First, they need to get through a very harsh winter, limited food supplies, and increasing merciless attacks from the Indians.

Reading Forest Sentinels is like taking a hike in the beautiful land of Pennsylvania in the 1750s, only that this time the forests are spoiled by ruthless bloodshed. The story evokes feeling of sadness, sympathy and horror all at the same time; the vivid descriptions of the culture of the Indians and the brutal torture they put their prisoners through will make you hate them, but then when you learn the beliefs behind what they do, you will almost understand where they are coming from. Thomas Bailey balances the horror in the book with little acts of kindness that show the human side of this ruthless lot. The story describes all the places and events so brilliantly that I had a vivid image of the beautiful land and the unfortunate horrors that marred it.

Brenda Casto

Forest Sentinels by S. Thomas Bailey immediately transported me back to the frontier during the 18th century. Jacob Murray, who also goes by Jacob Sims, and his trusty friend Joshua, along with a small regiment, are sent deep into the Pennsylvania wilderness to build a fort that will provide security for the settlers being attacked by the Delaware Indians. What really drives Jacob, though, is the hope that he will someday be reunited with his wife Maggie and their children. While the fort provides protection, no one is really safe from the Indians, especially the formidable leader known as Captain Jacobs. Can Jacob and his men thwart the enemy and provide a modicum of security on the frontier, and will he ever be reunited with Maggie?

S. Thomas Bailey paints such a vivid picture of time and place that I actually feel like I stepped back in time with this series. I found myself becoming immersed in the lives of the characters, especially Jacob and Maggie. Not only do their voices speak, bringing the tumultuous times to life, but I found myself swept up in the emotions that Mr. Bailey creates within the lives of these characters. From the battlefield to running the gauntlet, their hopes, fears, and determination rolls off the pages. Elation and joy are also felt but sometimes short lived as danger is always lurking around the corner. The true-to-life feel of the battles fought, and the way the author provides detail, descriptive without becoming gory, allows the reader's imagination to draw its own conclusion. Even though Forest Sentinels is a work of fiction, the author's attention to detail really made me feel like I was witnessing history in the making.

Forest Sentinels is the third installment of the Gauntlet Runner series by S.Thomas Bailey and I have been lucky enough to read all three, but all I can say is I want more! The characters have grown so near and dear to me and the cliff-hanger of an ending gripped my heart, leaving me elated that Jacob's men would rally behind him, but it also put my imagination into overdrive wondering how Jacob would get back what he held most dear. I only hope Mr. Bailey is working on the next installment and doesn't leave his fans waiting too long!

Trudi LoPreto

Forest Sentinels - The Gauntlet Runner Book III by S. Thomas Bailey transported me to the pioneer days. I lived the battles against the Indians and French with Jacob and Joshua and felt the despair and pain of Maggie (Jacob’s wife) held captive and her struggle to be free and together again with her family. Forest Sentinels is the third book in the series and while it can be read on its own merit, you would be missing two other really good books.

Forest Sentinels begins with Jacob returning from another hard battle and Commander George Washington giving him a new assignment to lead a group of men to fight the Delaware Indians and the French. He and Joshua (the boy who has been through it all with Jacob) and a select group of men set out to build a fort in the Pennsylvania frontier to protect the settlers. The men are forced into many battles, witnessing their friends' and comrades' deaths, with hours of walking and fighting, often being hungry, tired, wet, muddy, cold, hurt and mosquito-bitten. Jacob hoping to find Maggie around the next bend in the road, and to be re-united with his best friend One-Ear adds to the reality of life in the late 1700s and the struggles and hardships of the early settlers. I held my breath as Maggie was held captive, escaping into a worse situation and fighting for her freedom, always hoping for Jacob to come and save her.

S. Thomas Bailey has written a story placing the reader right into the era. I felt the pain, the disappointment, the heartfelt emotions. Forest Sentinels is a perfect book for the historical fiction fan. I can’t wait for the next book to spend some more time with my friends Maggie, Joshua and Jacob. Don’t pass this one up – it is truly a winner.

Anne Boling

Forest Sentinels: The Gauntlet Runner Book III by S. Thomas Bailey is a fictional account of the French and Indian War which took place between 1754 and 1763. The first book in this series, The Gauntlet Runner: A Tale from the French and Indiana War, introduced readers to Jacob Murray his wife Maggie and their four children. While Jacob was serving under George Washington, his wife and children were taken captive by the French and Huron warriors. In the second book in the series, in an effort to rescue Maggie, Jacob was captured by the French and Maggie struggles to escape. Book three finds Jacob and Joshua back at Fort Cumberland. After their defeat, the British retreated with their tails tucked between their legs. Their withdrawal left the settlers defenseless; the Delaware Indians saw an opportunity to rid the area of the interlopers. Jacob and Joshua were still searching for Maggie and One-Ear when Jacob was taken captive by Tewea. Will Jacob and Maggie ever be reunited?

S. Thomas Bailey’s interest in the French and Indian War made it logical for him to write a series of fictional books on the topic. He has researched the topic well, making this series as accurate as possible. Bailey has a talent for description. His words paint such a strong, vivid picture of the era that reader will feel as if they are there. I’ve read all three books in this series and found each to be an entertaining read. While they can be read alone, I recommend reading them in proper order.