Rebels Abroad

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
1273 Pages
Reviewed on 09/06/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Rebels Abroad is a work in the historical, adventure, and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience owing to some adult themes, and it is penned by Eddie Price. In this epic tale of long-buried family secrets, difficult decisions, and inter-continental adventures, we follow the lives of two major characters. Thomas McDonnell finds his family in turmoil in the Georgian period and embarks on a voyage from Ireland to America to start over in the American colony of Maryland. Meanwhile, the Viscount heir Harold Marston Fitch works through his military career, but his mind slowly unravels, edging him nearer and nearer to the mindset of the psychopath with every passing moment. When the lives of these two men become linked by Thomas’s young daughter, chaos awaits.

Eddie Price offers a stellar work of deeply psychological personal drama, family saga, and historical realness in this gorgeously penned, dark tribute to Irish and world history. I, for one, found myself captivated by the psyche and journey of Harold throughout the tale, whose grim experiences lead him into a misshapen mindset that is given plenty of time to simmer, offering us a horrifying tension because we can tell exactly where the story is going, yet at the same time it’s impossible to predict what move he’ll make next. This is well-juxtaposed with the life of the honest and hardworking Thomas, whose mixed fortunes are emotionally depicted as we explore America with him. The atmosphere of the historical period is also never far away from the spotlight, with fantastic detailing and keen attention paid to the dialogue and attitude of the time. Overall, Rebels Abroad is an epic and deeply involved read that fans of immersive historical dramas can get lost in and delight in for a very long time indeed.

Rabia Tanveer

Rebels Abroad by Eddie Price is a historical novel set in the tumultuous era of 1739 to 1740. Thomas McDonnell is a stonemason and master carpenter living in Georgian Ireland during the Great Frost. Thomas and his fifteen-year-old daughter Brigid get by until they are evicted from their home and forced to travel to Dublin and then to Maryland, where Thomas has to work on a tobacco plantation and live among the enslaved. While they struggle, Harold Marston Fitch has his world turned upside down. He was supposed to inherit the title of Viscount of Dermont but is forced to enlist in the Inniskilling Dragoons instead. The experience is considered to teach humility to Harold, but being a soldier turns him into a power-hungry, psychopathic maniac ready to do whatever it takes to get what he wants. Harold is in for a rude awakening when fate crosses his path with Thomas. But is a commoner like Thomas any match for the cunning Harold?

Deliciously detailed, Rebels Abroad sees Eddie Price create a masterpiece with relative ease. I was blown away by the story’s flow and the plot’s pace. Thomas is a gentle, kind man with a soft soul. He wants to do whatever it takes to give Brigid a good life. Thomas travels across countries and works among slaves but never lets the hard work break his morals. He is the perfect contrast to Harold. Where Harold is a natural opportunist, Thomas is a hard worker. I hated Harold, and my gut told me he was bad news. Harold is the perfect narcissist; when he sets his sight on something, he is ready to move heaven and earth to get it. Even if it means he has to lie, steal or coerce to get it. The historical aspects of the story are fantastic. Harold’s escapades with the Inniskilling Dragoons, Thomas’s tough time on the plantation, and everything in between were a joy to read. Eddie Price ensures we know everything happening in the region from 1739 to 1740; he lays the background well and ensures the characters thrive in the set-up. Don’t be intimidated by the page count; reading it will be worth it!

Asher Syed

Rebels Abroad by Eddie Price is a historical fiction novel that follows two men from vastly different backgrounds who take divergent paths; Thomas McDonnell and Harold Marston Fitch. The only common link between the two is Brigid, Thomas's daughter and Harold's secret lover. In the early 18th century, during the "The Great Frost" that hit Ireland, Thomas and Brigid are evicted from their home and forced to seek refuge in Dublin. Eventually, they embark on a perilous journey across the Atlantic to the colony of Maryland. The journey is fraught with danger, war, and hurricanes. Tragedy strikes the McDonnell family, forcing Thomas to become an indentured servant on a tobacco plantation in Maryland, where he witnesses the horrors of slavery firsthand. On the other side of the world, Harold's reckless behavior leads to his expulsion from Dermont Manor and enlistment in the Inniskilling Dragoons. He becomes a skilled soldier, fueled by his inherent arrogance and aggression which prove useful in the role. One thing nobody can run from is the skeletons of their past, especially for a man who has earned himself countless enemies.

When I came across the 1200+ page behemoth of the novel Rebels Abroad by Eddie Price, I admit that my eyes initially rolled back into my head. If this was 1739 and that page count was currency, it would be $97,892.76! I am here to tell you, hand over heart, that Price's novel is worth the read. What I loved most about it is how true the period details are. There is much description and backstory, as well as how the world operated in all its corners at the time. I also am a massive fan of smuggling and swashbuckling, and while Harold is one of the most despicable characters I've immersed myself in this year, nobody can say he isn't an interesting study of doing absolutely everything necessary to survive. His family conflict as the son of a Viscount on the wrong side of what's acceptable fleshes him out further. Thomas is milder in nature and far more susceptible to misfortune, but, as a person of color, to be transported back to the horrors of slaveholding enterprises in the colonies with unapologetic depictions of how they operated was and is important. There are some twists and good irony like a banker telling Harold what a minimum deposit would be when he has enough to bankroll their loans without breaking a sweat. Some skulls, sure. But no sweat. Overall, an excellent read.

Jamie Michele

Eddie Price's historical novel, Rebels Abroad, presents an intriguing account of the lives of two men, Thomas McDonnell and Harold Marston Fitch, in the 18th century. Ireland is hit by a crippling cold wave leaving Thomas and his teenage daughter Brigid with no choice but to flee to Dublin. The difficulties refuse to abate and, again, Thomas is pressed onward, this time for the American colony of Maryland, where the already unfathomable becomes even more horrific when the crossing goes awry. Thomas is forced by circumstance to become an indentured servant. It's no secret that tobacco plantations in the 'New World' are notoriously harsh for the likes of Thomas and forcibly transported slaves. Harold is of a different ilk with the blue blood of an aristocrat and the red temper of a man who gets what he wants. Patience is in short supply though and Harold is removed from his seat, exchanging a coat of arms for the coat of cavalry. Harold excels and parlays his military mastery onto a more lucrative, albeit decidedly unlawful, path and fully metes out his cruelty.

Two ends of the spectrum with a threadbare link between two men converge in Rebels Abroad by Eddie Price. I enjoyed both Thomas's and Harold's individual tales and their contrasts. Initially, Thomas is beholden only to himself but his independence is chipped away piece by piece until it is relinquished altogether. Harold is not initially at liberty to do as he pleases but does it anyway, which results in the eventual disinheritance. Thomas is in a continued decline where Harold ebbs and flows. There was a moment where I thought Harold might be able to use his power for a tiny bit of good. This is short-lived and 'Old Harold' rears his ugly head more ferociously than before. Harold, who finds himself in the company of a king, is a sharp contrast to Thomas, who is in the company of masters, overseers, and slave labor. I learned a lot from this book. I didn't know that tobacco plantations by law needed to rotate crops so plantations grew desperately needed food. Thomas's knowledge goes a long way and cultivating wheat as a possible alternating crop was interesting. I had hoped that Harold and Thomas would physically cross paths by the end of the book. Instead in the final few breaths, the breadcrumbs are dropped by Price for the next book in the series, which I look forward to reading.

Pikasho Deka

Rebels Abroad by Eddie Price is an epic historical drama. Set in the mid-18th century, it follows the lives of two men from opposite ends of the socioeconomic hierarchy of colonial-era Ireland. Struggling to make ends meet, Thomas McDonnell, a master stonemason, runs into further misfortune after his fifteen-year-old daughter, Brigid, is seduced by the depraved heir of Dermont Manor, Harold Marston Fitch. Thomas and Brigid leave Ireland to start anew in the New World, only for tragedy to strike when Brigid loses her life giving birth to a son. Thomas soon finds himself working at a tobacco plantation farm, witnessing firsthand the effects of slavery. Meanwhile, disinherited by his father, Harold carves out a successful career for himself in the British army, embracing a life of ruthless ambition, degeneracy, and bloodshed. Now, all Harold wants is revenge.

Rebels Abroad sheds light on a quite often forgotten period of Irish history when the great cold wave, poverty, and the relentless persecution of Irish Catholics forced millions to migrate to greener pastures in search of a better life. Eddie Price tells a riveting tale about two men from wildly different backgrounds who make a life for themselves in contrasting ways. While Thomas chooses a life of hard labor, grit, and honesty, Harold gives in to his primal wants and desires, forging through life and building on his success with lies, corruption, and ever-increasing degradation. Price captures the psyche of a villain to perfection. Fans who love character-driven dramas will enjoy this one.