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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In The Declaration, the Sword and the Spy by Jenny L. Cote, in Boston 1774, the Sons of Liberty have sworn an oath of secrecy to overthrow the British occupation. Tensions are already high due to the infamous tyrannical Stamp Act of 1765 by King George III and the massacre of many Boston people by British soldiers. Follow the events of the American Revolution between March 1775 to July 1776 where George Washington is determined to oust the British from Boston and Thomas Jefferson fights for his Declaration of Independence. Meanwhile, King George III fights to hold onto power, not only in Boston but in Britain, where his people are becoming sympathetic to the rebels. As the Founding Fathers prepare to fight for their country's freedom, they discover a spy could be feeding their enemy information. With the battle at Breed Hill between the rebels and the British soldiers looming, the Sons of Liberty must oust the spy. To aid them in their mission is the Order of the Seven, an intelligent and gifted team of animals who specialize in espionage and defeating their enemies.
As I read this magnificent epic of a novel, I wish that the author could have been around when I struggled with history at school. She brings so much life to an important event in history. The characters are many but I felt I knew each one so well; their determination and bravery to fight for their cause was humbling. I loved the use of correspondence, maps and newspaper articles as this brought even more realism to the story. This is not just a well-written account of the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence, but a story that details the personal reasons the Founding Fathers took up arms. There are some very brutal battle scenes and psychological games of cat and mouse, which enhanced the plot perfectly. There are also some very emotional scenes that are quite heartbreaking.
The Order of the Seven was a fantastic addition to the story; even the animals had strong characteristics. Nigel's superb intelligence and my absolute favorite, Liz, whose huge heart and bravery were admirable. The Declaration, the Sword and the Spy by Jenny L. Cote ticks every box for me with tension, strong plots, amazing areas of conflict and heartwarming relationships. This is one line from the book which I feel sums up the whole message of the novel for me: “If you study men, and you know the history of mankind, predicting the future is not that difficult." The bibliography at the end is a testament to the amount of research the author has done to write this superb book.