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Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Fire-Eaters by Jason Manning

Good historical fiction about an oft-forgotten era of American History

The Fire Eaters is the sequel to Long Hunters, a book about Timothy Barlow and his experiences as a young officer during the War of 1812 and the Creek Uprising with Andrew Jackson. You do not have to have read the first book to read this one.

In this second book of a Barlow Trilogy, Captain Barlow is asked by Andrew Jackson to go on a fact-finding mission to find out the source of a dispute between the Cherokee and White Georgians. Jackson is pre-disposed to remove the Cherokee and Barlow is upset by the idea. However, he fulfills his mission since he is honor-bound to fulfill his duty as a soldier.

Later, he is sent on another mission to deal with the nullifiers of South Carolina (AKA the 'Fire-eaters').

Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)
If you are not familiar with the real life Fire-eaters or with the issues involved with the Cherokee disputes, Manning does an exceptional job of explaining the issues and putting Barlow right in the middle of the action. Manning does something that I've never seen done before as well, and that is to tie both issues together in such a way that you can see the logic behind Jackson's actions concerning the Cherokee, although I personally strongly disagree with Jackson's actions.

The only problem with this story is Barlow's romantic life. It is tedious in a male action-adventure sort of way. By this I mean that all of the love interests in action-adventure books are all stunningly attractive, lusty, itching to take off their clothes and are insatiable in bed. Nice daydream material but C'mon! This type of woman abound in action-adventure stories but is rarely seen in the real world. However, Barlow's love life is the glue that holds the story together so I guess it has to stay in.

I rate this book 4 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on June 6, 2006.

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