Blood Brothers of Louisbourg by Philip Roy: Review

blood brothersTwo young men. Two different cultures. Brothers from another mother (literally).

Jacques is dragged from his home in France by his father to the Fortress of Louisbourg in the New World to make Jacques “a man.” Jacques just wants to read his books and play his violoncello. He has little choice in the matter though.

Two-feathers is a young Mi’kmaw man searching for his father, a man he believes is a brave warrior among the French people. He’s set out on his own to the Fortress determined to discover this mystery man.

For this brief period of time, the two men’s lives will intersect, unbeknownst to them both. While struggle to find their own identities, the inhabitants of the Fortress live on borrowed time.

Living in Cape Breton, I’ve been to the reconstructed Fortress many times. It’s a place perpetually stuck in the years before the Siege. Jacques and Two-feathers both arrive at the Fortress at this time. In 1745, British forces took Louisbourg. Both men can see how unprepared the French are for an invasion. Jacques is a terrible soldier, any idiot can see that, except his father. On the other hand, his other son, the one he’s never met, is everything he could have hoped for. Though they’re very different, they’re both good boys. They also have very different ideas about their father. Two-feathers hopes to find some glimmer of familiarity, something to make him proud. Jacques knows he has nothing in common with his father. It was very interesting reading these boys’ differing perceptions and their experiences. I was glad that they both sort of get what they need.

I enjoyed reading Blood Brothers in Louisbourg, but there were a couple of things that would have made the experience better. First, I though it was too short. I know I’m not the demographic for the book and maybe short is what the young’uns want, but the time frame felt too condensed and rushed. Though I thought Jacques and Two-feathers were well drawn characters, others could have used some fleshing out, particularly Celestine. She seemed to be more of a plot point than a person. Still, I thought it was an excellent little book and appreciate the local cultural aspect.



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