4 out of 5 stars
The first thing that I noticed (and one of the many reasons that I love audiobooks) was the there were a lot of names, places, and things within The Smoke that I wouldn’t have known how to pronounce. I would have made a completely wrong guess and it would have tripped me up throughout reading. While listening to The Smoke, Casey does all of the prep work, so that I’m able to just listen to the book the way that Hedbor wanted it to be read. It really takes a book and series like this and moves it to another level.
The story itself tells of the Six Nations Confederacy’s ties and interactions with the early American Colonial Settlers. Hedbor is able to tell a story within a story and doesn’t need to resort back to stereotypes or really even period-specific racism. He’s able to write with an artistic ability that really stands out. He’s a little “flowery” compared to other authors that I typically read (giving lots of explanation of sounds, thoughts, and feelings), but this is his writing style and within the confines of usually heavy and over-thought-out historical fiction pieces – it’s welcome.
The Smoke was an interesting and thought-provoking read. I wanted to know more about the Six Nations Conferderacy, so I googled it upon finishing this. I wanted to know more about the specific things that Hedbor writes about, so I looked them up. A historical fiction story that makes someone want to seek out more history is a winner in my book.
Overally, I enjoyed this one. It didn’t drag on like some books like these can. Add in the narration by Casey and you have a winner. His voice is so enthralling, especially in stories like these. He’s able to tell this story and have me listening with baited breath. He’s able to take Hedbor’s words and turn them into something more. I’ve enjoyed every book in this series I’ve listened to, and I hope that there are more. It takes real situations that happened in our history and turns them into realistic stories.
As the quiet cycle of life in the forested realm of the Skarure is shattered by the outbreak of war between the British and Colonial forces, the old alliances of the Haudenosaunee Confederation are pulled in divergent directions, pitting brother against brother, even within the clans.
Thrust into the middle of this maelstrom, young Joseph Killeen will rely upon the guidance of an unexpected community to decide not only what is right and wrong, but ultimately, who he even is.