Red Thunder: Secrets, Spies, and Scoundrels at Yorktown

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Dotsy Harland
Fourteen-year-old Nate Chandler and his family have lost their Virginia farm to marauding British soldiers. Nate, his parents, and their brave dog, Rex, have barely escaped with their lives. Nate, consumed with the need for revenge, meets James, a slave whose master has given him permission to join the Continental forces. Together they seek out General Lafayette, who enlists them to infiltrate the British troops in Yorktown as spies. Nate poses as an innocent farm boy who sells corn to the soldiers, and James becomes a servant to General Cornwallis. Both James and Nate are in constant peril of being exposed as spies for Lafayette and killed. To add to the suspense, Rex becomes separated from Nate several times, delivers an important message to Lafayette, and is even captured by cruel British soldiers. But in the end, Rex is united with Nate and James, and all three are richly rewarded for their important service to the Continental Army. Hunter creates a riveting historical novel brimming with action, adventure, and danger. The book contains a Revolutionary War time line, which helps orient the reader, and a list of historical figures who appear in the novel. It is fascinating to find that the character of James is based on a real person, James Armistead Lafayette, a slave who served as a spy for the Continental forces under General Lafayette. Despite depicting somewhat stereotypical characters, Hunter does an excellent job of bringing the American Revolution to life in this gripping tale.
School Library Journal

Gr 6-8 When 14-year-old Nate's family farm is burned by British troops, he seeks revenge by joining the Continental Army, accompanied by his dog, Rex. Traveling to join the troops, he meets James, a slave in his early 30s who has been temporarily released in order to join the revolutionaries. The two are welcomed and assigned by Lafayette to work as spies. James Armistead Lafayette, the slave in the novel, was a real person who gathered information while acting as British General Cornwallis's servant, and passed it to Lafayette. Most other details about his life are unknown. The novel includes a great deal of military action and expected violence. Nate pursues the British dragoon who did the most damage to his family throughout the book, intent on killing him. Many occurrences strain credibility. Rex has extraordinary tracking abilities, as well as strength, loyalty, and intelligence. Both Nate and James become extremely close to Lafayette in a short amount of time. James speaks in awkwardly written dialect, while Lafayette speaks English with French words frequently interspersed. The book effectively delivers military action, intrigue, and adventure, but does not provide a believable story or compelling characters.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879352318
  • Publisher: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
  • Publication date: 10/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 234
  • Sales rank: 634,647
  • Age range: 11 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Great description of Yorktown during the end of the Revolutionar

    Great description of Yorktown during the end of the Revolutionary War. Identifies problems and dimmas in the past. A lesson in consequences and decisions. In the back of the book it lists Revolutionary War Time Line, Historical Figures in the Novel, and a French Glossary of Words and Phrases used in the Novel. In the front of the book is a map showing the York and James Rivers, plus the Chesapeake Bay and the nearby towns to Yorktown.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Fabulous book!

    This book is engaging and informative. My kids really got into the story.

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