Year of the Hangman

Year of the Hangman

3.8 18
by Gary Blackwood

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In 1776, the rebellion of the American colonies against British rule was crushed.  Now, in 1777-the year of the hangman-George Washington is awaiting execution, Benjamin Franklin's banned rebel newspaper, Liberty Tree, has gone underground, and young ne'er-do-well Creighton Brown, a fifteen-year-old Brit, has just arrived in the colonies.  Having

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In 1776, the rebellion of the American colonies against British rule was crushed.  Now, in 1777-the year of the hangman-George Washington is awaiting execution, Benjamin Franklin's banned rebel newspaper, Liberty Tree, has gone underground, and young ne'er-do-well Creighton Brown, a fifteen-year-old Brit, has just arrived in the colonies.  Having been shipped off against his will, with nothing but a distance for English authorities, Creighton befriends Franklin, and lands a job with his print shop.  But the English general expects the spoiled yet loyal Creighton to spy on Franklin.  As battles unfold and falsehoods are exposed, Creighton must decide where his loyalties lie...a choice that could determine the fate of a nation.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Packed with action, convincing historical speculation, and compelling portrayals of real-life and fictional characters, this [is] a page-turner." -School Library Journal
Publishers Weekly
This story imagines what would have happened if the Americans had lost the Revolutionary War, and focuses on a boy who agrees to spy on Benjamin Franklin. PW said, "History buffs will recognize some clever dialogue and the hero struggles with compelling questions, such as the meaning of honor and the value of war." Ages 12-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
We can only hope that YA readers catch on immediately that this is an alternate history—the British didn't win the Revolutionary War, Washington wasn't imprisoned, Franklin didn't seek refuge in New Orleans. Blackwood tells the story from the viewpoint of a spoiled young Englishman named Creighton, whose mother arranges to send him to the Colonies to the care of an uncle. It's directly after the British have won the war decisively in this alternate history; uchronia is the name of this genre, Blackwood explains. Patriots have found shelter in New Orleans, a city not under the control of the British, and Creighton somehow gets into the household of the printer, Ben Franklin, where his uncle wants him to spy for the British cause. In the course of the novel, Creighton's loyalties shift and he understands why the Americans want to rid themselves of British rule. He actually develops a conscience. There is a lot of action. And although Creighton is a kind of anti-hero at first, he does become much more sympathetic as the story proceeds. He had never worked before in his life as a young gentleman, and slowly he finds he enjoys the satisfaction of helping Franklin in the printing business, actually producing a finished product to be proud of. There are battles, skirmishes, escapes, a duel—everything that might please a YA reader interested in that period of history. Category: Hardcover Fiction. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2002, Penguin, Putnam, Dutton, 291p.,
— Claire Rosser; KLIATT
School Library Journal
Gr 8-10-The author of The Shakespeare Stealer (Puffin, 2000) guides readers through a might-have-been America in this suspenseful alternative history set during the Revolutionary War. In Blackwood's imagined 1777, the upstart colonists have been routed by superior British forces. George Washington awaits execution and the rebel leaders who have escaped capture are in hiding or have fled. Dashing Benedict Arnold has become a privateer operating out of French-controlled New Orleans, where Benjamin Franklin runs a printing shop and distributes an illegal newspaper, The Liberty Tree. Enter 17-year-old Creighton Brown, an upper-class English wastrel who arrives in Louisiana as Arnold's captive, after an earlier abduction from London that had been arranged by his mother. Lodged with Franklin, Creighton becomes a reluctant publishing assistant, and, as he begins to admire the Americans and their principles, an even more reluctant British spy. Creighton's lazy, spoiled ways undergo a revolution of their own when he is caught between dangerous plots and counterplots and is forced to take risks that threaten more than one life. Packed with action, convincing historical speculation, and compelling portrayals of real-life and fictional characters, this page-turner will appeal to fans of both history and fantasy.-Starr E. Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A wastrel-in-training finds cause, and a Cause, to mend his ways in this alternate history from the author of Shakespeare’s Scribe (2000). The American revolt has collapsed with the capture of George Washington, but there’s still unrest in the colonies. Creighton Brown, spoiled son of a British officer supposedly killed in the war, has been involuntarily dispatched there in hopes that his ruthless uncle, Hugh Gower, colonel in charge of the Charles Town garrison, can shape him up. Captured by pirates led by dashing hothead Benedict Arnold, Creighton meets Ben Franklin and other exiles living in Spanish-held New Orleans, and finds himself playing both sides, forced to spy for Gower while becoming embroiled in a rebel plan to find and free Washington. Losing his arrogance and preconceptions with realistic reluctance, Creighton survives several narrow scrapes on the way to rescuing his father, who turns out to have actually been imprisoned for warning settlers of an impending massacre. As well, he ends up taking to heart Franklin’s observation that there is no such thing as a good war, or a bad peace. Disappointingly, Washington never does turn up, but readers will be swept along by this what if? adventure, and will find Franklin’s philosophy as applicable today as ever. (afterword) (Fiction. 11-13)

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
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Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
14 - 15 Years

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From the Publisher
"Packed with action, convincing historical speculation, and compelling portrayals of real-life and fictional characters, this [is] a page-turner." -School Library Journal

Meet the Author

Gary L. Blackwood sold his first story when he was nineteen, and has been writing and publishing stories, articles, plays, novels, and nonfiction books regularly ever since. His stage plays have won awards and been produced in university and regional theatre. Nonfiction subjects he's covered include biography, history, and paranormal phenomena. His juvenile novels, which include WILD TIMOTHY, THE DYING SUN, and THE SHAKESPEARE STEALER, are set in a wide range of times and places, from Elizabethan England to a parallel universe. Several have received special recognition and been translated into other languages. He and his wife and kids live outside Carthage, MO.

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The Year of the Hangman 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fiction Book Report: The Year of the Hangman The Year of the Hangman was written by Gary Blackwood and is a thrilling adventure story about a 15 year old boy named Creighton Brown who is kidnapped and forced to go the American colonies for his rash behavior of skipping school, drinking, and betting .He is loaded onto his mother¿s boyfriend¿s ship, the Amity. When he arrives in Carolina in 1777, he is greeted by his evil uncle, an officer in the British army. He then leaves Carolina to go to his uncle¿s new post in Florida, where he was promoted to be commander. They board the Amity again but are attacked by an American ship, the Revenge, which was flying the Union Jack. A fierce battle takes place killing a British naval officer and many crewmen. Eventually they get boarded by the Americans. All survivors were rounded up and asked if they would join the American forces. All agreed apart from his uncle and his second in command. They are both imprisoned. Before their imprisonment, his uncle persuades him to say that he was traveling to the colonies and to spy on the American rebels. Once they docked at New Orleans, he travels to Benjamin Franklin¿s house. There he worked the printing press of the Liberty Tree. He found out that Benjamin Franklin was printing the Liberty Tree and was the main contributor to the resistance. Because of this, he freed his uncle from captivity and helped burn down Franklin¿s printing press and kill Franklin. Only then does he come to his senses. He then helps the Americans escape to fight another day. They then go down to Florida and wrecked havoc onto his uncle¿s new providence. He and Benedict Arnold plan to trick Creighton¿s Uncle. They succeed in doing so and they eventually kill him in a duel. They all end up leaving to rescue George Washington, a prisoner of war, from captivity. When they finally get to the prison to free George Washington, they find Creighton¿s father, Harry Brown, instead of George Washington. They also find out that George Washington was hung the week he arrived at the prison. The guard ends up locking them in a cell but they escape. After escaping on a boat, they find out that Harry Brown has malaria. They travel back to New Orleans and continue printing the Liberty Tree. Creighton Brown is a tall, strong, rambunctious teenager who gamble¿s and skips school and has no respect for life and human welfare whatsoever. Over the course of this book, he learns that life is to be treasured. He also learns that friendship is important to a good life. The most important lesson he learns is that honor is not always the right thing for mankind. When Creighton said, ¿They had treated all of life as though it were merely an extension of the card games in which they endlessly engaged.¿(257)This is how Creighton was in England but he started anew in America. This is because he said ¿But Creighton had lately come to see duels and battles in a different light¿ And they were not subject to rules or codes of honor.¿(257) In the beginning of the book, his hatred and insecurity motivated him to do what he thought was right, but his motivations changed over time. He learned that honor and obeying orders was not always the right thing. He found this out when overcoming the obstacles of the consequences of obeying his uncle. This he overcame by relying on his American friends to support him and influence him to do the right thing. He learned to trust his gut instincts and not to be unkind in a c
3g-9m More than 1 year ago
This is a story about a British boy named Creighton Brown who finds himself in a bit of trouble. Suddenly, he was not liked around American rebels because he is always in trouble with the law. They want him to have a good behavior so that he can be cured. At the beginning of the book he was a very arrogant Englishman who didn’t play by the rules and he also played card games. Since his mother had no choice but to sent him off to the colonies to live with his Uncle Gower. The out of nowhere, Creighton, his uncle Gower, and Hale were captured during the trip to the Colonies. He was finally released as an indentured servant. So the only thing he had to do was to give himself up to Franklin by telling him his role in the escape of Col.Gower and Lt.Hale. Then his fun of life and games were over and had taken a risk to be with Benjamin Franklin. Maybe his childhood of messing around with friends is over because of his behavior that needed to be treated. What in Creighton’s mind that he thinks of what is going to happen to him? Maybe his mother will think that his behavior will change while being with his uncle. But all things were going downhill from there, he was forced to be a housemaid. But he noticed a girl named Sophie and he was in a flirty relationship with her. She will always care for him when he is sick or hurt. Col.Gower is trying to figure out why these two are so close to each other. Many things can happen in Creighton’s world. What will happen to him next if he screws himself up again?
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HastingsWA More than 1 year ago
Said it was one of her favorite books of all time. Said it would make a good movie!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Year of the Hangman is an amazing What if? book! What if the British won the American Revolution? This book teaches the importance of the Founding Fathers. REMEMBER they were traitors to their country(Britain). This book shows what would have happened to them if they got caught and what would have happened to them as a group if the American Revolution wasn't a success for them. I never realized the sacrifices made by Washington, Franklin, or Jefferson until I got the courage to read this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book I read was "The Year Of The Hangman" by Gary Blackwood.The genre to find this book would be historical fiction. The main character of this book is Creighton Brown.

The book is about a 17 year old boy named Creighton Brown who is kidnapped. His kidnappers take him aboard on a ship they called Sir Edward's ship.They finally reach north Carolina were his father was killed , he finds his uncle Colonel Gower. They're later on attacked by the Americans. At the end he has to choose if he wants to keep his loyalty to his countrymen,the British or become a traitor and help the Americans.

I would strongly recommend this book for anybody who likes history.This book was mostly about if the Americans lost to the British in the revolutionary war. This is one of the most interesting book I ever read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was very well written, like the rest of Gary Blackwood's books. The only problem I had with this novel was that the ending was a terrible letdown. It was almost as if the author got tired of the book and just wrote the ending down in a rush. I highly recomend this book, but you would probably be better off reading his other novels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book really upset me in the fact that it was stupid. the start was great, but the middle dragged on and the end just stunk. i dont recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It was very different, instead of the Americans winning the revolutionary war, the British had won. It is a complete twist of history. If you like a lot of action you will like this book. It is about a 17 year old boy named Creighton. He gets cast out of England by his mother and sent to America. When Creighton arrives in America, a series of events happen. Creighton and his uncle Colonel Gower are attacked by Americans! Creighton¿s loyalty is tested By the Americans. Will Creighton keep his loyalty to his countrymen, the British, or will he side with the Americans to learn more about his father and become a traitor? This book takes you through the swamps of America, the forests, and even some settlements. There is adventure around every turn. Some things that I liked about the book were how the chapters alternated talking about different characters. Another thing that I liked about the book was all the detail that the author put in. Some things that I didn¿t like about the book were that some parts were confusing. Another thing that I didn¿t like about the book was that it was a little short. I like books that are 300 pages or more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Creighton and his family were normal until the war came his dad went off to war. Shortly After he left he was determined dead Creighton was devastated he turned into a trouble maker. He stated going to the taverns and gambling with the other man and got him self in to a lot of trouble so he was sent off to the Americas. He didn¿t think much of the Americans he was not fond of them. He wasn¿t sure what was even sure what was going on. When he got there he realized he couldn¿t trust everyone he met. He was being past around from people he didn¿t know then he finally got to his uncle. His uncle was very rude and didn¿t really care for him. His uncle left him behind so he befriended some Americans and he finally realized the Americans point of view. As he became friends with them he decided to help them find their general who was captured by the English. When they went to rescue him they couldn¿t find him but they found Creighton¿s uncle witched made some problems. They finally found where they thought he was located as they got there they discovered something much more important.Somthing neither if them would of guessed they would of found. The rest is up to you, would you like to read on? Then get the book The Year of a Hangman By: Gary Blackwood. I have never read a book like this it is like a few different stories put together making it very unique. This book is not part of a series just one great book. No movie comes close to this action. Even though, you can picture every moment in this book. It¿s better than any movie. Thanks for reading and I hope you decided to read The Year of a Hangman. Something¿s things that I liked about this book that I think you would like are in the following sentences. The first thing I think you will like is that the ending is really unpredictable. Well something¿s are. I also liked the whole concept of the way there is more than one thing going on at a time and it¿s like there is more than one book going on but I liked it. Some things I didn¿t like about this book are that the begging is really boring and I couldn¿t even stay awake during it. The end helped redeem it though so the book was pretty good
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was not a fan of this one. It moved really slow and once it got to to the point I wanted to read it still wasn't any good. I suggest reading it for school, but dont spend your own money on it, get it from a library.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a great book.I would recommen this book to anyone that wants to learn about this era. It does not seem like it is a fiction book. Everything is so accurate.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Year of the Hangman is about the Americans losing the American Revolution. The American leader, George Washington, gets captured by the British and put in prison. Then a British boy named Creighton Brown is sent to the Carolinas, where his father was killed. After many men are killed Creighton must choose who to follow. This book is set in New Orleans 1777. The genre of this book is historical fiction. People who like the American Revolution will like this book. The Year of the Hangman is probably one of the best books I¿ve ever read in my life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best historical fiction book that I have ever read. Gary Blackwood presents amazing ideas about history. Anyone who likes books. No matter what a persons genre choice is for a book, they WILL love this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book. It is historical fiction. I don't really like historical fiction, or nonfiction, but the minute I picked up this book I could not put it down. Although I'm only halfway through at the point, I highly recommend this to historical fans and non-historical fans 12 and up.