The Demon Redcoat

The Demon Redcoat
Book Review by Amber Stults

The Demon Redcoat is the final book in C.C. Finlay’s Traitor to the Crown trilogy.  In the series Finlay addresses the scenario of what may have happened if both sides of the American Revolution used witches in the war.  Finlay stays true to the actual timeline of events without moving them around to suit his purposes and a few famous figures make appearances as the main character, Proctor Brown, works to secure America’s freedom from the British.

Proctor is a former minuteman whose life has taken unexpected turns because of the war.  Though his life hasn’t gone exactly as he imagined it would, Proctor has the two things he wanted the most – a wife and land.  Through a series of events in the first book, Proctor was sent to The Farm where he met Deborah and fell in love with her.  Deborah’s parents were part of an underground railroad for witches and owned The Farm.

At The Farm, witches practice their magic and learn how to control it.  It’s also a safe haven for witches.  Proctor’s magic originally manifested in the ability to see the future but through practice and trials experienced in the previous books, he has grown more powerful than he ever imagined.

The British have a secret society of European witches known as the Covenant helping their cause.  England recognizes the rights of blacks as free people but ironically continue to kill witches for practicing their magic.  The Covenant has inserted itself into positions of power in Europe and some of its members have lived for hundreds of years.  They would like to defeat the American rebels in order to maintain their current power.  Throughout the trilogy The Farm has received quite a bit of attention from the Covenant.  Deborah and Proctor decide the only way to save them and their loved ones is to take the fight to the Covenant.

Proctor represents the everyman and the action always focuses on him.  Once he is on his way to Europe, Finlay is able to keep the reader informed of what is happening in America without breaking in with a narrator.  These glimpses of events without full knowledge of the circumstances give the reader the same sense of confusion and dismay experienced by Proctor.  This serves the story well.

The topic of slavery comes to the forefront in both subtle and obvious ways.  Accompanying Proctor to Europe is a former slave, Lydia, who pretends he is her master.  Lydia finds her role a difficult one to return to, just as the rebels found it increasingly difficult to go along with the demands of the British.

This is a good book to turn to for some cerebral fun with some action thrown into the mix.  No zombies or animated scarecrows arrive for the action as in previous books.  As the title suggests there are plenty of demons.  One scene with King George would be laugh out loud funny if it were not for the seriousness of the situation.  Overall it’s a satisfying ending to the series and even leaves an opening for a series set during the Civil War.

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