“THE SECRET MISSION OF WILLIAM TUCK,” by Eric Pierpoint, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, Sept. 1, 2015, Paperback, $7.99 (ages 9-12)
I love history. I love it enough to have considered it as my major for college (it ended up being my minor). History is like a novel in and of itself. There are so many stories to be told. But I didn’t feel that way initially. It was the amazing work by talented authors who created historical fiction that made the past come to life. I feel forever changed by books like “Counting the Stars,” “The Root Cellar” and “Johnny Tremain.” And now I can add “The Secret Mission of William Tuck” to that list.
William Tuck knows the personal cost of war with Britain. He watches as his brother is shot down in his own yard for defying British soldiers, and that sparks a fire inside him like none other. Will decides the cause is to great to ignore and joins up with American forces as a drummer.
William barely makes it through his first battle before he finds himself on an unthinkable mission, carrying a secret message addressed to George Washington himself. Along the way, William finds an unlikely ally in Rebecca whose own father is being held prisoner by the redcoats. Rebecca disguises herself as a boy, and she and William join the American troops. The two find themselves entangled in a network of spies and counterspies, and knowing whom to trust could be a matter of life or death.
“The Secret Mission of William Tuck” is full of action, mystery and adventure. It’s also full of history. It’s well researched without feeling heavy-handed. William is a likeable character that you begin to care about from the beginning — you want to see him succeed.
Author Eric Pierpoint adds a human touch to history. You really gain a sense of what Americans (both soldiers and those on the home front) went through. While realistic, Pierpoint writes with his audience in mind, toning down gorier instances but remaining true to his story and to history.
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