I'm back on my kick for combining genres. This time I'm focusing on the "Traitor to the Crown" series by C. C. Finlay. The series takes place during the American Revolution and follows the hero, Proctor Brown as he develops from a young farm boy with patriot leanings to a major force in the War for Independence. He does this because he is a witch.
Finlay doesn't present an alternative world, he uses the one we live in and know from the history books. However, he adds the detail of witchcraft to explain some of the events which took place. In The Patriot Witch we are introduced to Brown who is a young farmer in love with a Tory girl. He has some magical abilities but because of the treatment of witches, he has kept it hidden. But war is coming and he is drawn into the fight. He is also drawn into a world of witchcraft he didn't know existed.
As the war flames into existence, he learns about a shadowy group of witches who are determined to see the Americans lose. It is up to him and a small group of witches to defeat their magical enemies to see the Revolution successful.
The story continues in the next book, Spell for the Revolution and concludes with The Demon Redcoat. What I find fascinating with this series is not the witchcraft element but rather the use of witchcraft as an explanation to the some of the events in the war. If you've read anything about the escape from New York by Washington and his troops, you know how impossible a task it really was. Finlay uses magic to explain how this miracle happened.
The books are shelved in the sci fi/fantasy section of the bookshop, but really these are more historicals with a paranormal element. If you don't like history, you are not going to get as much from this series. Real historical figures are important characters in the novels and significant happenings in the Revolution are a major part of the story.
As I have said before, I am all for finding new ways to invigorate the historical. What I like so much about this series is that it isn't a changing of history but rather a new way of telling it, a way of making it a little more adventurous.
Hopefully this blending of history and magic will bring new readers into both genres. People who are not history readers might have their eyes opened and gain an interest in reading more. Others who read for the history may find the elements of the paranormal something fun to delve into. As a writer, I like the idea of authors leaving the narrow path and creating a blend which appeals to all kinds of readers.
I recommend this series to history buffs paranormal fans alike. It brings to life a great period in history while giving it an entertaining edge.