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The Spy

The Spy by James Fenimore Cooper
By: (1789-1851)

Between 1865-73 the tumultuous American Revolution rages on in different battlefields. The air is thick with hatred and suspicion as the Continental and British armies clash in bloody warfare. In Westchester County, New York, an area is considered a neutral ground for both forces, Harvey Birch plies his dangerous mission. An innocuous peddler by day, he is in fact an American spy, though he does nothing to correct anyone who assumes he is a British spy. In a magnificent country mansion, The Locusts, live the wealthy Whartons. The father, a widower, is a successful businessman, while his two lovely daughters are being brought up to become society ladies by their maiden aunt. One stormy night, a mysterious stranger rides up to the mansion....

Peopled with memorable characters, some of them real life heroes like George Washington, The Spy by James Fenimore Cooper is a great blend of fact and historical fiction, constructed on a magnificent scale. Published in 1821, this is Cooper's second novel. Dubbed as the Father of American Literature, Cooper served in the American Navy and that is perhaps why the sea features in so many of his novels. He was independently wealthy and highly educated and married an equally well-educated and rich woman. Some of their children and descendants have also continued the writing tradition. An extremely prolific writer, his enormous output includes nearly fifty full length novels and numerous shorter works. Some of his most famous titles include The Last of the Mohicans, Homeward Bound, The Red Rover etc. He was the first American writer to include Native Americans, African Americans and people of other ethnicities in his work.

The Spy is an exciting read for young and old alike, sparkling with interesting nuggets of information that give an authentic picture of a very eventful period in American history.


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