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The Spy: A Tale Of The Neutral Ground
by James Fenimore Cooper
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From Library Journal
Written in 1821, this historical novel is Cooper's paean to the Revolutionary War, as protagonist Harry Birch finds himself wrongly accused of selling vital information to the British. The book incorporates several real characters, including George Washington.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
At the time of the Revolutionary War, a peddler makes use of the suspicions that he is in league with the British in order to procure information for General Washington. Nine 90-minute cassettes and one 60.
I believe I could write a better story myself! With these words, since become famous, James Fenimore Cooper laid aside the English novel which he was reading aloud to his wife. A few days later he submitted several pages of manuscript for her approval, and then settled down to the task of making good his boast. In November, 1820, he gave the public a novel in two volumes, entitled Precaution. But it was published anonymously, and dealt with English society in so much the same way as the average British novel of the time that its author was thought by many to be an Englishman.
From the Back Cover
Set in upstate New York on a comfortable estate, the law-abiding family of Mr. Wharton suddenly finds the Revolutionary War at its door. They are an American family with friendly British ties, but they have kept their dual loyalties from affecting their peaceful life, until a secret visit from Whartons own son, Henry, changes everything. Henry is a British officer and has crossed behind American lines in disguise. When American troops arrive unexpectedly, Henry is discovered and arrested as a spy. Adding grief to the familys pain is the connection to Henrys captor, the noble Major Dunwoodie. He is Henrys sisters fiancé and Henrys own childhood friend; and they must all remain at the Whartons until Dunwoodie can escort Henry to Washington for his trial.
The plans for departing are delayed when British forces enter the vicinity and a battle breaks out within sight. When the British are defeated, Dunwoodie quarters captured Colonel Wellmere in the Wharton home. Now quarantined with prisoners and quartered American officers, the Whartons wait for their beloved Henry to be taken away and tried. Little does any of them know that the real spy still roams free and plies his trade within their midst.
As the war enters the family sitting room, the family members become divided. While eldest daughter Sarah swoons for British Colonel Wellmere, young Francis affirms her love for Dunwoodie and sees the war through his eyes. The familys once acceptable loyalties now conflict and finally threaten to break them apart. But when Henry escapes his capture and is helped by the real British spy, Francis must decide for herself and her family how important are their patriotic ties. Will she betray her brother to the Americans or will she let him go to the British, and risk the honor and career of the American officer she loves? A story of love and intrigue, war and sacrifice, THE SPY touches the heart of early America and brings the fervor of the revolution into modern times.
Cooper subsequently established himself as a prolific author of many works of fiction. He died in 1851.
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