History Lessons Leap to Life in New Murder-Mystery Novel

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Three may keep a secret, Benjamin Franklin once wrote, ‘if two of them are dead’

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Readers who enjoy reflecting on the lessons of history will also appreciate the evolution of the protagonist’s moral and political thought, and may discover parallels to today’s troubled times.

“If Two Are Dead” (published by iUniverse), the third and latest installment of the Thomas Dordrecht series of historical fiction novels by Jonathan Carriel, follows the exploits of the saga’s namesake young shipping agent as he carries out an intrepid inquiry into mysterious deaths in colonial-era New York City.

Set in the year 1762, just prior to the dawn of the American republic, “If Two are Dead” picks up the narrative begun in “Die Fasting” and continued in “Great Mischief.” Dordrecht, now 22 and home from fighting in the French and Indian War, enters the business world in the employ of a shipping company but soon finds himself embroiled in a manhunt that will take him from Manhattan to Long Island, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and the Caribbean.

Carriel deftly blends nautical fiction – a la Patrick O’Brian (“Master and Commander”) – with an intricately plotted murder mystery worthy of the intellect of Sherlock Holmes. And the book’s meticulous attention to detail will meet the stringent expectations of historical fiction enthusiasts.

The author, a lifelong New Yorker who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from New York University, has developed an entire website filled with bonus content that enhances the Thomas Dordrecht saga’s historical milieu.

Thanks to its setting, “If Two Are Dead” (a recipient of iUniverse’s Editor’s Choice designation) offers something different for readers of pre-revolution historical fiction, says Carriel.

“The hero’s roots in the New York City area give him an important perspective on the events of his era that is perhaps less familiar to most readers than that of the denizens of Massachusetts or Virginia.”

Readers who enjoy reflecting on the lessons of history will also appreciate the evolution of the protagonist’s moral and political thought, and may discover parallels to today’s troubled times.

Dordrecht, a veteran of the French and Indian War, possesses “a growing realization of the foulness of war,” says Carriel, “particularly unnecessary wars of choice – that is, approximately 99 percent of all wars.” They are, he adds, “as ruinous to ‘winners’ as they are to ‘losers.’”

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Brian Hartz
iUniverse
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