Traitor to the Crown: The Demon Redcoat
by C.C. Finlay
Cover Artist: Craig Howell
Review by Mel Jacob
Del Rey Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345503923
Date: 23 June 2009 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The concluding volume of C.C. Finlay's Traitor to the Crown, The Demon Redcoat, begins with the birth of the first child of Proctor Brown and his wife Deborah. Both are powerful witches who support the patriot cause against the British and have made enemies of the Covenant, a group of 12 witches and their creatures that support the British. A demon appears and tries to steal their child for a sacrifice. With the help of all the witches at The Farm, they defeat the demon, but Magdalena, the Pennsylvania Dutch witch, sacrifices herself.
Proctor fears his presence is a danger to his family and, convinced they must destroy the Covenant on the Continent, he plans to carry the fight there. Letters come from Washington asking him to accompany John Adams on his mission to France. Deborah doesn't want him to leave, but he insists. He takes Lydia Freeman, the black witch, once controlled by Cicely Pinckney. She knows more about the Covenant than anyone else.
Bad luck or the Covenant's magic dogs the voyage and only by extreme effort on Proctor's part do they make port. Troubles continue when they face a thousand mile land journey to Paris. Proctor and Lydia have no money to pay for passage and John Adams refuses to help. The grateful captain of the French ship returns Proctor's fare which enables them to continue.
Despite obstacles and defeat, Proctor never looses sight of his goal. The fate of Deborah and their infant daughter Maggie haunts him. He would sacrifice himself to keep them safe.
Again, Finlay mixes historical figures and events in his narrative including King George and Lord Gordon. He switched back and forth between Proctor and the British general Tarleton. He explains Tarleton's excesses on the influence of a demon-possessed young boy who appears and disappears as the British Legion travels and attacks patriots.
Franklin aids Proctor by introducing him to Thomas Digges and Isaac Potter. Potter acts a courier for Franklin. Digges, an American spy, helps free Americans held by the British and arranges to smuggle Lydia and Proctor into England. Finlay hints at reasons for Franklin's behavior, but never explains it.
The novel provides an exciting climax, but leaves a few loose ends such as how Proctor resolves the use of blood magic with Deborah's Quaker beliefs. She considers it evil and that each death Proctor causes diminishes him. Occasionally Finlay slips into modern slang, and, while he uses magic to explain unusual weather phenomenon and odd behavior, he sticks to his historical setting.