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The Drum of Destiny


The Drum of Destiny

It’s 1775, and Gabriel Cooper --- an orphan whose parents were patriots --- is sent to live with a family of loyalists. He feels fiercely patriotic because of his parents, and he has a hard time biting his tongue when his foster family mentions the King. One night, at dinner, he can hold himself back no longer and blurts out that he hates the King. He is then forced to leave the house and fend for himself.

Gabriel is too young to fight in the Revolution but he wants to be involved. When he finds an abandoned drum, he decides to make his way from New York to Boston so he can be a drummer boy in the patriot’s army. Problem is, he doesn’t know how to play a drum and he has no transportation. So he sets out alone, on foot, determined to make it to Boston and play his patriotic part.

Along the way he suffers many ills: he is beaten, caught in a storm, almost drowns and gets very sick, among other calamities. The odds are greatly against him. Will he make it to Boston where he can fulfill his dream?

Chris Stevenson does a great job combining historical fact with fiction in THE DRUM OF DESTINY.

Author Chris Stevenson does a great job combining historical fact with fiction in THE DRUM OF DESTINY. He places Gabriel in a specific historical time period where he is able to meet specific historical people such as George Washington, Benedict Arnold and Nathaniel Greene. But Stevenson also throws in plenty of fictional narrative to move the story along in an interesting and entertaining manner.

However, I had a couple of problems with the text. First, there are several typos in the finished copy that I read. This might not seem like a problem to most of you, but as a reviewer, I notice them. Also, there was a discrepancy in the story line. At one point, the text says Gabriel had enough food to last him for several days. But, when mentioning the topic the very next day, the text said he was nearly out of food. Also, the text contains a riddle of sorts which is never explained. I thought we would get an explanation for it at the end of the book, but that never happened. Perhaps there will be a sequel to the book, but if not, I feel like Stevenson left readers hanging.

Despite these issues, I enjoyed reading THE DRUM OF DESTINY and learned a bit more about the Revolution. Also, with a glossary, discussion questions and some writing prompts, this book would be great to read while simultaneously learning about this critical time period in American history in school.

Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on February 29, 2016

The Drum of Destiny
by Chris Stevenson