Young Staplyton is eager to join the Fencibles, for glory and honor and manhood. He's twelve but he is about to sail off to Ireland as the drummer to this Staffordshire unit serving George II of England. In Ireland the Fencibles will serve their king by suppressing any sign of the Irish culture. It's the 1700's and the English are fearful of being squashed between the Catholics of France and the Catholics of Ireland. The Irish look like the easier foe hence the dispatch of the Fencibles to do the job. Their first task upon arrival is to march out into the countryside to demand a fine horse from an Irish farmer. Lord Melville, an English noble, is living in Ireland and has taken a liking to the horse and since no Irishman may own a horse of this high quality, the Fencibles will forcefully remove the horse. They have not counted on the Irishman's high sense of honor and justice and when he pulls out a pistol to shoot his own horse he becomes a danger to the Fencibles and is shot and killed. Young Staplyton's father is the colonel in command of this glorious unit doing this glorious deed. Somehow this is not what the lad expected and he begins to take that step away from childhood and toward adulthood. He will watch with dismay as the situation grows more and more involved simply because of politics and one man's vanity. Is the way to ensure the Irish loyalty to the king truly the way of violence and oppression? A friend to be made and an honor to be upheld. Wonderful coming of age and history combined. Ages 10-15
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