Dateline 1776: Masked men with amazing fighting skills face off against a platoon of Redcoats. The Redcoats have never seen anything like it. Who are these mysterious fighters and where did they come from?
Dateline 1760: Lewis, a slave, is caught trying to escape by the notorious fugitive slave catcher Cole Walker. He is brought back to the plantation in chains while a new slave, Graham, watches and the young slave Brody tries to protest. When the plantation owner’s son, Master Sorenson, comes by the slave quarters that night to break up the slaves’ singing and drumming, Graham hits Sorenson, causing him to fall into the fire. Graham and Brody quickly flee, hoping to find the friendly Quaker, Ben Lay to protect them. While they manage to evade Cole Walker and his dogs (who wear scarily spiked collars), they are discovered by Benjamin Franklin’s son, William. Unfortunately, William only wants the slaves on which to conduct his experiments with lightning and electricity. When Ben Franklin finds the boys after these experiments, at first he thinks they are dead. But then their eyes start to glow and they leap up and bound away.
Finding Lay at last, Graham and Brody realize that the experiments with electricity have left them with enhanced abilities, at least for short periods of time. They can jump higher and farther than normal men, move at super-human speeds and seem to have the strength of many men. Lay begins to train them in the art of Dambe, a mysterious African martial art.
While I liked the premise of super humans in the time of the revolution and I thought making them escaped slaves was especially clever, I did have a bit of an issue with the Wise White Man having to teach them, well, everything. Graham and Brody seem to have no idea what they could possibly do with super powers (revenge, anyone?) or how to improve themselves. But the art is solid and dark and complements the story well.
This is book one and it is a bit of a cliff hanger. Especially since the book opens in 1777, then cuts back to show you the Sons of Liberty’s beginnings, and then leaves you hanging. Stay tuned!
Middle School and up – some fighting and blood but minimal gruesomeness (for example, the experiments are implied, not show), no nudity.