The Trial and Execution of the Traitor George Washington: What If The British Kidnapped America’s #1 General?

When I saw the title of this book, I knew I had to read it. I love history and any kind of spin on it will probably end up on my TBR list. While I tend to lean more towards World War II and the Regency Era, I know enough about the American Revolution to immediately want to see what this book had in store. Also, any book with the word “traitor” in the title is probably going to catch my eye. I was intrigued by the premise of if Washington was kidnapped by the British and wanted to know whether the execution was actually going to happen or not. NO SPOILERS! Let’s get to the review!

Synopsis (From Goodreads):

British special agent Jeremiah Black, an officer of the King’s Guard, lands on a lonely beach in the wee hours of the morning in late November 1780. The revolution is in full swing but has become deadlocked. Black is here to change all that.

His mission, aided by Loyalists, is to kidnap George Washington and spirit him back to London aboard the HMS Peregrine, a British sloop of war that is waiting closely offshore. Once he lands, though, the “aid by Loyalists” proves problematic because some would prefer just to kill the general outright. Black manages—just—to get Washington aboard the Peregrine, which sails away.

Upon their arrival in London, Washington is imprisoned in the Tower to await trial on charges of high treason. England’s most famous barristers seek to represent him but he insists on using an American. He chooses Abraham Hobhouse, an American-born barrister with an English wife—a man who doesn’t really need the work and thinks the “career-building” case will be easily resolved through a settlement of the revolution and Washington’s release. But as greater political and military forces swirl around them and peace seems ever more distant, Hobhouse finds that he is the only thing keeping Washington from the hangman’s noose.

The story begins with us following Jeremiah Black, an undercover soldier in the British Royal Army, as he travels to the Colonies to kidnap George Washington. But let’s be clear here: while his mission is to kidnap George Washington, there are many people involved in the scheme, including people in British Parliament, who would have no problem if he was “accidentally” killed during the kidnapping. But Black will not have it. He does all he can to keep the people out to kill Washington at bay so he can get him back to Britain to be put on trial for treason.

Black doesn’t do his job alone. The British government found people (pre-kidnapping trip) in the Colonies who were against the revolution and agreed to help Black kidnap Washington. Does he succeed? I kind of have to spoil this part otherwise my review would stop here. Yes, he succeeds! He gets Washington onto a small boat in the middle of the storm and back onto the ship off to England, all while Black is extremely seasick. He is pretty much hanging over the edge of the boat as soon as they take off (lol).

And don’t fret Washington fans, the general does not go willingly. He tries to escape at least two times while he is still in the Colonies and almost kills himself in the ocean when he’s being taken to the ship. Once Washington is in Britain, there is not much for him to do except sit in a jail cell and wait for help.

That help comes in the form of Ethan Abbott, a lawyer from America. He works with the government to try and make a deal for Washington’s release. As the title shows, this doesn’t work and Washington ends up facing a trial and…possibly an execution.

There are a lot of characters involved in helping Washington get out of prison, including his lawyer, Abraham Hobhouse. Once the trial is underway and the verdict comes back guilty, Abbott, Hobhouse, and Washington work on…other ways to save him from the noose. *evil cackling* Like I said: NO SPOILERS!

While there are some genuinely suspenseful moments, particularly in the courtroom and at the very end of the book, the story ultimately fell flat for me. There are a lot of scenes. Scenes that, in my opinion, didn’t necessarily need to be there. We get to see almost every part of the process of kidnapping Washington, getting Washington to Britain, and then trying to get him out of prison. I guess I expected more time to be given to the actual trial but it is a relatively short scene and didn’t start until about 2/3 of the way in. I wanted more suspense, more thrill. I think it was an issue of telling, rather than showing which is upsetting because the final scene was shown so well. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened. I wish the story included more scenes like that.

While I was entertained by this book, I was waiting for the excitement to start. Even the scene where Jeremiah Black kidnaps Washington felt bland and that should be one of the most suspenseful scenes in the whole story. For these reasons, I am giving The Trial and Execution of the Traitor George Washinton by Charles Rosenberg 3 out of 5 stars. If you are really into the American Revolution and want to see this alternative version, you might want to check it out despite my misgivings.

The Trial and Execution of the Traitor George Washington by Charles Rosenberg comes out June 26, 2018

Thank you, NetGalley and Harlequin/Hanover Square Press for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

One thought on “The Trial and Execution of the Traitor George Washington: What If The British Kidnapped America’s #1 General?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s