Poison in the Colony: James Town 1622
Poison in the Colony: James Town 1622
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Annotation: A companion to Blood on the River: James Town 1607 finds young Virginia Laydon risking charges of witchcraft when her preternatural gifts offer a solution to her colony's escalating tensions with the native Algonquin.
Catalog Number: #181039
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 308 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-425-29183-9
ISBN 13: 978-0-425-29183-2
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
This companion to Blood on the River continues the story of the Jamestown colony, now through the experience of Virginia Laydon, a child with an uncanny (and somewhat unconvincing) ability to see the future. Carbone includes details about daily life, slavery, tenuous relations with Indigenous tribes, and accusations of witchcraft. It's engaging historical fiction that does not shy away from addressing societal complexities.
Kirkus Reviews
A young white girl observes the beginnings of English colonization of the American continent, including encounters with Native Americans and enslavement of the newly arrived Africans.Young Ginny Laydon, the first child born in the white settler colony of Jamestown, Virginia, carries "the knowing," or second sight. Initially, the only person who knows of Ginny's secret is her family's friend Samuel Collier, a young white man who acts as Native American cultural interpreter throughout the book (and who was the protagonist of Blood on the River, 2006). Ginny is a descendant of a long line of women who have suffered persecution as witches. When Ginny's secret is suspected, she is slated to be tried for witchcraft, but the threat of Indian attack on the colony defuses Ginny's plight. Depictions of Native Americans place these characters as the backdrop, viewed always through Ginny's eyes, however sympathetic, as other. In one freighted scene, an inscrutable Powhatan man touches Ginny's forehead, a gesture she feels is connected with her knowing; in another she has a vision of crowded ships, including one full of Africans, and is frightened by the "sheer mass of them." Carbone projects her fictional narrative on historical characters (parsed in an author's note), presenting the white settlers as mostly amicable and welcoming of cultural mixing, and the fundamental violation that is colonialism is not really questioned. Another settler's-eye view of Colonial history. (Historical fiction. 8-12)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Horn Book (8/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
Word Count: 64,265
Reading Level: 4.9
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.9 / points: 10.0 / quiz: 505170 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 740L

The fascinating companion title to the award-winning historical novel Blood on the River: James Town 1607.

After the colony of James Town is founded in 1607. After Captain John Smith establishes trade with the Native Americans. After Pocahontas befriends the colonists. After early settlers both thrive and die in this new world . . . a girl is born. Virginia.

Virginia Laydon, an infant at the end of Blood on the River, has now grown up in a colony that is teetering dangerously on the precipice of conflict with the native Algonquins. Virginia has the gift, or the curse, of the knowing-an ability that could help save the colony, and is equally likely to land her at the burning stake as an accused witch.

Virginia struggles to make sense of her own inner world against the backdrop of pivotal years in the Jamestown colony. The first representative government is established, the first enslaved Africans arrive, and the self-righteousness of the colony's leaders angers the Algonquin.

When Virginia's mother first learns of her gift, she is terrified. Kill it, her mother says, or they will kill you. When accusations and danger threaten, Virginia learns that she is on her own; her mother must protect her young sisters rather than stand up for her. So begins a journey of self-realization and increasing strength, as Virginia goes from being a self-protective young girl to someone who knows she must live her own truth even if it will be the end of her.

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