Friends, the kind folks at ABRAMS sent me a hefty package last week, within were two books they felt were suited to my tastes. One is a graphic novel collecting adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft stories, and I will most certainly review that closer to the publication date – the other however was Lafayette! This is the latest book in Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, a humorous if deeply interesting look at the various events and people that earned a spot in history – the Donner party, Araminta Ross, the defenders at the Alamo as well as the Doolittle Raid of 1942 to name a few. True this is a series designed to help make learning history more tolerable to young adults – but as has been proven by another graphic novel of late – it in no way means it won’t be equally entertaining to an older audience. Seriously, if you do enjoy learning of the past as much as I do – you are going to want to check out Lafayette!.
As you might assumed Lafayette! focuses on the Revolutionary War hero Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette. Although most folks, at least in the United States generally have called him Lafayette. The young life of Lafayette is told through various flashbacks but with observations by 3 narrators, the Provost and Hangman, as well as the executed Revolutionary War spy – Nathan Hale. Think of them as more educational version of Caine and Abel from DC Comic’s House of Mystery!
Which is appropriate as besides the adventures and daring that Lafayette! presents…it also has a short note on the Beast of Gevaudan – which if you’ve seen 2001’s exceptional Brotherhood of the Wolf you totally know what that is all about. Hale’s book details how Lafayette as a young French aristocrat ended securing a position of Major General at the age of nineteen in the Continental Army, a ploy to gain the support of his fellow Royals back home. But Lafayette had been raised on tales of glory on the battlefield – he wasn’t about to sit back without attempting to secure of some of that glory, especially in battle against the British. Which is how Lafayette gained his position as an aid-de-camp for George Washington and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Alexander Hamilton…as well as how he was involved in thwarting two different attempts at having Washington stripped of his command of the Continental Army.
In Lafayette!, Hale makes sure to keep things more or less light however there was some definite tragedy in the man’s life. Yet again the darker aspects of history are shielded by way of the three narrators and while I know I share the comedy maturity of your average thirteen-year-old, you will never be able to convince me that cherub butt’s aren’t hilarious. From arranged marriages, political shenanigans, musketeers, jousting, werewolves (sort of), Freemasons, Benjamin Franklin, duels, Benedict Arnold, revenge, and Hessians. It is all in the book and more…and since this is the month of October, you should recall there is a very famous Hessian known in Sleepy Hollow (Hey, I needed some way to tie this into my month long look at the Season)!
This latest book in Nathan Hale‘s Hazardous Tales was a very enjoyable read. I am happy to say that Lafayette! has been released today, it should be available at better book stores everywhere. Or you can pop on over to Amazon and order a copy for yourself, right this minute!
As bonus, ABRAMS has totally uploaded this video for Lafayette! on YouTube, allowing Nathan Hale himself to explain his new book.