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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Next Thursday, January 29th, you should have read ch. 13-18, which is through to location 3586.

Great discussion last week. Very thought-provoking, especially about the Ethan/Leonidas relationship, I thought.

Ethan Saunders
1. Ethan seems to have had a complete change of heart regarding Hamilton. Do you think that's realistic? How do we (or Ethan) know that Hamilton was being honest about his reasons for dismissing Ethan and Fleet from the army, or about not spreading the reasons they were dismissed?

2. Do you think Fleet was selling secrets to the British, or were they framed?

3. Do you believe that Ethan has turned over a new leaf regarding his womanizing ways and his agreement to finally do the honorable thing, and duel Dorland?

4. Were you surprised to see some of the character's from Joan's story make an appearance in Ethan's story?

Joan Maycott
1. Do you think the Maycotts should have accepted Tindall's offer? What would you have done in that situation (expecting no future help from anyone else)?

2. What do you think of the Maycotts' new friends, especially Mr. Dalton?

3. What do you think about the relationship between Dalton and Richmond? Do you think Joan's reaction was realistic?

4. How did you feel reading about the fight between Dalton and Mueller?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Ethan Saunders
1. Ethan seems to have had a complete change of heart regarding Hamilton. Do you think that's realistic? How do we (or Ethan) know that Hamilton was being honest about his reasons for dismissing Ethan and Fleet from the army, or about not spreading the reasons they were dismissed?


I don't think it's realistic. You don't passionately hate someone for ten years, then change your mind in one conversation. Ethan can tell that Hamilton's being honest because of his "spy training," but I'm not convinced. He may be telling the truth, but he seems a pretty shifty character.

2. Do you think Fleet was selling secrets to the British, or were they framed?

I believe that they were framed (though we know that Ethan was). Money troubles or not, by all accounts Fleet seems to have been a pretty honorable guy. Plus, why hide the documents in such an easy to find place if you are a traitor, especially if you are a spy, and can no doubt find a better hiding place, or destroy the documents? Also, if Fleet did it, why would he incriminate his best friend Ethan by hiding documents in Ethan's bag as well as his own? If he wanted to escape punishment, then why not just blame Ethan entirely? They were set up, possibly by Hamilton.

3. Do you believe that Ethan has turned over a new leaf regarding his womanizing ways and his agreement to finally do the honorable thing, and duel Dorland?

No, I don't. Circumstances may have forced him to change for a short time, but if things got all sorted out and went back to normal tomorrow (in the book), then Ethan would still be the same kind of guy that hits on the wife of the guy who is letting him stay. Probably by the end of the book, though, Ethan will have finally decided that this life is not for him, after he goes through several more hardships.

4. Were you surprised to see some of the character's from Joan's story make an appearance in Ethan's story?

I was surprised. I had kind of been thinking of Joan and Ethan as having two autonomous story lines, kind of forgetting that they were in the same book. I was even more surprised to realize that the nice Mr. Dalton in Joan's story is probably the same Irish guy that beat up Ethan.

Joan Maycott
1. Do you think the Maycotts should have accepted Tindall's offer? What would you have done in that situation (expecting no future help from anyone else)?


I really don't know what I'd do in that situation. I'd like to say I'd do the same as the Maycotts, but I really can't say. I like having enough to eat and a good place to live. And I think the story would be going in a very different direction had they accepted the offer, though I'm sure Andrew's honor would never allow him do to such a thing, no matter the hardships that he and Joan face.

2. What do you think of the Maycotts' new friends, especially Mr. Dalton?

I'd be wary of trusting them. They seem nice enough on the surface, but that's also what they thought about Reynolds and Duer. Undoubtedly there are good people in the group, but as has been mentioned earlier, the West changed people, and you can't tell how they'll react.

3. What do you think about the relationship between Dalton and Richmond? Do you think Joan's reaction was realistic?

I was kind of surprised that the community tolerates it. I don't know anything about Revolution-era attitudes towards homosexuality, but I think I can safely assume they were unfavorable. But I guess on the frontier there is more of an "anything goes" attitude, and they can't afford to alienate such a powerful man as Dalton. I would have thought Joan would be more shocked, since open homosexuality can't have been the norm.

4. How did you feel reading about the fight between Dalton and Mueller?

I think Mueller should have known the probable outcome of provoking Dalton. He lost his eye, not for a real reason, but because he was stupid and drunk.
 

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Ethan Saunders
1. Ethan seems to have had a complete change of heart regarding Hamilton. Do you think that's realistic? How do we (or Ethan) know that Hamilton was being honest about his reasons for dismissing Ethan and Fleet from the army, or about not spreading the reasons they were dismissed?


It does seem a little hasty, but I guess it depends on Ethan's experience with Hamilton before the incident that ended his career. If he knew him as an honest, honorable man, and doesn't believe he's lying now, I guess I can buy his change of heart.

2. Do you think Fleet was selling secrets to the British, or were they framed?

I don't think so. It makes no sense for a spy to frame himself.

3. Do you believe that Ethan has turned over a new leaf regarding his womanizing ways and his agreement to finally do the honorable thing, and duel Dorland?

No. He was grasping at straws, trying to come up with any excuse that would let him live another day. The fact that Dorland then declined was an unexpected bonus.

4. Were you surprised to see some of the character's from Joan's story make an appearance in Ethan's story?

Not surprised in general, as I was expecting the stories to intertwine at some point, but it's happening quicker and more fully than I expected. Based on last week and early this week reading, Duer, Reynolds, and crew seemed like small-time con men bilking a couple of people out of some money. Now we're finding they may be part of a national conspiracy. Very interesting.

nebulinda said:
I was even more surprised to realize that the nice Mr. Dalton in Joan's story is probably the same Irish guy that beat up Ethan.
I totally missed this. I'll have to pay more attention in the future.

Joan Maycott
1. Do you think the Maycotts should have accepted Tindall's offer? What would you have done in that situation (expecting no future help from anyone else)?


I probably would have accepted the offer, then slit his throat on one of my "visits". There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of law out here, and that might be a relatively easy way to own the land.

2. What do you think of the Maycotts' new friends, especially Mr. Dalton?

Very interesting character. I think we'll learn a lot more about him in the weeks to come.

3. What do you think about the relationship between Dalton and Richmond? Do you think Joan's reaction was realistic?

I chuckled when the lightbulb went on over her head when very was accented.

4. How did you feel reading about the fight between Dalton and Mueller?

I didn't understand the ending. I assumed it was going to be a drawn out fight, ending in Dalton holding Mueller down and taking what he was aiming for. I don't get how they were just facing off and all of a sudden there's this vicious eye strike out of nowhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
geko29 said:
I was even more surprised to realize that the nice Mr. Dalton in Joan's story is probably the same Irish guy that beat up Ethan.
I totally missed this. I'll have to pay more attention in the future.
Okay, upon thinking about it (and I don't have my Kindle on to right now to check), I guess it wasn't the Irish guy, specifically, that beat Ethan up. I just remember, from the last assignment, that Ethan spoke to an Irish man who gave him some whiskey, tried to convince him to give up the search, then Ethan was beat up when he didn't give the Irish guy his money back.
 

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Ethan Saunders
1. Ethan seems to have had a complete change of heart regarding Hamilton. Do you think that's realistic? How do we (or Ethan) know that Hamilton was being honest about his reasons for dismissing Ethan and Fleet from the army, or about not spreading the reasons they were dismissed?  Ethan prides himself on being able to tell truth from lies.  He would of course trust his judgement.  I think that whoever framed them is the one who told.

2. Do you think Fleet was selling secrets to the British, or were they framed? I think that Fleet may have been selling secrets or suspect who had framed them.  That is why I think that Fleet wouldn't talk but retreated into one of his pensive silences.

3. Do you believe that Ethan has turned over a new leaf regarding his womanizing ways and his agreement to finally do the honorable thing, and duel Dorland?  I think that Levein's wife really held up a mirror to him and while he may be incapable of changing everything at once, he wants a useful life.  In his code, I think that now to do that he has to look upon himself as a men capable of honor.  At that moment, I think that he wanted to live up to his code.

4. Were you surprised to see some of the character's from Joan's story make an appearance in Ethan's story? I had a feeling that the two stories would have to intersect in Philadelphia but I hadn't a clue which character would intersect first.  i think that it's kind of an interesting twist.

Joan Maycott
1. Do you think the Maycotts should have accepted Tindall's offer? What would you have done in that situation (expecting no future help from anyone else)? Once you sell yourself how can you go back.  She would have been in essence a slave to him.  We al read that the pretty slave at the door was cowed and had a black eye.  I would have had to been as low as the indian woman in the last section, with a child to protect from starvation, to even consider it.

2. What do you think of the Maycotts' new friends, especially Mr. Dalton?  I think that he will be a valuable friend and a formidable foe.  That being said I think that he will be a great help to the Maycotts.  He seems to have a strong sense of honor in protecting his partner but I think that the partner bears watching.  He took too much pleasure from the maiming of a man.  He was rude and dangerous, sure, however he had seemed to be a great help to the settlers with his carpentry in the past.

3. What do you think about the relationship between Dalton and Richmond? Do you think Joan's reaction was realistic?  I think that ladies of good reputation in that era probably would not have gotten the idea so quickly.  Crude frontiersmen were not known for their tolerance.  I have to think that it's Dalton's strength that protects them.

4. How did you feel reading about the fight between Dalton and Mueller? I wonder how much of that type of maiming actually went on in that era.  It was a disturbing mental image.  Dalton went right for the eye instead of trying to fight it out first as Mueller seemed to.  I can't help but wonder how much more dangerous Mueller will become when he can no longer practice his trade.

 

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Ethan Saunders1. Ethan seems to have had a complete change of heart regarding Hamilton. Do you think that's realistic? How do we (or Ethan) know that Hamilton was being honest about his reasons for dismissing Ethan and Fleet from the army, or about not spreading the reasons they were dismissed?
Hamilton's role keeps surprising me. First, Ethan hates him for unstated reasons, then we find out that maybe Ethan's reasons were unjustified, if Hamilton was only doing his job in exposing traitors, and may have even protected Ethan, and is now so willing to help Ethan. But then his reaction to Ethan's second visit is suspicious. I think Hamilton's motives are quite suspect and he is using Ethan and Lavien. He obviously doesn't want his tie to Lavien to be publicized, but he has no problem with using Lavien's skills.

2. Do you think Fleet was selling secrets to the British, or were they framed?
I think Fleet was framed because he would not have hidden documents in such an obvious place, nor risked Ethan at the same time. However, there must be something deeper. Maybe Fleet was betrayed, but could not prove his innocence without risking further injury to himself or Cynthia.

3. Do you believe that Ethan has turned over a new leaf regarding his womanizing ways and his agreement to finally do the honorable thing, and duel Dorland? I think Ethan is trying to turn a new leaf; his encounter with Mrs. Lavien really had an effect on him. He will probably fall short from time to time, but he recognizes that his honor is not completely lost. It is interesting that as soon as Ethan decides to act honorably, others (Dorland's friends) also treat him with honor.

4. Were you surprised to see some of the character's from Joan's story make an appearance in Ethan's story? A little, but I shouldn't have been. Ethan's and Joan's stories must come together at some point.

Joan Maycott
1. Do you think the Maycotts should have accepted Tindall's offer? What would you have done in that situation (expecting no future help from anyone else)?
Absolutely not. That would have gone against the character they have shown so far. That's a good question. I think I would have made the same choice; there are some things worse than the unknown.

2. What do you think of the Maycotts' new friends, especially Mr. Dalton?
Mr. Dalton is a strong man who obviously enjoys his power in the community--both financial and physical. As long as he sees Andrew as no threat to himself, and even useful for his carpentry skills, he is happy to befriend Andrew. But I worry about what would happen if his interests and Andrew's ever conflict.

3. What do you think about the relationship between Dalton and Richmond? Do you think Joan's reaction was realistic? Joan recognizes that, while in the East, this sort of relationship would not be as tolerated, she is now in the West, where things are necessarily different.

4. How did you feel reading about the fight between Dalton and Mueller? Mueller is a pathetic character who needed to be shown his place. Apparently, Dalton has been waiting for the opportunity to teach Mueller a lesson, so it was unavoidable. From Richmond's lack of concern, the outcome was not surprising to the residents. However, the calling out the eye and what that meant made me cringe. Joan and Andrew have wandered far from the world they grew up in.
 

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Joan Maycott
1. Do you think the Maycotts should have accepted Tindall's offer? What would you have done in that situation (expecting no future help from anyone else)?
I probably would have accepted the offer, then slit his throat on one of my "visits". There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of law out here, and that might be a relatively easy way to own the land.

Good strategy, geko29!
 

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I still think Ethan has a weak character. 
     *He actually frees Leonidas, but won't tell him.  (still doing what's best and easiest for himself)
     *After years of blaming Hamilton, he switches his opinion too quickly.
     *Will lie and manipulate with little provocation to get information.
I think he may WANT to change, but I bet he slips a few times!

As for Joan, no way should they have accepted the offer! 
I think they are very lucky to have Dalton and crew as friends, but they will need to remember they are living in a totally different world now, and need to watch out for everyone!

On a side note:  Am really enjoying this book.  I even used Kindle to wiki the Whisky Rebellion so I could learn more and better understand some background.  Gave me some good insight into how these two stories will really mix together.

also love Kindle's search feature.  Will search a character's name and refresh my memory of exactly where we first met them. 
 

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1. Ethan seems to have had a complete change of heart regarding Hamilton. Do you think that's realistic? How do we (or Ethan) know that Hamilton was being honest about his reasons for dismissing Ethan and Fleet from the army, or about not spreading the reasons they were dismissed?
Hamilton did help Ethan out with the landlady so I think his honesty might be realistic. I love a good conspiracy so… I think it's possible that both Ethan and Hamilton are being used for either political gain by the Jeffersonians or Duer and company for monetary gain.
2. Do you think Fleet was selling secrets to the British, or were they framed?I think they were framed. He would have hidden the documents better if he were working for the British. I don't think he would have implicated Ethan either since he was his daughter's fiancé. Also the information in the documents wasn't all the damaging. There was just enough to make a court martial probable so Ethan had no choice but to resign. Hamilton allowed Ethan to resign because he didn't want a court martial because too much would come out at a trial that he didn't want out.
3. Do you believe that Ethan has turned over a new leaf regarding his womanizing ways and his agreement to finally do the honorable thing, and duel Dorland?Not yet… Maybe after he gets his honor and good name back.
4. Were you surprised to see some of the character's from Joan's story make an appearance in Ethan's story?Only surprised it happened this early in the story. I think the Irish guy and Dalton are the same guy. We also know Duer previously worked for Hamilton and Reynolds works for Duer so the stories are starting to come together.
1. Do you think the Maycotts should have accepted Tindall's offer? What would you have done in that situation (expecting no future help from anyone else)?This was the 1700's version of the movie Indecent Proposal. While I might have accepted Robert Redford's $1 million dollar offer…No money in the world would make me take Tindall's offer….he is disgusting! If Joan would have accepted Tindall's offer he would have come up with something else to make sure they didn't get fertile land.
2. What do you think of the Maycotts' new friends, especially Mr. Dalton?There was complete lawlessness out west…don't trust anybody. Mr. Dalton is nice to the Maycott's because he needs Andrew's carpentry skills right now.
3. What do you think about the relationship between Dalton and Richmond? Do you think Joan's reaction was realistic?1700's version of don't ask don't tell.
4. How did you feel reading about the fight between Dalton and Mueller?
This part was very shocking to me…I couldn't believe they fought until the first person lost their eye. I thought dueling was bad enough but this was barbaric. Now I know the reason behind all those men in eye patches in the old western movies. Didn't John Wayne have the eye patch in Several of those old movies…I can't believe he was the loser in those fights.
 

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Mom of 4 said:
I still think Ethan has a weak character.
*He actually frees Leonidas, but won't tell him. (still doing what's best and easiest for himself)
Exactly!

Leonidas is still a slave only b/c Ethan is insecure about Leondas's loyalty.

I can't help but notice the only reason Ethan decided to honor his promise to free Leonidas was b/c he was afraid Dorland might kill him, and didn't want to die leaving Leonidas a slave. Ethan rationalizes to himself that he is freeing Leonidas immediately and irrevocably, not waiting until his own death. But what is the difference if Leonidas still thinks himself a slave.

Also, even when Ethan regrets not being able to tell Leonidas that he is a free man now, the regret revolves around Ethan, not Leonidas. He regrets not being able to relate good news, and losing out on a place to live. (K 1864)

N :)
 

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Ethan Saunders
1. Ethan seems to have had a complete change of heart regarding Hamilton. Do you think that's realistic? How do we (or Ethan) know that Hamilton was being honest about his reasons for dismissing Ethan and Fleet from the army, or about not spreading the reasons they were dismissed?
If Hamilton really had been behind Fleet and Ethan's disgrace, I doubt he would have been a) so happy to see Ethan or b) nervy enough to pretend that there was no bad blood between them.

2. Do you think Fleet was selling secrets to the British, or were they framed?
It's a little early to tell, I think. But it would seem Fleet was selling secrets.

3. Do you believe that Ethan has turned over a new leaf regarding his womanizing ways and his agreement to finally do the honorable thing, and duel Dorland?
Ethan was not turning over a new leaf because he felt that his womanizing ways were wrong or needed to be changed. He was changing his ways to avoid the constant disruption in his life of having Dorland turn up like a bad penny, and the danger it was creating for those he cared for.

4. Were you surprised to see some of the character's from Joan's story make an appearance in Ethan's story?
I was, but it makes sense, considering the two main characters are sharing a book. ;)

Joan Maycott
1. Do you think the Maycotts should have accepted Tindall's offer? What would you have done in that situation (expecting no future help from anyone else)?
The Maycotts should not have accepted Tindall's offer. Maybe if Joan was a less of an intelligent, independent woman it would have been something to consider. Personally, I would have been morally offended, but I might have done what was needed for my family to survive.

2. What do you think of the Maycotts' new friends, especially Mr. Dalton?
I was relieved to see the light at the end of the tunnel for the Maycotts, and it was heartening that the settlers all banded together. I'm scared for the Maycotts, though, that they don't realize exactly how powerful Mr. Dalton is, and I'm even more scared that their friendship is going to turn sour at some point.

3. What do you think about the relationship between Dalton and Richmond? Do you think Joan's reaction was realistic?
I was surprised to find homosexuality in this book, but I can't judge whether Joan's reaction was realistic or otherwise. She seemed a little too accepting, though, given my presumptions about the time period.

4. How did you feel reading about the fight between Dalton and Mueller?
I was amazed at how barbaric it was, but how it was an accepted system. Was this a historically accurate depiction?
 

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Oh man! I am reading this book, and just discovered this discussion. However, I am at about location 6225. I'll see if I can't contribute to the discussion without giving any spoilers.

Ethan Saunders
1. Ethan seems to have had a complete change of heart regarding Hamilton. Do you think that's realistic? How do we (or Ethan) know that Hamilton was being honest about his reasons for dismissing Ethan and Fleet from the army, or about not spreading the reasons they were dismissed?
I didn't think it was all that believable, but assumed it was either poetic license to advance the plot, or perhaps setting up some future conflict.

2. Do you think Fleet was selling secrets to the British, or were they framed? Can't wait to find out. With the way that Ethan idolizes Fleet, I am waiting for him to fall from the pedestal Ethan has placed him on.

3. Do you believe that Ethan has turned over a new leaf regarding his womanizing ways and his agreement to finally do the honorable thing, and duel Dorland? I think he is a work in progress, but perhaps has motivation now to start taking an honest look at the way he is living his life.

4. Were you surprised to see some of the character's from Joan's story make an appearance in Ethan's story? hehe. Sometimes it takes me a while. I didn't put this together until much later in the book.

Joan Maycott
1. Do you think the Maycotts should have accepted Tindall's offer? What would you have done in that situation (expecting no future help from anyone else)? No, for two reasons. First, it goes against their character. Second, it would have destroyed the Maycott's relationship.

2. What do you think of the Maycotts' new friends, especially Mr. Dalton?
I love them! Very interesting set of characters.

3. What do you think about the relationship between Dalton and Richmond? Do you think Joan's reaction was realistic? I think it was realistic given her struggle to be a smart and independent woman in her time. But then I think it wasn't realistic given the time period. Of course, I haven't done much research on attitudes toward homosexuality after the Revolutionary War...

4. How did you feel reading about the fight between Dalton and Mueller? Disgusted. Creatively, I thought it was a wonderful contrast to the "nice" Dalton. It made his character multi-dimensional.
 
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