The Red Bird and the Devil
by Robert E. Lanham
Cardinal Press

"Henry Woodward seemed to be the logical choice to leave behind... nobody would miss him if he came to an unfortunate end at Port Royal."

The early colonists arriving in America faced various hardships as they began to take root in their respective areas. Climate and the rough terrain were two factors, while the indigenous natives they displaced were another. Truces and compromises with the tribes could turn instantaneously. Henry Woodward’s relatives had settled in Virginia while Henry and his family lived in England. Upheaval in the wake of the overthrow of Charles I led to Henry’s family briefly relocating to Virginia. Henry gravitated toward the natives and interacted with the Powhatans. The Woodwards moved back to England, but the scourge of the plague decimated Henry’s immediate family. Henry leaped at the first chance to head back to the colonies, with his skills as a doctor in high demand. Reversals of fortunes led to Henry’s life undergoing various evolutions, yet he would leave an enduring footprint by the time he departed.

The author’s book is a transfixing read about one of the early settlers in the blossoming American colonies. Woodward’s colorful life is expertly relayed by Lanham, profiling the triumphs and tragedies in the Englishman’s life. Woodward was a complex persona, able to forge a bond with various Native tribes while allowing other tribes’ men to be captured and sold into slavery. Woodward survived sinking ships and a bout with the plague while losing nearly everyone he held dear. Lanham adeptly portrays Woodward as a tragic figure but also a true forbearer of the early founders of the embryonic republic. The result is a truly wonderful and worthwhile read that will leave the reader eager to seek out more information about this historical figure.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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