Posted by: Sand Squiggles -- Richard Modlin's Blog | April 13, 2011

Newfound Freedom, Synopsis

Synopsis of My New Novel, Newfound Freedom

Newfound Freedom tells the story of two English brothers, who experience a perilous Atlantic crossing and are unexpectedly drawn into the beginning of the American Revolution.

At the end of May 1773, Ian Hollister graduates from Cambridge University and is offered a position in the family business Boston office.  He requests that his younger brother, Jack, accompany him.  Edward Hollister, the boys’ father, concurs.  In May 1774 the boys depart aboard the family owned brigantine.  A storm forces a leak in the hull.  The vessel limps into Halifax.  Jack and Ian find passage aboard another vessel.

While in a pub in Halifax, Jack observes several redcoats harassing an old man.  He apologizes to the man for the actions of his countrymen.  Captain Hargrave gives the boys passage aboard his schooner Pegasus carrying guns and ammunition to colonial rebels.  The vessel departs ahead of an approaching hurricane.  Jack receives training in seamanship by Charles Bowden and Horace Smoke.  Ian remains below, seasick. 

Ian warns of traveling with rebellious colonials.  Jack advocates for the colonials. 

The hurricane catches up; washes Hargrave overboard, injures Bowden, and smashes Pegasus against the coast of Maine.  Survivors make camp in a protected cove.  Bowden, familiar with the location, warns of resident pirates and wreckers.

Unbeknown to the survivors, HMS Buzzard, a naval frigate commanded by William Francklin, plies the waters off Maine.  He uses the Pegasus for gunnery practice.  Seeing men aboard the wreck, the frigate leaves and sails into Passamaquoddy Bay.  Francklin dispatches marines to capture the survivors.

Meanwhile, the pirate, Dunkin raids the survivor camp.  Dunkin befriends Bowden and moves everyone to the pirates’ camp.  Bowden is reunited with the infamous female pirate Maire Balch. 

Jack enjoys the adventure.  Ian voices concern about their safety.  He becomes enamored with Maire’s younger sister, Kara. 

The marines find and raid Balch Camp.  Ian, Kara, and all able-bodied men are taken prisoner and impressed into naval service. 

Away during the redcoat raid, Jack and others return to find their camp devastated and two men dead.  They escape to Machias, Maine, a logging town composed primarily of colonial rebels.

The HMS Buzzard departs for Quebec. Sidetracked, the vessel overwinters in Halifax.  Being impressed causes Ian depression and disheartenment.  An accident places him and the youngest midshipman together.  Captain Francklin learns that his civilian scout, Jacob Wrack, has an attraction for young midshipmen. 

Although safe in Machias, Jack has bouts of despondency.  He misses his brother, grieves the loss of friends, and is concerned about his uncertain future.  With Ian missing, he would inherit the operation of the family business.  This he doesn’t want. 

As spring 1775 approaches tensions heighten from lack of food, exasperation with Britain, and the battles at Lexington and Concord.  Protected by the Royal Navy, a Loyalist merchant’s attempt to coerce residents leads to insurrection.  Machias leaders strategize a means to combat Loyalist’s attempt.  A naval battle ensues. The militia captures the HMS Maragaretta, kills the captain, and imprisons the crew.  One of Jack’s friends is killed.  Jack and a close friend are injured.  After the battle Jack and Bowden are transported to Beverly, Massachusetts.  

Aboard the Buzzard, Ian, in his attempt to protect the young midshipman, has a confrontation with Jacob Wrack.  When faced with the anger of other crewmen, Wrack jumps overboard and disappears.

Ian, in his foiled attempt to jump ship, is imprisoned.

Wrack reappears in Halifax to murder the Buzzard’s master gunner, and disappears yet again. 

Frustrated, Francklin attempts to depart Halifax, but the HMS Warwick and two frigates detain him.  Fleet command orders the Buzzard back to Boston through a communiqué brought along with a message identifying Ian as one of the missing Hollister brothers.  Francklin delivers Ian to the Hollister House in Boston.

In a pub Jack meets Bowden’s old friend José Diaz.  They depart for Cambridge.  In route, a redcoat patrol confronts them.  Diaz’s men dispatch the patrol.  Jack has an audience with General Washington, who introduces him to Lieutenant Nathan Hale.  Hale stealthily escorts Jack into Boston.  

Reunited with Ian, Jack learns that his father has terminated the North American operation and ordered all associates—including him—to return to England.  Jack appreciates the colonials’ desire for freedom and wants to stay and join them.  With Ian and his uncles taking charge, Jack knows his role will be superfluous in the family business.  Ian, a staunch loyalist, considers the colonials to be renegade Englishmen with no chance of winning the American Revolution.  He tries to convince his brother to return to England.      

After soul-searching and having a fitful nightmarish night, Jack decides to rejoin Nathan Hale and remain in the colonies.  Departing, Jack turns to his brother and says, “Tell Father I will get to Cambridge, but not the one in England.”

© Richard Modlin, 2011

At this time Newfound Freedom is only in manuscript form.  Additional information and the complete manuscript are available, on request, to literary agents and/or publishers.  Please contact me at


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  3. Like I’ve read so far. Can’t wait to read the rest.

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