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Sergeant Noland Black, British Grenadier, shot while returning from the Battle of Concord and Lexington, falls unconscious and awakes 200 years in the future in the same place and on the same date, but near an ongoing reenactment.

“A fun and often intriguing tale of a military man unstuck in time.” Kirdus Reviews of unedited manuscript.


ABOUT Battle at the Rim

When Jack Hollister is asked by General Washington to infiltrate the British Army, Jack accepts—without question. Will Jack succeed…or will he be discovered and hanged?

The third novel in the Hollister series, Battle at the Rim follows Jack Hollister as he infiltrates Britain’s army of redcoats upon the request of General George Washington. Although the British Army is hanging all suspected patriot spies without question, Jack bravely sets off, disguising himself as a journalist, sailor, and British loyalist, all to successfully work his way into the inner circle of British generals.

When Jack discovers the British are planning a vengeful siege on Jack’s home city of Machias, Maine, he pens a secret letter to be delivered to a friend, alerting him of the possible British invasion. Will Jack succeed in alerting the city of Machias?

This historical tale introduces readers to the true and little-known stories of pivotal battles and encounters during the Revolutionary War. It features appearances by such notable individuals as John Adams, Edward Rutledge, Benjamin Franklin, and—of course—George Washington. Lovers of history and adventure alike will revel in the third installment of Richard Modlin’s gripping series.

Genre:  Historical Fiction/General Fiction

Key words:  American Revolution, Independence from Britain, Eighteenth Century, Spy Stories, Colonial Life.

Foreword Four Star Clarion Review of Battle at the Rim

by John M. Murray August 16, 2017

This installment of the Jack Hollister series features thrilling elements and clever spycraft that should have universal appeal.

America declared its freedom but now needs to fight to stay free in a surprisingly small-scale historical fiction with larger-than-life characters and stellar writing.

In the early days of the Revolutionary War, the colonials are vastly outnumbered and underpowered. General George Washington receives news of an impending invasion and tasks Jack Hollister with infiltrating the British to feed intel back. As a British-citizen-turned-colonial-ally, Jack’s fate is highly uncertain. He must not only fool the British but also the revolutionaries along the way; despite having Washington on his side, both sides would hang him as a traitor. Thrilling naval battles, sparks of romance, and tense subterfuge tread close behind Jack as he walks a thin line.

The third entry in the Jack Hollister series, Battle at the Rim remains accessible and engaging. Jack is a fantastic character to follow, with ties to both sides of the historical conflict. More importantly, he is flawed and acts believably in any given situation, as when news of Nathan Hale’s execution reaches him. Jack’s initial reaction threatens to expose him as a traitor; later, he crumples in the privacy of his room. The pain of losing his friend highlights Jack’s humanity but also his potential fate should he make even a minor misstep.

Battle at the Rim effectively puts a human face on history, focusing on the day-to-day life of the people. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Nathan Hale are all major characters, but the story shifts the spotlight to Jack and his encounters with the Dutch colonies hoping to stay out of the conflict, the scared recruits on both sides dealing with survival and serving their country, and the strain of a new nation tearing itself apart while fending off a superior enemy.

The writing is fairly polished and does not get too bogged down with unnecessary naval details—an issue inherent to the genre. Should any unfamiliar terms be used, sparse footnotes clarify without muddling the prose. Dialogue shines, with unique accents and speech patterns that make conversations between multiple people flow beautifully. One minor hiccup is when a French-speaking character rapidly switches between French and English without enough context or translation.

Fans of naval and historical fiction should pick up the Jack Hollister series. This installment features thrilling elements and clever spycraft that should have universal appeal.

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Author Bio

Modlin is an author, naturalist, lecturer, photographer, and traveler. Armed with a PhD, an MS, and a BS in biological sciences, Modlin is professor emeritus at the Universityh of Alabama in Huntsville; a senior research associate with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History; a Fulbright research scientist at the University of Lund, Sweden; and director of the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s honors program.



Patriot Apprentice Cover

ABOUT Patriot Apprentice

Patriot Apprentice, Modlin’s second American Revolutionary War thriller in the Hollister series, recounts the continued adventures of Jack Hollister. Promoted by George Washington to rank of midshipman, Jack joins real and fictitious patriots in their high seas exploits and their quest for independence. Convinced and reassured by his friend Nathan Hale that his decision to remain in the colonies is courageous and honorable, Jack accepts an assignment on the Piper, one of the first ships of war in George Washington’s fledgling navy.

Danger and adventure await as he sets sail aboard this armed schooner. Though jeopardized by Redcoats, renegades, true and despicable loyalists, Jack finds dauntless courage and unfaltering camaraderie among his peers.

Richard Modlin continues to highlight the lesser-known battles of the American Revolution and events of early American history. The settings and times for this fast-paced, historically accurate tale are the days following the bombardment of the coastal village of Falmouth, presently known as Portland, Maine.

PATRIOT APPRENTICE is now available as a trade paperback from Amazon. Please visit 


Cover Image 3 intf

ABOUT Newfound Freedom

Richard Modlin’s well-crafted, historically accurate, epic tome that will thrill readers interested in the genre of American colonial and nautical adventure. It’s a coming-of-age, plot-driven novel filled with camaraderie that’s comparable to the works of Patrick O’Brien.

Survival, adaptation, and self-reliance are the dominant themes as two English brothers experience a perilous Atlantic crossing and unexpectedly become embroiled in the beginnings of the American Revolution. Newfound Freedom finds some of its best moments via the ideological turmoil between main characters, Jack and Ian Hollister, yet the treasures to be found in its pages are almost without limits as the author brandishes his skills as a world-class writer and historian. Modlin served as a senior research associate with the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of Natural History.

Modlin’s inspiration for the novel found its genesis in the author’s love of history and an extended stay along the east coast in the vicinity of Machias, ME. There he learned of the Battle of Machias, which was the first naval battle of the American Revolution. After visiting the site of the battle and researching the events, people, and culture of late eighteenth century Machias, Newfound Freedom became not only possible, but also an actuality as a thrilling work of high adventure.

Indeed, using his superb writing skills, Modlin keeps the reader intimately engaged with the history of the time. In creating the dialogue, the author used only words and expressions that were common lexis in New England, Great Britain, and on the high seas during that epoch in time. The descriptions of the landmarks, events, terrain, and activities are also true to the time. Moreover, the fictional characters in Newfound Freedom interact with actual historical figures such as George Washington, Jeremiah O’Brien, Nathan Hale, Ichabod Jones, and many others.

Finalist BOTYA Logo

Finalist BOTYA Logo

  Newfound Freedom has been selected as a Finalist for the ForeWord Review‘s 2013 Book of the Year Award in General Fiction.

Kirkus Review 

 An intricately plotted novel of naval exploits along the Atlantic coast on the eve of the American Revolutionary  War. The novel follows two aristocrat brothers, Ian and Jack Hollister, who’ve traveled from England to oversee  their father’s business interests in Boston. En route, they’re shipwrecked off the coast of Maine; the brothers and  some of the crew make it to shore, where they’re eventually rescued by a group of American pirates led by the  irascible Maire Balch. Although the brothers are treated cautiously at first, the pirates soon take to them and  introduce them to the revolutionary ideas afoot in the colonies. When Ian and Jack are briefly separated, the Royal  Navy kidnaps a number of the pirates, Ian among them, and conscripts them into service—tasking Jack and the  others with rescuing them and fighting the British. It’s a rollicking tale, complete with sea battles, budding love affairs, familial infighting and even brief appearances by the patriots George Washington and Nathan Hale. Modlin also does a good job at differentiating Jack’s and Ian’s characters: Ian, the older of the two, remains steadfast in his support of the crown, even after being forced into labor for the navy, while Jack is more passionate, taking to heart the goals of the colonists in declaring their freedom. Too often, though, the novel handicaps its story with serious pacing issues; characters frequently sound like mere mouthpieces for political ideas, and the earlier naval scenes, in particular, contain an excessive number of nautical terms. The novel’s conclusion also isn’t nearly as dramatic as it might have been, given the ideological differences that grow between the brothers over the course of the story. A competent, if occasionally unsteady, historical narrative, likely to please those who love stories of naval battles.  Kirkus Review

NEWFOUND FREEDOM TRADE PAPERBACK is available from Amazon.  Please visit and CreateSpace eStore

NEWFOUND FREEDOM HARDBACK can be obtained from Amazon by clicking on the following URL



Selected as Finalist for ForeWord Magazine’s 2008 Book of the Year Award in nature writing, Chasing Wings is a passionate account of Richard Modlin’s encounters with birds and his travels to locations, far and near, to observe feathered vertebrates.  Modlin’s descriptions of his interactions with avian species are poignant, humorous, heartwarming, and informative.  Follow him as a preschooler, when he captures a blue jay chick and experiences the woes of the parents’ wrath; then when he attempts to befriend a juvenile American kestrel, and years later, a magnificent frigatebird.  The author relates how he saved a pied-billed grebe chick from the jaws of a northern pike, how a mute swam got revenge, a trio of starling invaded his attic apartment, and wild turkeys tried to beat their way into his sunroom.  More scientifically, Modlin discusses the impact of an overabundance of double-crested cormorants on a fragile habitat and the feeding behavior of black skimmers.

Travel with the author in his search to view widowbirds, ostriches, sunbirds, parrots, toucans, hummingbirds and other exotic birds in Kenya, the Seychelles, Grand Cayman, Belize, a raptor aviary in France, and the forests of southern Sweden.  Follow him to southeastern Arizona, the coast of Maine, swamps and marshes of Florida, and the beach communities on the Gulf Coast of Alabama.  Lists of birds sighted are included at the end of travelogue chapters, as are the details of sites the author visited.  Chasing Wings is a necessary read for the millions of individuals, worldwide, who enjoy bird watching and love nature.


“Modlin takes the reader across the world observing the beauty of nature through birds and their habitats.  Young students of science should read this [book] as an inspiration for the passion that scientists like Richard have for the environment and the life that abounds within.”  Dr. John J. Dindo, Senior Marine Scientist and Chairman of the Discovery Hall Programs, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Dauphin Island, AL.

“… a good job of blending personal encounters with birds … with chapters on birding trips.  Modlin also did a good job of describing the physical/cultural settings of each birding area so that the reader can develop a mental image of the area to go along with the birds described and listed.”  Dr. Paul D. Kettle, Professor and Chairman, Department of Biology, University of North Alabama, Florence, AL.

“Modlin brings to you in this set of short nature stories an entertaining collection that spans both a number of decades and several continents.  Before you take your next ecotourism trip, long or short, read Modlin’s entertaining collection of experiences and insights into nature …”  Dr. Bill McAllister, AICP and life-long birdwatcher.

 “Modlin’s non-fiction is superb.  Clever, compelling verbs kept my interest in his very nice story.  His book works as a guidebook for bird-watchers as well, with good descriptions of the places and directions to the sites.  Well Done.”  Rusty Bynum, author and playwright, Legacy of Galileo.

  “…I highly recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in the subject [birding]….  Informal scientific books of this quality are all too rare.”   H. F. Lippincott, First Draft Reviews Online

“If you are fascinated with birds or you like to travel, this is a book that will take you there through the eyes of an expert. Dr. Modlin has traveled to many exotic lands and chases wings wherever he goes. Some of his accounts are humorous and others are just informative. He starts by describing his mishaps of trying to raise young birds when he was a child. This led him to a career in biology and a lifelong preoccupation with birding. Sometimes he describes unusual adaptation and behavior in the birds that he is watching. His description of Black Skimmers was especially interesting and informative. He writes well and makes his years of experience come alive for the reader. I found the book to be very enjoyable and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in strange places and unusual birds.”  Placide D. Nicaise,

Chasing Wings is available in book form from, and Book  from

Kindle version visit:


 Libraries are full of travel books on Africa, but Malachite Lion is a narrative of an unplanned adventure, a modern odyssey that recounts the mysteries and paradoxes of East Africa.  The book describes a journey through the crowded, bustling streets of Nairobi, into the wilds of Masai Mara and Amboseli, to ancient, mystifying Mombasa, electrifying Malindi and the sensuous Seychelles.  Much of our experience with today’s East Africa is limited by what we see in natural history documentaries and sensational news stories.  For most of us the place is a fantasy, as unreal as Sindbad’s Baghdad.  Richard Modlin’s exciting account of his travels through Kenya and the Seychelles will dispel some of the apprehensions that cloak this strange land and its people.  His experiences as a scientist and academic have provided him with the skills to interestingly record his provocative observations, interactions, experiences, feelings and thoughts, and transport the reader beyond the confines of a tour bus.  Descriptions of his encounters with the variety of indigenous people and wildlife are poignant, humorous and heartwarming.  Malachite Lion is a definite read for anyone who has ever dreamed of traveling to East Africa realistically and vicariously.


“… written about a unique topic with such passion that it is hard to put down this book … friendly, conversational tone and eloquent scenery descriptions make readers feel like they are traveling with him [the author] …”  Writer’s Digest

“For those of you who have spent any time in Kenya or East Africa in general, I can recommend Malachite Lion … if you haven’t you will enjoy this piece of armchair travel.”  Patty Eby, Union Jack.

“… attention to detail of the daily activities of life in Kenya, on safari and just traveling there in general is superb.  Written in a style that is very descriptive of the subtle and obvious sights and trials encountered.  This book will be a great primer for anyone planning a trip to East Africa.”  William Chapman, author and photographer, Face of Tibet.

“You may never get the chance to travel to East Africa, but you may be an armchair traveler.  If so, this is the book for you.  Not that it is limited to the category of travel.”  Sara McDaris, The Huntsville Times.

Malachite Lion is available in book form at and at and in Kindle Edition at

Also available for the Nook, IPhone, IPad and other electronic devises from Barnes & Noble


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