Monday, December 14, 2009


Jealousy, obsession, and unforeseen circumstances come together with deadly results in David Mulholland’s new novel, DUEL, a dramatized account of the fatal duel between John Wilson and Robert Lyon that took place on June 13, 1833.

Set in Perth, Ontario, a small community in Eastern Canada, Mulholland tells the story from a report he says he uncovered - a report requested by a college professor and compiled by an aging, arthritic blacksmith fifty years after the event. The day before the confrontation, the adversaries agreed to call it off if Lyon would apologize for assaulting Wilson, and Wilson would acknowledge that statements he made in a letter sent to a mutual friend were not intended to denigrate Lyon's character. But the next day, Lyon refused to apologize. The blacksmith’s surprising revelation provides new information as to what actually caused the infamous duel.

As witness to the historical period, the blacksmith’s tale reveals much more than the story of a duel. Extensive research gives the reader insight into life in the early 1800s; vividly portraying how families lived and worked. You experience the Puritanical social environment of a time when deep-rooted convictions and beliefs played a central role in the moral fabric of the community. “The field of honour” is a prominent theme: duelling was considered an honourable means of restoring a person’s good name.

When the blacksmith finally confesses that obsession and jealousy “stripped me of all rational thinking and behaviour,” his pain begins to surface as he unburdens the guilt he has carried for fifty years. I highly recommend DUEL as a compelling work of historical fiction. Readers will gain an appreciation for the complexity of history and how it is interpreted.

Write Field Service


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home