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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Road to the Breaking by Chris Bennett is one in a series of books that explores the adventures of former U.S. Army Captain Nathaniel Chambers. Chambers was the Commander of the U.S. Army base Fort Davis in Texas when he received news of his father’s death back in West Virginia. It was a difficult choice for the Captain but he knew he needed to return to his family’s farm and help out his mother, now that his father had passed. It was a testament to the esteem in which the Captain was held by his fellow soldiers that some of his men also resigned their posts in the Army to travel back from Texas to help out on his family’s farm. Road to the Breaking follows the Captain and his men on their long and sometimes perilous journey from Texas through New Orleans and back to the farm in West Virginia. The dilemma facing Captain Chambers is the question of slavery. Living in a Southern State in 1850, (prior to the Civil War) their farm was one of the biggest slave-owning enterprises in the state and yet Captain Chambers morally abhors slavery. How can he possibly reconcile his moral repugnance with the economic necessity of slavery for Southern land-holders? A scheming and evil neighbor also has plans for his family’s farm, so it is imperative Captain Chambers arrives home in time to save his mother and their farm from his neighbor’s machinations.
Road to the Breaking is a relatively short, but exciting and dramatic tale of life in the old west, on the boundaries of this new and burgeoning country that was the United States. Author Chris Bennett has created a fascinating character in Captain Chambers who is the epitome, in many ways, of the cultured Southern gentleman and yet has a total moral repugnance for the concept of slavery. For me, the highlight of the story was the incredible respect and camaraderie between the former soldiers who accompanied Captain Chambers on his journey. I particularly appreciated the respect and friendship between the Captain and his native Indian scout. His unwillingness to allow anyone to treat his scout with anything less than would be afforded any white man gave a real moral command to his character. Of course, the issue of him becoming a slave-owner was something that concerned him deeply but we will have to await the next iteration of this story to discover how he deals with that. If the purpose of any book in a series is to invest readers in the story’s characters and create a desire to read more, then this book certainly lived up to that intent. I, for one, want to read more and see how Captain Chambers deals with his coming new life, as the “master”. This is an excellent read that can be easily plowed through in one exciting sitting and I can highly recommend it.