What does it mean when you get a free PDF download of a book, and you feel like you have to buy a physical copy just to tear it up?
It means it's a damn good read.
C.C. Finlay's The Patriot Witch is one such book.
This book is about a single thing, against a backdrop of the first throes of the American Revolution, but you really can't tell what that one thing is until the book is over. And I'm not going to spoil it for you. On the other hand, I will tell you some things about it.
The book starts starts with an elegant mini-arc about a young man named Proctor Brown, in love with a young woman and trying to get her father's approval. In the middle of this, he's assaulted by a British officer, Major Pitcairn, who appears to be invulnerable to attack. Only Proctor Brown, with a special sight, appears to be aware that the major is wearing a protective medallion. So only Proctor Brown, a member of the colonial minutemen, may hold the key to defeating him.
From there, Proctor is off spinning into a world from which his mother had tried to protect him by keeping him ignorant, a world filled with real witches fighting for real power -- and fighting both for and against the British Empire. Crosses and double crosses, warnings and auguries, spells of increasing power and complexity, and the search for the British witch-master who is attempting to fell the American Revolution with evil spells before it grows to shade the Empire. Each mini-arc changes the nature of the story, even while it moves the story forward towards its inevitable conclusion.
This book is a "secret history", rather than an alternate history. Even if it all happened this way, we would still think what we do about those events. But within that shell, Charles Coleman Finlay has produced an excellent novel here, filled with real people and real struggle and pain, and I'll be proud to pay for a copy when it goes on sale April 28th -- so I can tear it apart and see how he did it.
In the meantime, get your free copy here at scribd or here on Finlay's home page. Or preorder on Amazon - it's that good.