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What Readers Say

Behr’s fictional account captivates the reader and brings to life this remarkable undertaking, providing a gripping tale as intricately woven as a spider’s web.

Pirates and Privateers Magazine, Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer

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In 1801, a young American nation goes to war with the Barbary pirates of Tripoli to protect American shipping in the Mediterranean.


After three years of failed efforts, squandered lives and wasted money, President Thomas Jefferson authorizes an American secret agent, William Eaton, to invade Tripoli and place a pro-American ruler on the throne. But the mission is opposed by powerful forces — and elements within the U.S. government — who work to undermine Eaton at every step, making the chances of success for his  mission very slim indeed.

In March 1805, against all odds, Eaton recruits a rag-tag army of European mercenaries, treacherous Arab allies, and eight United States Marines, and sets out to cross 500 miles of brutal Saharan desert to attack an enemy ten times larger than his meager force.

The setting of Blood Brothers in the midst of this  historical framework brings together two fictional half-brothers who meet for the first time in the turmoil of battle. One brother, Peter Kirkpatrick, is a young, headstrong, naively patriotic American naval officer. The other, Henry Doyle, a bastard son of a wealthy English colonial official,  was raised by the Mohawk Indians in 1760s New York State and fought against the Continental army as a teenager during the Revolution. With England’s defeat, he leaves America to become a British spy in the struggle against Napoleon. During his service in India and the Middle East, he converts to the Sufi practice of Islam, and winds up as a soldier of fortune in North Africa. He is hired by Eaton as a guide for the invading American army —the very people who massacred the Mohawks and drove him from his native land. Now a cynical 45-year-old soldier of fortune, he agrees to serve the Americans wholly to advance his own purposes. He has every reason to hope that Peter and the rest of the Americans die in the merciless Sahara.

Like the country he serves, Peter Kirkpatrick is driven by the need to demonstrate the power of America’s ideals against America’s enemies. But when he joins the invasion of Tripoli, he is plunged into a treacherous, unforgiving world that will test his beliefs and test America’s character as a nation to the breaking point.

For Doyle, the question is simpler: do I help my brother− or let him die?


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