Blood on the River Summary & Study Guide

Elisa Carbone
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This section contains 508 words
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Blood on the River Summary & Study Guide Description

Blood on the River Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone.

Blood on the River: James Town 1607, by Elisa Carbone, is a historical novel about the early years and settlement of the English colony of James Town in Virginia between the years of 1607-1610. This fictional account of true life events and people is told through the eyes of Samuel Collier, age 11, who travels from London, England as a servant to Captain John Smith to James Town. It begins with his experiences prior to boarding ship, explores the difficulties of ocean travel, and the trials and tribulations of settlement in Virginia.

Samuel begins as an orphan on the streets of London where he is arrested for theft. He is lucky enough to be sent to an orphanage instead of being hanged, and is then chosen to go to the new colony as a servant. Captain Smith proves to be a good master, who attempts to teach Samuel how to survive in the New World.

When the colonists arrive in Virginia, they are met by the Powhatans, who see them as the negative fulfillment of a prophecy that may bring destruction to the Powhatan empire. They suffer starvation, battles, misunderstandings, and sickness. Political differences between Capt. Smith and the gentlemen leaders of the colony lead to problems within the colony and with the Indians. The expectations of the Virginia Company, which funds the operation, also makes the survival of the colony difficult by demanding they concentrate on profit-making.

As the colonists come into closer contact with the Powhatan people, Samuel learns from Capt. Smith about good leadership, how to get along with the Indians, and how to become a man. He watches the developments of the colony, the various leaders and their poor choices. When he goes to live a season in a friendly Indian village, Samuel learns many new skills he can bring back to help the colony. He also learns that the English ways are not necessarily the best ways to live in the New World.

Capt. Smith’s efforts to lead the colony are thwarted by the gentlemen, who feel his leadership is a threat to their power over James Town. He is arrested repeatedly for various crimes, only to be saved by circumstance or allies. When the Virginia Company decides to crown Chief Powhatan an English prince rather than honoring his rank as an emperor to his people, it leads to a major rift between the two cultures. It is only through the efforts of Capt. Smith and Pocahontas that they are saved.

The colony thrives or starves depending on whether or not there are good relations with the local tribes, and many of the colonists die during the bad times. Their numbers are replenished by new arrivals, eventually including women and children. However, after Capt. Smith is badly injured and returns to England and Samuel is apprenticed to John Laydon and moves to Point Comfort, the colony suffers through the Starving Time, in which hundreds of the colonists at James Town die. Samuel goes on to become a leader in Virginia.

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This section contains 508 words
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