Chains Across the River – A Novel of the American Revolution by Bevis Longstreth

This powerful and historically accurate book by retired international lawyer Bevis Longstreth tells the story of the incredible Machin Chains. Bevis Longstreth has previously authored three books of historical fiction, Spindle and Bow, Return of the Shade, and Boats Against the Current. Father to three children, and grandfather to nine, he lives in New York with his wife Clara, and dog McKenzie.

The protagonist, British born Captain Thomas Machin, was a brilliant engineer, enlisted in the British Foot, and posted to Boston, Massachusetts. However, disgruntled and disillusioned, the redcoat deserted, and like many others joined the patriots of the Continental Army.

Hearing of Thomas Machin, and impressed, in 1776 General George Washington summoned him and instructed him to design and install obstructions to stop the British Armada gathering in New York Harbour. This was an important commission because the Hudson River was an essential transportation route for the British. The waterway enabled the New England colonies to receive essential supplies, and therefore its obstruction would disunite them from their other colonies.

Thomas Machin, rose to the challenge, and the Machin Chains were conceived. However, their construction and installation proved to be a mammoth task. It is through the transportation and installation of these, and other events, that the readers learn a lot about the hardships and life of the Continental Army soldiers. Notwithstanding the adversity and obstacles involved, ‘The Great Chain’ at West Point, was never breached, and remained in place until the end of the American Revolution.

Thomas Machin had two important women in his life, Elizabeth Van Horne (Lisa,) and Caroline Filippante. It is through his relationships with these women that the readers discover more about the women of this era. Certainly these two add spice to the story, and definitely dissolve the image of demure young ladies. They were strong, scheming, fearless females, and their antics and those of their families provide interesting insights as to how the upper classes ‘survived’ the revolution.

‘Chains Across the River,’ is the exciting tale of how a British deserters engineering accomplishments were an important contribution towards the American War of Independence. It will appeal to lovers of historical fiction. Highly recommended.

About the Author:

BEVIS LONGSTRETH is the author of three historical novels: Spindle and Bow, Return of the Shade, and Boats Against the Current. He is a retired partner of the international law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton, where he practiced for his entire legal career, except for Government service in Washington as a Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1981-84. He authored Modern Portfolio Management and the Prudent Man Rule (Oxford University Press 1987), a book arguing for interpretative change in the legal standard of care exercisable by fiduciaries responsible for other people’s money to reflect current developments in finance economics. He lives in Manhattan, New York with his wife, Clara, and their dog, McKenzie. They have three children and nine grandchildren. See for further information about the author and his writings. 

About the Book:

In the Revolution, a British deserter could become a traitor to the Crown by joining the Continental Army and there become a hero. Chains Across the River tells the enthralling tale of one such soldier, Captain Thomas Machin, a brilliant engineer of flawed character born, educated and trained in England. He enlisted in the British Foot and was posted to Boston, where he saw action at Breed’s Hill before deserting to join the Continentals.

Observing Machin’s engineering skill and practical bent, Washington ordered Machin to the Hudson River, there to imagine, design and install obstructions to block the British Armada gathering in New York Harbor. Both sides believed control of the river a strategic necessity.

The immensity of Washington’s charge was matched by Machin’s audacity in imagining obstructions capable of stopping an 850-ton warship under full sail and following tide. He installed a chain at Fort Montgomery and, when the British overran that Fort and cut the chain, he installed another at West Point.

Filling out the story of Thomas Machin are the unforgettable women in his life, Elizabeth Van Horne and Caroline Filippante.

Why historians devote little attention to Machin is explained by what didn’t happen on the Hudson. The British cut the first chain without testing it and never sailed against the second. Washington and Machin understood the chain could deter without being tested. In these pages the known facts about Machin have been woven into an Homeric-like tale of daring, adventure, intrigue and triumph.

Available from Amazon:

Deborah Slaying (Book of Deborah 3) by Avraham Azrieli

Powerful Historical Fiction

The stories of the Old Testament have been, and will forever, be a source of inspiration, comfort, and strength to those who read them.  They tell of, for the most part, ordinary men, and sometimes women, who have through their faith, and God’s guidance achieved incredible things.

This ‘Deborah’ series of books is a fictional telling of the life of the first female prophet Deborah. A woman who, in a male dominated world believed her father’s prediction that she was going to become a great prophet.

In modern times a goal like this would be considered, although incredibly difficult, possible. However in the Old Testament era, women had a very different life, being married young, she would bear children, and look after the household, this was the way it was in those times…

Yet Deborah, with incredible fortitude and bravery became renowned as a prophet, and judge. She was also a wise military leader who liberated her people from the Canaanites.

‘Deborah Slaying’ is the third book in this enthralling series. In the previous two, ‘Deborah Calling,’ and ‘Deborah Rising,’ we have followed her fortunes, and seen a young girl leave her home, and face incredible dangers, as she went against her expected future, to pursue her calling.

Believing she would only be able to achieve her destiny as a male, she took on a male persona, and was known as Borah. In this, the third book, we see her as Borah, accepting a mission to rescue the kidnapped Princess Needa from the hands of her Hebrew abductors, and return her back to her brother the king.

As we travel with her on this dangerous journey, we experience the harsh realities of life in those times. Also, we watch Deborah/Borah grow as a person and warrior. Her life experiences, her conversations with Yahweh, and her faith in his infinite wisdom, give her the strength and fortitude to make her own judgements wisely, and learn to forsake her own desires for the good of others.

In writing the ‘Deborah’ series, Avraham Azrieli has used his remarkable talent for storytelling to take his readers back through the centuries, into the ancient lands of Mesopotamia in the northeast, through to the River Nile in the southwest. Once there he not only tells the story of this incredible female prophet, but he also allows his readers to discover what life was really like for the people who lived in those times. I highly recommend this series to lovers of biblical stories and historical fiction.

About the Author:

Avraham Azrieli is the author of books and screenplays. His first novel was The Masada Complex (a political thriller), followed by Israeli spy novels The Jerusalem Inception and The Jerusalem Assassin, as well as Christmas for Joshua (an interfaith family drama), The Mormon Candidate (a political thriller), Thump (a courtroom drama featuring sexual harassment and racism), and The Bootstrap Ultimatum (a mystery involving the commercialization of Memorial Day). Most recently, he has written a series of novels inspired by the true story of the first woman to lead a nation in human history, starting with Deborah Rising (HarperCollins 2016), and continuing with Deborah Calling, Deborah Slaying and Deborah Striking. Beside fiction, he has also authored Your Lawyer on a Short Leash – a guide to dealing with lawyers and One Step Ahead – A Mother of Seven Escaping Hitler’s Claws (an acclaimed WWII true story, which inspired the musical By Wheel and by Wing). To learn more, visit

Deborah Slaying is available from Amazon: