Elisa Carbone

Blood on the River

  • 42-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features 27 chapter summaries and 5 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a former professor with multiple graduate degrees
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Blood on the River Summary & Study Guide

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 42-page guide for “Blood on the River” by Elisa Carbone includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 27 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Emotional Maturity and The Value of Different Perspectives.

Elisa Carbone’s 2006 historical novel, Blood on the River: James Town 1607, introduces the reader to Samuel Collier, a 12-year-old boy. The reader meets Samuel in London and accompanies him on his voyage to the New World as he makes his way to the first permanent English settlement in North America as servant boy to Captain John Smith.

Plot Summary 

The novel begins on the streets of London, where Samuel, an orphan, is trying to survive in difficult circumstances and ends on Point Comfort, a village on the tip of the Virginia peninsula, now known in modern-day times as Hampton, Virginia. Point Comfort will become a landmark indicating a boundary of the colonial state of Virginia, and here is where Samuel eventually finds contentment and safety after months of hardship.

Real-life historical figures come to life in this novel thanks to lively dialogue between characters like Captain Smith, Pocahontas, and others who play important roles in early American history. Colonial America was born in 1607 with the arrival of three English ships to the site that would eventually become the settlement at James Town, named for King James I of England. Even Samuel, the protagonist, is based on Captain John Smith’s page. In both real life and fiction, Samuel’s ability to read and write saved Samuel from a life of woe and enabled Samuel to travel with 103 other settlers to the New World and work hard for a new beginning.

With its message of cross-cultural awareness, kindness, and compassion, Blood on the River takes a familiar span of time in American history and gives it contemporary relevance. Both the importance of cross-cultural awareness and the values of kindness and compassion continue to be enormously important, even while they continue to be challenged in present-day America and around the world. Perhaps history does indeed repeat itself, proving that lessons of the past will always be important to remember while working to improve the conditions of the present day.

Today, visitors to the James Town settlement, or the cultural heritage site called Historic Jamestowne, will find themselves on the original site of the fort. Here, archaeologists, historians, and educators from the National Park Service and an organization called Preservation Virginia work together to ensure that visitors leave the site with a thorough understanding of what went on at this critical time in American history.

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