Arnie P. Zimbelman weaves a tale focused on the founding of Jamestown in his historical fiction novel, Exile from Jamestown. He focuses his narrative on an indentured servant named Geoffry Payne, who has set out to seek his fortune in the new world instead of remaining in England and taking over the stone mason work of his family. Once he lands in the new world, Geoffry finds himself connected with some very influential figures and becoming part of a life he never expected.
Through a stroke of good luck Geoffrey becomes well known for having been the first to sight land on the last day of their voyage. After this moment his work during the early days of the settlement allows him to build a relationship with Captain John Smith. This connection is perhaps what leads to Geoffry’s ultimate downfall once the man has to return to England. With the settlement struggling tensions rise and Geoffrey is accused of a crime he insists he did not commit. In an attempt to save his life he flees and finds himself in a native village where he meets a woman who startles him and sets his life on a new path.
Zimbleman’s Exile from Jamestown primarily focuses on the early days of Jamestown, but does provide a look at the colony once it actually achieves success. His use of historical elements is well done and his work as a history instructor is very apparent in this piece. Geoffry Payne’s journey is remarkably believable and the connection that is made to the colony of Roanoke is a lovely nod to that part of early American history. I enjoyed the book and would strongly recommend it to American history buffs.
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