I believe this was Alexander Thom's first novel, and it certainly reads like a first time effort. It's not half as good as his later works like "Follow the River" or "The Red Heart." In "Long Knife" Thom recounts Patriot George Rogers Clarke's epic march during the Revolutionary War to destroy British power on the western frontier. Thom is only partly successful in relaying this powerful tale into a moving work of fiction. The weakest element is a cliched and poorly developed romantic subplot involving Clarke and a Spanish commandant's sister. Pretty amateurish stuff. However, the strength of the novel is, of course, Clarke's army's 240 mile epic winter march, including long stretches through icy waist-deep water, to attack the British fort at Vincennes. It's here where Thom really shines bringing immense detail to the agony and fatigue faced by those men. (It's actually very reminiscent of Kenneth Roberts' description in his terrific novel "Northwest Passage" of a similar march by the famed Robert Rogers and his Rangers during the French and Indian War.) Unfortunately, Clarke's march is just a small part of the book and, although it's historical fiction writing at its best, it does not completely atone for the weak parts of "Long Knife."
I would recommend this book to Revolutionary War buffs and Alexander Thom fans. However, if you're new to Alexander Thom then I would recommend you check out some of his later books before reading "Long Knife," his first attempt at a historical novel.