One Dead Spy

Nathan Hale is standing on the gallows, waiting to die. As he awaits death, he tells the story of the Revolutionary War. Nathan explains how the rebels were able to defeat an army that was bigger than they were. His story is full of narrow escapes with danger and acts of heroism. Nathan, a teacher who turned into a spy, tells how the British were able to capture and execute him.

The Revolutionary War and America’s fight for independence comes to life in the form of a graphic novel. Although the story revolves around war and the death of soldiers, the pictures are not graphic or gory. As Nathan tells his story, the image of the rope hanging from a tree appears repeatedly. The executioner and the British soldier seem excited to end Nathan’s life. However, at the end of the book, Nathan lives to tell another story in book two.

One Dead Spy turns history into an easy to read, entertaining format. The book ends with short biographies of other important historical people.

Sexual Content

  • None


  • The narrator of the story, Nathan Hale, is sentenced to death. “The prisoner, Captain Nathan Hale, was caught spying . . . he is sentenced to hang by the neck until he is dead.”
  • The story includes facts about the Boston Massacre, when the British killed men for throwing rocks. “They shouldn’t have thrown rocks at armed soldiers!”
  • When 2,000 British soldiers charge, “there were 1,000 rebels sniping at them from the hilltop.” The rebels flee when they run out of ammo.
  • The rebels are starving. When they see a cow, they are excited. But the cow is killed by the enemy.
  • Through the novel, Nathan Hale describes the Revolutionary War battels. Although there are pictures of the armies and the dead soldiers, the pictures are not bloody. Sound effects are added. “BLAM CRACK BOOM POW POW FWAM.”
  • Nathan Hale and another man are on a scouting mission when the enemy’s scouts shoot at them. Nathan gets a “little war tattoo” when he holds his musket too close to his face. Nathan’s companion then explains that a red badge is a bullet hole.
  • When the British capture enemy soldiers, many are hung. Others are put on prison ships.  The prisoners, “spend months chained, floating in New York Harbor. Many die there from disease and starvation.”

Drugs and Alcohol

  • After a battle, the soldiers “liberated the fort, they found the liquor storage and liberated that too.”


  • Damn is used. Ethan Allen tells someone, “Go now and complain to that damn scoundrel, your governor!”
  • Several times someone calls the enemy, “Damn dirty rats.”
  • One of the characters yells, “Poppycock!”


  • None

Spiritual Content

  • None


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