Let’s go back to the 15th century, the War of Roses (English civil war). Though, in all honesty, this book focuses more on the two main characters than the war itself.
I actually really enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. I started reading it after I bought it from a thrift store and discovered I had no other books to read on the drive home (just to clarify- I wasn’t the one driving).
Quite a few people have said they found it hard to understand the language. I’m not sure why, but I love reading Middle English literature (think Canterbury Tales).
I find it quite absorbing reading the way they spoke (and spelled) then and comparing it to our vernacular today. Anywho, enough said on that.
What I found engrossing:
#1. Richard Shelton is a brave boy (in the words of Joanna), though he sometimes makes you wonder at his thought process. I did think it a little strange that he really thought Matcham a boy (of course, I guess girls didn’t normally wear pants back then). Now that I think of it, it resembled closely Disney’s movie, Swiss Family Robinson, where the boys rescue the girl.
#2. Matcham’s conversation definitely seems to belie her (ie, stop saying boy), as does her crying (at which point Richard is certain he has a coward for a companion). My favorite part is where the leper comes in and she faints.
#3. I agree 100% with Lord Foxham concerning Richard, “Ye fight, like a young man, ignorantly and foolhardily; but, by the array of the saints, ye fight bravely!”
#4. I felt sorry for poor Hatch, he really should have switched sides when he had the chance.
#5. Sir Oliver pretty much gave himself away when Richard asked about his father’s murder (that was one point where Richard really needed some subtlety). I really thought he had changed for the better until he betrayed Richard. 🙁
#6. Brackley was strange. The way he kept changing sides- I’d never want him on my side for fear of betrayal.
#7. Alicia (the girl whose name you finally discover at the end of the book) was interesting to say the least. First she’s mad at Richard, then she’s in love with him. Her proposal to Richard was sort of a shock to me.
#8.Richard the Crookback was not only crooked in body but also in personality. He was rather hasty in his decision making, and if I had been Shelton I probably wouldn’t have worked with him.
#9. Lawless makes a rotten spy when he’s disguised as a monk and drunk (as poor Richard learned speedily enough).
#10. I was disappointed with all the needless bloodshed and was thus gladdened when Richard’s conscience began to prick him (and, consequently, helped save the shipmaster).
#11. The book ended well (the bad guy gets justice, the good guy goes happily on his way- or, in this case, gets married).
#12. It was filled with humor, adventure, swordfights, moats, spies…. what more could you ask for (maybe a capture/escape and an extra swordfight or two, but that’s beside the point)?
I’d give it five books.
Reasons I was less than enthralled:
#1. the needless bloodshed.
#2. Stealing the ship (I mean really, why not pool some money and buy it?)
#3. Look up what ‘by the rood’ means.
Other than that ’tis a good adventure story.
Before I read this, I had thought that the books Kidnapped, Treasure Island,etc. were the only books written by Robert Louis Stevenson ( I probably ought to do more research before I make assumptions like that 😉 ).