Author: Peter Ransley
Publisher: Harper Collins
Adult Content: swearing, crude jokes, innuendos, sexual insults
Keywords: English civil war, plague, adventure, honour, family
Series: first in the Tom Neave trilogy
On a cloudy September evening in 1625, plague cart driver, Matthew Neave, is sent to pick up the corpse of a baby. As he journeys to the plague pit, he hears a cry and realises that the baby is still alive.From award-winning screenwriter Peter Ransley comes Plague Child, the first in a captivating trilogy set against the backdrop of the English civil war. Spanning three decades in the life of his young fictional hero, Tom Neave, the story weaves mystery and adventure into a rich tapestry of real historical events and people.
This dramatic and involving novel is above all, the coming of age story of Tom Neave, and the sowing of the first seeds of a democratic government for Great Britain.
Subject: I don't know much about the plague or the English civil war, so it was nice to find out a little through this novel. However, it only really touched in these subjects, preferring to follow the adventure of Tom Neave, which was a little disappointing. I think the title is a little misleading, as it certainly made me think that the novel would be all about the plague. So it's a little misleading and disappointing on the subject front, but it didn't particularly bother me.
Storyline: This book didn't really have a storyline, so I'm not sure if there's really very much I can say about it. It took for ever to begin, and when it finally did, it was mainly just Tom running around the country trying to find out the secret of his heritage. Enjoyable. Adventurous. But not particularly great as a storyline. That said, it certainly kept up the suspense for a long time, and I really wanted to know what had actually happened and who Tom's father was. So, like the subject, it's kind of okay.
Characters: I'm starting to sound like a stuck record now. Because I'm about to say 'nothing special'. Again. That kind of epitomises the whole book. Sure, the characters were okay. But I didn't really care about them. Tom irritated me. He's the typical historical novel hero who's highly chivalrous and honourable amongst a world of cut-throat rogues. Hm. Not particularly original, I feel. Another shame.
Writing Style: I'm feeling very un-original now. Another 'nothing special'. It wasn't written badly. But it wasn't written in a way that's particularly memorable or anything. I think that Ransley (who is in fact mainly a screenwriter) sometimes forgot that he was writing a novel, and wrote it more like a film. So, what I mean is, he forgot to stick in little unimportant things like what his character is actually feeling. Can you hear the sarcasm in that last sentence? I thought so.
Writing Style: **
Enjoyability: Now, this is where it picks up. It wasn't a particularly good novel, but I enjoyed it. It was very slow to begin with, but once it sorted itself out, I liked it. Nothing great, maybe, but an enjoyable read.
Summary: An okay book. Pretty forgettable. Nothing really special, but a fun read.
Word Rating: a good-bad book