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In The Reign Of Terror

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A Review of "In the Reign of Terror"

After reading my blog post on the works of Deborah Alcock a site member had mentioned this author to me. The historical adventure story, usually with a young male hero is a very familiar genre to me. It is a novel genre popular among the type of conservative Protestant family in which I was raised. The book differed from those only in that it was not blatantly Christian or Protestant. In this book, Harry, a 16 yr. Old English boy is sent to be the companion of the sons of a French noble-man. As the revolution turns into the Reign of Terror he becomes the protector of the nobleman's three daughters. Of course the book details a great many escapes and unexpected turns before Harry and his charges make it back to England. I would have liked to have seen the main character grow and develop more through struggles of the will and conscience. I would also have liked to see more of the religious and moral condition of Paris at the time. (But perhaps such portrayals were deemed unsafe for young audiences.) Because they portray more character and religious development I see the novels of Deborah Alcock (read about them on my blog) as more powerful. I also did not feel I learnt a vast deal more about the revolution than I already knew. But I am something of a history buff so others might find more history new to them. All that aside, the subject was fascinating, the writing well-paced and the adventure well-worked out. (Some may say the escapes in such a book are too many and fantastical. However, I have on my shelf a true story from 16th century Spain with just such ingenious and numerous escapes. Fact can be stranger than fiction.) The romance, although subtle, was well-treated and added a balancing dimension. I'm glad to find Henty's works on this site and will probably read more when I need some thrilling adventure.

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