Description - Highwayman by Melvin Burgess
In Tudor times the punishment for highway robbery was death. Young Will is bored hanging round his parent's inn and, being none too bright either, he decides to get involved in a plot to rob the local highway. He loves drama, the guns and the loot, but he is on another robber's patch.
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(205mm x 135mm x 12mm)
A & C Black (Childrens books)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Country of Publication:
Book Reviews - Highwayman by Melvin Burgess
UK Kirkus Review »
Part of the Tudor Flashbacks series, this readable tale gives children an accessible flavour of life in Elizabethan times. It's the story of Will Biglow, innkeeper's son, an easy-going and easily led wimp, and Francis Enterley, nephew of a rich merchant, arrogant, manipulative and determined. Francis is sent by his uncle to Will's school - apparently a bit of a come-down for one of his station in life, but Francis's parents are mysteriously absent and their whereabouts secret - something to do with Catholics, the Crown, spies and treasure. Thus the audience is given a glimpse into the atmosphere of the times, although the muting of its political intrigue is counterbalanced by the graphic nature of numerous descriptions of children's floggings - good as scene-setters but perhaps a little over-emphasized for anyone not turned on by flagellation - and criminal penalties (disembowelment and the like) which are perhaps not for the over-sensitive. In an interesting device for young readers, for most of the book Will and Francis take turns at relating what's going on, amply demonstrating how different viewpoints on the same events may contrast. The tale of how the boys plot to outwit their teacher - a fierce and forthright character alternately portrayed as sadistic and salt-of-the-earth - should keep readers hooked right to the neat little twist at the end. Not everyone will feel the more punitive descriptions are appropriate for a children's book, although most children will undoubtedly revel in them. But overall this is a well-told, memorable depiction of a child's lot, and of life at the sharp end, in Tudor times. Ages 8-11 (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Melvin Burgess
Melvin Burgess is one of the most interesting and respected children's authors writing today. In 1997 he won the Carnegie medal for his story about young heroin addicts, Junk. His last novel Lady: My Life as a Bitch even received coverage in The Sun newspaper. Never one to flinch from gritty subjects he has written a thrilling tale of Tudor highway robbery. Melvin also wrote the acclaimed Copper Treasure, part of the Flashbacks series.