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The Black Tor A Tale of the Reign of James the First   By: (1831-1909)

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The Black Tor, by George Manville Fenn, A Tale of the Reign of James the First.

As always with this author there is plenty of action in this book. Two teenage boys of about the same age come from families which have been in intense rivalry for centuries. Each of them lives in a castle set among the wild and desolate hills of Derbyshire, an almost mountainous area in the Midlands of England, known generally as the Peak District.

The boys know each other but as enemies. Yet events occur which draw them together as allies, but they dare not call themselves friends. A roguish band of ex soldiers have arrived in the district, and set up camp out on the moors, from whence they descend to steal from, rob and loot the houses of the poorer folk.

The boys privately form an alliance using the men working on their fathers' land as a private army, to attack and rid the land of these desperadoes. Their first attack results in dreadful failure. But then they revise their ideas of what they can use for weaponry, and are finally successful.

Yet another excellent book from the prolific pen of this great author. NH




About as rugged, fierce looking a gang of men as a lad could set eyes on, as they struggled up the steep cliff road leading to the castle, which frowned at the summit, where the flashing waters of the Gleame swept round three sides of its foot, half hidden by the beeches and birches, which overhung the limpid stream. The late spring was at its brightest and best, but there had been no rain; and as the men who had waded the river lower down, climbed the steep cliff road, they kicked up the white limestone dust, and caked their wet high boots, which, in several instances, had opened holes in which toes could be seen, looking like curious reptiles deep in gnarled and crumpled shells.

"Beggars! What a gang!" said Ralph Darley, a dark, swarthy lad of perhaps seventeen, but looking older, from having an appearance of something downy beginning to come up that spring about his chin, and a couple of streaks, like eyebrows out of place, upon his upper lip. He was well dressed, in the fashion of Solomon King James's day; and he wore a sword, as he sat half up the rugged slope, on a huge block of limestone, which had fallen perhaps a hundred years before, from the cliff above, and was mossy now, and half hidden by the ivy which covered its side.

"Beggars," he said again; "and what a savage looking lot."

As they came on, it began to dawn upon him that they could not be beggars, for if so, they would have been the most truculent looking party that ever asked for the contributions of the charitable. One, who seemed to be their leader, was a fierce, grizzled, red nosed fellow, wearing a rusty morion, in which, for want of a feather, a tuft of heather was stuck; he wore a long cloak, as rusty looking as his helmet; and that he carried a sword was plain enough, for the well worn scabbard had found a very convenient hole in the cloak, through which it had thrust itself in the most obtrusive manner, and looked like a tail with a vicious sting, for the cap of the leathern scabbard had been lost, and about three inches of steel blade and point were visible.

Ralph Darley was quick at observation, and took in quickly the fact that all the men were armed, and looked shabbier than their leader, though not so stout; for he was rubicund and portly, where he ought not to have been, for activity, though in a barrel a tubby space does indicate strength. Neither were the noses of the other men so red as their leader's, albeit they were a villainous looking lot.

"Not beggars, but soldiers," thought Ralph; "and they've been in the wars... Continue reading book >>

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