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

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In "The Black Tor: A Tale of the Reign of James the First" by George Manville Fenn, readers are transported back to a time of political unrest and mysterious occurrences. Set during the reign of James the First, the novel delves into the tensions between the Protestants and Catholics, painting a vivid picture of the religious conflicts that plagued England during this era.

The story follows the protagonist, Tom Lanham, a young Protestant who finds himself caught in a series of strange events surrounding the eerie Black Tor. As Tom's curiosity gets the better of him, he embarks on a journey that will challenge his beliefs and force him to confront the supernatural.

One of the book's strongest aspects is its ability to evoke a sense of time and place. Fenn's attention to detail is impeccable, creating a vivid portrayal of 17th century England. From the bustling streets of London to the treacherous landscapes surrounding Black Tor, readers are fully immersed in the atmosphere of the time.

The characters in "The Black Tor" are also well-developed and relatable. Tom is a likable protagonist, and his growth throughout the story is compelling. Fenn portrays his internal struggles with great depth, as Tom grapples with his faith and the supernatural events unfolding around him. The supporting characters, such as the enigmatic Father Braybrook and the mysterious Lady Galmoy, add layers of intrigue and contribute to the complexity of the plot.

Speaking of the plot, Fenn crafts a captivating narrative filled with suspense and intrigue. The mystery surrounding Black Tor and its supernatural occurrences keep readers on the edge of their seats, eagerly turning the pages to uncover the truth. Fenn's pacing is well-executed, with moments of tension balanced by moments of introspection, creating a well-rounded reading experience.

However, while "The Black Tor" is an engrossing tale, it does have its drawbacks. At times, the plot feels slightly predictable, following a formula that may be familiar to readers of similar historical mysteries. Additionally, some readers may find certain aspects of the storyline far-fetched or overly reliant on coincidence. Nevertheless, these flaws do not detract significantly from the overall enjoyment of the novel.

Overall, "The Black Tor: A Tale of the Reign of James the First" is a captivating historical fiction with a touch of the supernatural. Through its richly detailed setting and well-developed characters, George Manville Fenn has crafted an engaging tale that transports readers to a tumultuous time in English history. Fans of historical mysteries and atmospheric storytelling will find much to enjoy within the pages of this gripping novel.

First Page:

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


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