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Plague Child (Tom Neave Trilogy 1) [Paperback]

Peter Ransley
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

29 Mar 2012 Tom Neave Trilogy 1

The first instalment of a captivating trilogy set against the backdrop of the English Civil War.

September 1625: Plague cart driver, Matthew Kneave, is sent to pick up the corpse of a baby. Yet, on the way to the plague pit, he hears a cry – the baby is alive. A plague child himself, and now immune from the disease, Matthew decides to raise it as his own.

Fifteen years on, Matthew’s son Tom is apprenticed to a printer in the City. Somebody is interested in him and is keen to turn him into a gentleman. He is even given an education. But Tom is unaware that he has a benefactor and soon he discovers that someone else is determined to kill him.

The civil war divides families, yet Tom is divided in himself. Devil or saint? Royalist or radicalist? He is at the bottom of the social ladder, yet soon finds himself within reach of a great estate – one which he must give up to be with the girl he loves.

Set against the fervent political climate of the period, 'Plague Child' is a remarkable story of discovery, identity and an England of the past.

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Plague Child (Tom Neave Trilogy 1) + Cromwell's Blessing (Tom Neave Trilogy 2)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (29 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007312377
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007312375
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘Tom's search for his own identity is intimately connected with the seismic events tearing England apart in the 1640s. Ransley has a talent for melding dramatic historical detail with a strong story that could well give C. J. Sansom a run for his money.' Spectator

‘A gripping coming-of-age story…an enthralling mystery adventure.’ Radio Times

‘There are some cracking [historical] writers out there. And Peter Ransley is certainly worthy of a place at the top…a great tale that would sit well on the screen… Ransley conveys not only the action, but also the self-doubt and blundering of a poorly-trained army daring to challenge its king… If [the] second book] is as good as this one, then we are in for a real treat.’ Eastern Daily Press

About the Author

Peter Ransley has written extensively for television. His BBC adaptation of Sarah Waters’s ‘Fingersmith’ was nominated for a BAFTA for best series in 2006 and his ITV drama ‘Falling Angel’, starring Emilia Fox and Charles Dance, was screened in 2007. He is a winner of the Royal Television Society’s Writer’s Award.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Debut 28 Jun 2011
I was asked to read this quite some time ago as part of a controlled group of 100 readers, to feedback on the writer, writing, style, the cover the plot etc.. It was a novel (excuse the pun) request and one i was happy to do for any debut book, and once i had started working my way into this gem a double pleasure.
This is a period of history i avoid like the plague (again sorry not intending them they just keep happening) it was a subject they flogged to death at school, the plague, the civil war blah blah blah... but this book plague Child brings the whole period to life, sometimes in its gross sticking glory.

Peter Ransley is a potential star of the future, if he can follow up this title with something as good or better then it will confirm there is a real new talent around.
I learned loads in this book, but didnt feel i was being force fed history, i met characters i want to know more about, and i felt, smelt and lived a period of history that shaped this nation... brilliant stuff.

Im also glad the cover is not one of the ones they asked us to comment on... they were w=awful pastel things... blurrgh.

Highly recommended.

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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great evocative read, a real page turner 13 April 2011
By N Saker
I read a pre-release copy of this book and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt the author really created a strong sense of place and environment around the story. Making the period come to life in a very visceral way. I felt for the characters and did truly want to follow their story through. As a work of historical fiction, with it's inclusion of 'real life' people into the story this was a real page turner. True it may not stand up as a work of historical reference but it never claims to be such a thing. A great read, I can't wait for the sequel!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars super storytelling 17 April 2011
This is as gripping a tale as I have read in a long while - it has the quality of an Alexandre Dumas adventure story, complete with real historical characters mixing with the fictional, and a tremendous sense of time and place. The author writes so vividly that you can see and taste and smell everything he describes. I used to think this was quite a dull period in history but now I am so fascinated I will go and read more.
I highly recommend this to readers of all ages, I have given it to my 12 yr old nephew who devoured it, and to my aunt who is a historical fiction fanatic in her 60's, both loved it. Don't miss it, and the next installment should be along in 2012...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just didn't enjoy it - but you might. 28 April 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For some reason I found this story impossible to 'get into'.
The concept for the story is sound enough - a child born out of wedlock discarded (rather nastily condemned to the plague pit in this case) and then brought up by sympathetic 'poor but honest folk'. As it happens, the child is actually the son of a nobleman, and we spend the story trying to deal with the ramifications of this.
I always found it impossible to 'suspend my disbelief' enough to let the story get me rooting for the main character (or anyone else for that matter) and I felt as though I needed something more from the book. I did sometimes find the factual basis for the story at variants with my own knowledge of the period and I also felt that some of the characters were a little 2 dimensional.
I think I have been spoiled by reading a lot of historical fiction by writers who excel in this genre, and perhaps the next 2 volumes of this trilogy will see a maturation of the writer's ability which will make the next volumes more attractive to me.
I certainly will have a look at the next book, and I would never condemn a writer of the strength of one book.
However, I am writing my opinion, and on this basis I will give this book 3 stars out of a possible 5.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the English civil war's surprisingly topical! 10 April 2011
By Joanna
Format:Kindle Edition
I've just finished Plague Child and really enjoyed it. I like historical fiction and here we have a period which I knew little about - the English Civil War. Absolutely fascinating to get a sense of the struggle, seemed so resonant of today. The King fighting to stay in power whatever the cost. The power of the early political pamphlets,effectively the first newspapers. Pamphlets were rushed to the press and would be read out loud to people without literacy. I suppose this was the equivalent of the impact of the internet in the uprisings today. Interesting characters and a thoroughly good story. I am looking forward to number 2!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read 9 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book took some getting into for me and I almost gave up after the first few chapters but saw it through and, like all good books, was really sorry to reach the end. I'm looking forward to no. 2.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Historical Page-Turner 29 July 2011
By Elizabeth Taylor VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really enjoyed this book especially as it was set in a tumultuous period of British history not that often used as a vehicle for historical fiction, but, despite the good parts I couldn't help but feel that the author could have made more of what he had. So what did he have, well an engaging lead character Tom Neave, unassuming and believable - working as a printer in London. A fascinating period of history the English civil war which is not much written about especially in terms of the daily lives of individuals. And finally a catchy plot, that being a child born of parents unknown, brought up my a working class family discovering that he was adopted. But who are his parents, why was he rejected by them and most interesting of all if he does find them on what side in the war are they?

The novel is a search for personal answers, and, is paced well to reveal just a little bit of information on every page so you have to keep turning and turning. Ultimately it was clear to me at the end that the author expects to write more novels in the series so perhaps he didn't want to put everything into this one, which meant for me that it was a little disappointing in the end. However, don't be put off by that it may just be that I was hoping for more because I enjoyed it so much throughout.

So recommended holiday reading, engaging and interesting, with a good story about an unusual place in time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Read.
Interesting setting for the historically minded. Plot a little thin on occasion.
Published 7 days ago by Roger Biggs
5.0 out of 5 stars good storyline.
Enjoying this book, good storyline.
Published 21 days ago by yanidi
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I enjoyed this book.
Published 25 days ago by Mrs Julia Pavia
5.0 out of 5 stars The very talented Mr Ransley
Just finished this book and I loved it. Intelligent thoughtful and insightful. Peter is an incredibly talented writer and i can't wait to read the next instalment
Published 1 month ago by Bluesy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really draws you in difficult to put down.
Published 2 months ago by J. R. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
Very enjoyable read needed to see what happens next in each page
Looking forward next book
Published 2 months ago by Sue Wassell
4.0 out of 5 stars well worth a read
A good story with some twists, Tom is not a conventional hero and at times I found his characters bit frustrating. Read more
Published 9 months ago by chris pike
3.0 out of 5 stars difficult to follow
It was the first book by this author I have read. I found it difficult to get into at first but persevered and found it did flow better towards the end. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Mrs J Stevenson
5.0 out of 5 stars Plague Child
I love the17th Century and 'The English Civil War'. The basic plot is a bit predictable and the twists unsurprising but well written without any glaring historical errors. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Anthony Wheelhouse
4.0 out of 5 stars historical novel
Easy to read and describes the environment with in which people lived in those days sufficiently to give the reader, an insight into how people lived in that time. Read more
Published 14 months ago by mr m w warrender
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