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Westward Ho! [Paperback]

Kingsley Charles
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 Sep 2009
Beginning in the fictional seaport of Bideford Quay in Devon, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Charles Kingsley's monumental novel follows the fortunes of Amyas Leigh, a young man who sets sail on a life of adventure on the high seas. After battling pirates and treasure-hunting in the Caribbean, and setting out to rescue his beloved Rose Salterne, Amyas joins Sir Francis Drake as he prepares to face England's greatest threat - the Spanish Armada. Packed with drama, excitement and romance 'Westward Ho!' is a magnificent celebration of an age of exploration, discovery and conquest. More than this, however, the novel also draws parallels between Elizabethan England and mid-nineteenth century Britain, when many feared imminent invasion by the French under their Catholic emperor Louis Napoleon. Included is an insightful introduction by historical writer Malcolm Day.

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Westward Ho! + The Water Babies (Collins Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn Ltd (30 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841586358
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841586359
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

CHARLES KINGSLEY, best-known to modern readers as the author of The Water Babies, was born at Holne, Dartmoor in 1819. After studying at Magdalene College, Cambridge, he was ordained and became rector at Eversley, Hampshire. Well known as a Christian Socialist who did much to improve the lot of the working class, Kingsley was also for a time professor of Modern History at Cambridge and chaplain to Queen Victoria.MALCOLM DAY is an author and editor of books on history and religion, including recently, 'Voices from the World of Jane Austen'. He used to work as an editor for Reader's Digest General Books and now devotes most of his time to writing. He lives on Dartmoor and is married with three young children.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sleeping Giant Among 'The Classics'! 21 Jan 2011

`Westward Ho!' (1855) is surely unique in the annals of classic literature in as much as it is the only novel from its (or indeed any other?) era to have a town named after it. Indeed, the North Devon holiday location of Westward Ho! owes its name to what was a best-selling adventure yarn in Victorian England. Local entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to cash in on the book's popularity and attract tourists to the charms of this area of The West Country. Surely, there can be no greater evidence of a book's impact upon its readership.

And yet, what is equally extraordinary about `Westward Ho!' is how it has seemingly gone out of fashion, whilst other books of a similar age remain dead-certs to be found in the `Classics' section of any high street book shop. I must confess to being nearly astounded to find that this is the first review of `Westward Ho!' to appear in this forum.

All of which is something of a conundrum, for `Westward Ho!' is a great book. Charles Kingsley has left readers with a truly epic adventure yarn, set in the turbulent days of Queen Elizabeth I when England was in turmoil following The Reformation, and the threat of Catholic spies and Spanish invasion sent terror through the populace. Much of the book's appeal stems from Kingsley's decision to blend genuine history and historical characters with his own fictional events and protagonists. This was a strategy used to great effect by Kingsley's French contemporary, Alexandre Dumas. In fact, if `Westward Ho!' were to be summed up in a one line it would be to describe it as a successful blend of `The Three Musketeers', `Treasure Island' and 'Lorna Doone'.

With such a catchy title, it is interesting to note that `Westward Ho!
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4.0 out of 5 stars I didn't ought to have enjoyed this 9 Aug 2013
Westward Ho! was an undiscovered heirloom gathering dust on a bookshelf "Presented to May Butland Ashprington Choir 1907". It is long. It is no suitable present for a child. It is often incomprehensible in its use of languages (16th Century florid English, Latin, Spanish, Devonshire dialect). It is bigoted - giving a 19th Century English Protestant view of cruel foreigners and their superstitions. It casually sets characters up and then forgets all about them (what did happen to Eustace?). It starts off as a story of a gang of English (Devonshire) thugs going half way across the world to pursue the honour killing of a greasy Dago who has run off with an English beauty. It is not for sensitive souls.
But the Devonshire fanatics are at least credible - heroic with all their faults. The action scenes when we get to them are gripping, even if we know the outcome in advance, and we certainly do not know the final outcome of the story.
This is the book for anyone who hates dishonesty, cruelty and oppression, as long as you understand that they are all exemplified by members of The Society of Jesus, and who love their country, freedom and their Queen, as long as you understand that they are England, Protestantism and Elizabeth.
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