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Noah's Castle by [Townsend, John Rowe]
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Noah's Castle Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 226 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 964 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Publisher: October Mist Publishing (16 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GLVF2YQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #447,495 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition
Noah’s Castle derives its compelling story straight from the economic crises of the mid-1970s when it was written: stagflation, industrial unrest, escalating world commodity prices. It ought really to have dated to the same extent as, say, a pair of Bay City Rollers tartan flares, but – to its credit – it hasn’t. This is mainly because the book’s timeless qualities, those of sturdy characterisation, plausible dialogue and a well-spun narrative drive, trump any particularities of the era in which it first appeared.
There is a universality in the overarching theme of Noah’s Castle, that of the limits to which a father will go to protect and provide for his family in times of need. It gets you asking, ‘how far would I go in the same circumstances?’ Norman Mortimer, the ex-military patriarch of the family is certainly one of children’s literature’s heftier and more memorable (for which read ‘appalling’) characters.
As seen through the eyes of his 16-year-old son, Barry, Norman is domineering, contemptuous of others’ feelings and a thoroughgoing sexist – one who rides roughshod over his poor wife to the extent of relocating the family in a new, more sequestered, house without even consulting her. And yet he is never entirely ignoble either; after all he thinks ahead in stocking up food supplies in anticipation of the coming crisis and genuinely feels he is doing his duty in caring for his family, whose reactions to his almost militaristic disposition vary hugely.
The book builds its tension slowly and surely, as prices soar into funny money territory and hunger brings about near-societal breakdown. But we never get simply a dry rendering of events: we see instead a whole range of well-crafted characters and how the crisis brings about the best and worst in them, from likeable, love-thwarted Cliff to the thoroughly oily and odious Mr Gerard. A very good read and one that didn’t deserve to go out of print, as it was for a while.
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By Steven R. McEvoy TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
I was offered an advanced reading copy of this book. The book poses many interesting questions, and even though written originally 35 years ago, it is very fitting for today's economical and social setting. The book poses the questions of: 'What if money became worthless?' England is descending into economic disaster. The rate of inflation is changing hourly. Prices are skyrocketing, there are riots and people are literally starving to death. But for Norman Mortimer and his family things are not so terrible. For Norman is a man with foresight. When he predicted what was about to happen to the nation, he started planning. He buys a house well hidden from the street and other houses. Then he starts to gather stores to see the family through the current troubles.

Unfortunately, soon the government makes hoarding illegal. The family begins to be under stress, and as they see friends suffering and without, they struggle with what their father has done and is doing. First, Nessie the oldest daughter leaves, then the mother and youngest child. Soon it is just a father and his two sons. As rumours of the Mortimer's stocks spread, they are first blackmailed by a mobster, and a social action group tries to persuade Norman to distribute the stock to the needy.

This is an amazing book, well-written and so fitting to what is happening in today's world. The story moves at a quick pace, and progresses well. I could not put the book down. The story was so well-written I am planning on tracking down more of John Rowe Townsend's books to read in the future.
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Format: Paperback
16-year-old Barry Mortimer is a fairly carefree person, living with his domineering father, Norman, his complacent mother, and his siblings in fair comfort. But a crisis is on the rise - the UK is producing more and more money, yet it gets harder and harder to afford to buy items as prices rise. If matters weren't confusing enough, Barry's father goes and buys the family a large, looming house that's much too big for them, and begins putting up hundreds of shelves down in the basement.

When the signs of the crisis begin to show, with food prices insanely high, the old are left to afford almost nothing, and the talk of food rationing begins. Barry's suspicions of his father grow. When he discovers his plans - to hoard several years' worth of nonperishable foods in their basement, hidden from the rest of the community - Barry's met with an important decision: To keep his family safe for the long haul and risk being discovered, or to go against his father's wishes and refuse the stores.

NOAH'S CASTLE was originally published in the 1970's, so the book reads as a contemporary-historical novel, though that in no way detracts from the power of the story. Townsend has a great voice in Barry; simple but strong. While readers will identify with him, his sister Agnes, and some other characters that come along, the real star of the novel is Barry's father, Norman. Norman's character is written as amazingly complex, with every emotion and motive shaded grey. There is no easy side for the reader to take, and the excitement over the moral issues alone will keep you wanting to read. Action-wise, the story moves along quickly, each and every scene flowing with tension and emotions that really capture the dystopian setting.
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