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Tom Fleck Paperback – 11 Jan 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: YouWriteOn.com (11 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908147768
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908147769
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,795,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Here are Tudor kings and their nobles - their documented lives are rich material for writers - but now they play a minor part. This is the story of Tom Fleck, a penniless farm labourer, who shares his dwelling with cattle. He is fictional only because he leaves no record - his people live before the keeping of parish registers, so they make no marks on parchment and are lost to history.

We find his rare surname in the register of St. Hilda's church at Hartlepool:

Baptisms 1596, September 19th : Christofer ye child of Willm. Fleck.

Perhaps William heard tales of how his great grandfather, Thomas, loved a strange woman and stood with the army on the terrible battlefield of Flodden. This story brings him to life.

About the Author

Harry Nicholson now lives in Eskdale in North Yorkshire. He grew up in Hartlepool, County Durham, from where his family have fished since the 16th C. He had a first career as a radio officer in the merchant navy. A second career followed in television studios. He now writes poetry and stories, and teaches meditation. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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The strong point of this novel is that it places you firmly in the countryside of the north of Britain at the time of Flodden. It brings the era, surroundings, and people to life. It might be argued that the tough conditions, brutality, poverty and general grimness of living in the early sixteenth century environment are a shade romantically portrayed but humans are resilient and can make the most of what little might be offered and so events in this book generally ring true.
The first three quarters of the novel makes a very fine read before it seems to get a touch cosy, in the wedding celebration for instance, and as the relationships wrap up.
This is nevertheless a good read and can heartily be recommended to historical novel buffs.
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Format: Paperback
Tom Fleck is a historical novel set around the Battle of Flodden, in the north east of England in 1513. The main character is a young cow-herd, pulled by chance and circumstance into a militia fighting for King Henry VIII against the Scottish King and his armies. Before Tom Fleck takes up his longbow on Flodden Field, however, he does some growing up, getting into fights with his nasty landowner, into a job with the North Herald, and into bed with an exotic Jewish refugee.

Harry Nicholson's writing takes willful, exacting pleasure in describing what it feels like to be a medieval peasant-soldier, caught up in history and becoming part of it. Life in England 500 years ago feels squalid and lawless, yet there is adventure in it, and more life than lies about us now. A detail of the novel that I particularly loved were the descriptions of bird life long made extinct by industrial farming. Medieval warfare also comes alive here, Fleck and his fellow archers handling various kinds of arrows to inflict various kinds of harm on mailed pikesmen and armoured cavalry.

Like other readers I was entranced, and came back to the novel willingly and without delay - surely the best praise for a story. The novel is best on historical description, and the plot is well developed. Some characters, especially the women, did not entirely manage to come to life, but remained a little two-dimensional; and the mood of the novel shifts in its last chapters from realism to romance, with a pagan wedding and a happy ending. Nevertheless, this moved me too, and that's what a good story's all about as well.
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Interesting read about the battle of Flodden viewed from the English side.The book was described as 'second hand', but on arrival it appeared new.Mr Nicholsons first novel,it contains vivid descriptions of 16th century peasant life and warfare in the north of England.Mr. Nicholson is not Bernard Cornwell yet,but...try it, you might like it.
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I found Tom Fleck to be a very intriguing story and unlike anything I've read before. What a history lesson it would be for those who'd like to know just what it was like to be alive then!

Getting to know Tom Fleck was an interesting, surprising and absorbing journey. I discovered what it was like to live in the 1500s. The story brings to life the tastes, smells, joys, sorrows and hardships of the ordinary people as well as the nobles. The beliefs and prejudices, the food and deprivations, the work they did and the soldier's lives in and out of battle were clearly recreated. I found the conclusion surprising and very satisfying too.

That far back in history has always seemed to me so unreal that I could almost think they were aliens, by today's ways of living. Tom Fleck's story made me feel I was there walking in the same 'shoes' as the characters. Harry Nicholson, the author, has also done an amazing job of describing the bird and plant life, the remedies and so much else that has created the world of Tom Fleck. I really enjoyed it. I don't know how the author has managed to discover so many clever details and used them so magically.

For anyone looking for a story that is intriguing, informative and with a wonderful atmosphere that lingers after reading it I recommend this book very highly.
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Format: Paperback
I very much enjoyed reading this book, to the extent that it really did brighten my outlook on the world and even make me look at it differently. Harry Nicholson performs a rare feat in being able to bring his early 16th Century world alive not only with physical detail, but by convincingly portraying the mindset of the ordinary people of the time: in many ways not so different from us, with similar concerns and drives, and with a sometimes rowdy sense of humour, but also closer to nature ( I know that sounds corny but there's really no other phrase) than most of us could ever be, because they literally live in it. Nicholson's hero Tom knows the ways of animals and the uses of plants with a vivid, earthed awareness that is simply out of reach of most 21st Century Westerners. Along with that goes a naturally pagan outlook that might seem equally baffling to us in our Monotheistic, post-Monotheistic or Materialist world, but makes total sense for characters who almost literally sleep on the earth and for whom the pronouncements of priests are more or less irrelevant. As I read, I was totally convinced by such a viewpoint and whatever I saw of the natural world in my own daily round came to life a little bit more for me. I have to say it felt a lot healthier and more expansive than my usual boxed-in awareness.

In general, as with all the best historical novels, I was right there in the period of the story, and the author has obviously deployed wide-ranging knowledge and detailed research with great skill. The tale is a fairly simple but very engaging one, with a brilliantly described (from the soldier's-eye view) Battle of Flodden as its centrepiece. The characters are vivid, if not over-complex, and the author's love of them is endearingly evident.
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