Tom Fleck Paperback – 11 Jan 2011
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Written with warmth and understanding this book gripped me from page one, transporting me back to a different, but still in terms of the culture and people, recognisable England. Read morePublished on 2 Aug. 2014 by trampas
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story. I'm local to the area it's set in, and it was lovely to hear the local dialect and specific words used that are from my childhood. Read morePublished on 2 Mar. 2014 by gladys freeman
Tom Fleck is the story of a boy who wants to be his own master. A boy who is not content to dream but sees his chance to get the cash to set up on his own and sets about trying to... Read morePublished on 7 Mar. 2013 by J. M. Hockey
This is a historical novel that gives a real sense of the past. Tom Fleck is a young peasant in 1513, and the author has achieved the near-impossible task of creating both the... Read morePublished on 7 Nov. 2012 by Annie Nicol
Harry Nicholson takes you back into a time when life's decisions were more about survival than what is on the TV tonight! Read morePublished on 10 Aug. 2012 by I. R. Jones
An excellent example of the personal feelings of a young man going into a battle that he wants to avoid. Read morePublished on 17 April 2012 by Amazon Customer
This is one of those books where one becomes so involved with the characters that one doesn't want to get to the end. Read morePublished on 11 Feb. 2012 by Mary-Rose
Tom Fleck by Harry Nicholson - 5 Big Fat Stars from me
This book opens in 1513, in the reign if King Henry VIII in England. Read more
I loved Tom Fleck, it really is as simple as that. It's beautifully written & from the first page you want to know what is going to happen on the next page. Read morePublished on 8 Jan. 2012 by Mrs. A. Hemsworth