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The Gauntlet

June 4, 2011

I while ago Eleanor recommended Ronald Welch’s Carey family series, which follows various Careys as they participate in pretty much every major conflict England’s been involved in in the last thousand years. We have similar taste in historical adventure novels, so I had pretty high hopes for Welch, and Knight Crusader, the first Carey book, was enormously fun — both bloodier and more educational than I expected. But the next Welch book in the New York Public Library’s collection takes place several hundred years later, and I get kind of weird about reading series in order, so now I’m just hoping to randomly stumble across the next book somewhere.

But the NYPL also had another Welch book, written shortly before Knight Crusader. It’s called The Gauntlet, and it’s a timeslip novel in which a young boy spending a vacation in Wales picks up a metal gauntlet and finds himself in the middle ages, where he is taken for the son of the local Norman family. It’s even more intensely educational than Knight Crusader, but that’s sort of what timeslip novels are for most of the time: you get to listen in on the protagonist getting everything explained to them.  And Welch knows his stuff, as far as I can tell.

It’s sort of exactly what you would expect of a children’s historical novel written in the fifties, and I mean that in a good way. It’s not the most emotionally engaging book, but it doesn’t need to be. And Welch is one of those writers who knows how to give you as much revenge as you want without giving you so much that you wish you hadn’t wanted it in the first place, although that might be a matter of opinion. I’m not sure how my thirst for revenge on fictional characters stacks up against other people’s.

Anyway, a pretty good book.

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2 comments

  1. The Gauntlet is, oddly, incredibly emotionally engaging if you read it young! That was my own experience, and that of serveral commenters when I reviewed it on my blog ages ago–somehow the young reader brings an emotional story to it that isn’t actually there in the written words!


    • That’s really interesting. I thought it had some emotional appeal, but not very much. I can see how one might embroider on the events of the book as a kid.



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