Jump to content

The American Boy


Bill
 Share

Recommended Posts

England 1819: Thomas Shield, a new master at a school just outside London, is tutor to a young American boy and the boy’s sensitive best friend, Charles Frant. Drawn to Frant’s beautiful, unhappy mother, Thomas becomes caught up in her family’s twisted intrigues.

Then a brutal crime is committed, with consequences that threaten to destroy Thomas and all that he has come to hold dear. Despite his efforts, Shield is caught up in a deadly tangle of sex, money, murder and lies – a tangle that grips him tighter even as he tries to escape from it. And what of the strange American child, at the heart of these macabre events, yet mysterious – what is the secret of the boy named Edgar Allen Poe?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

What a ripping yarn in the great tradition of Wilkie Collins. For a solid read on a wet weekend nothing could be better. It has everything - an attractive and headstrong protagonist, adventurous schoolboys, kindly lawyer, wicked capitalist, lovely ladies - easily recognisable Regency London - coach rides, murder, hidden treasure, corrupt bankers - you name it - it has it all. Also it is beautifully written with wit, humanity and erudition. I think the hype about Edgar Allan Poe, although he undoubtedly appears and is delightful, is a bit of a red herring. Would be interested to have other people's views.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah - the Edgar Allen Poe thing almost stopped me buying this originally. (much as I like some Poe stuff, the blurb made it sound a bit gimmicky). But I'm glad I did, as it's quite a small part of the book. There's some great Victorian sexual tension in it, and I'm really glad I chose to read it during a week where the snow outside my window didn't let up. I thought the last half, particularly, was very well-paced. As historical thrillers go, the only thing that I've read that is (miles) better is Ian Pears' An Instance Of The Fingerpost. Interested to try some of Andrew Taylor's others... Has anyone else read them?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I had it on a three-week loan from the library, but hadn't finished it by the time it was due back. I tried to renew it but this was when it R&J's book of the week and it was reserved. I never did read the last bit, but it didn't bother me. I never got into the style of the book, and the murder mystery element didn't grab me much either. If it's ever on the shelves again I'll finish it, but I wouldn't buy it.

 

Suppose I could sit in some bookshop for a couple of hours, see how it ends.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Afraid I have to agree with last message. Bought this book expecting a light harmless read and that is just what it is. Very easy to read but the charachters never totally engage as they are always a bit one dimensional. Still, not a bad choice for rainy or "snowy" afternoon!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I thought this was an excellent novel providing great value for money: crime, history and romance - as well as a lesson in C19th linguistics.

 

I was amazed at the size of Andrew Taylor's backcatalogue - how come I've never heard of him before?

 

So, where to start? Anyone out there willing to recommend one of his previous works?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with all the wonderful sentiments expressed about this novel - it truly is a superlative piece of intelligent writing.

 

The title, to my mind, contains a puzzle. The marketing all points to "The American Boy" being Edgar Allan Poe - but I don't think so. He's hardly central to the plot. There another American boy around whom the whole plot revolves. Did anyone spot him?

 

I want to read more Taylor - but have you seen the size of the backcatalogue? Where to start?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really, really want to like this book - but I just can't seem to get into it. I'm about a third of the way through, but the characters don't engage me at all, and I'm not that interested in the skullduggery either.

 

 

However, seldom has my attention to a book been so disrupted, so perhaps I should try to read a large chunk of it un-interrupted and see how I get on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

This book helped cure a bout of "reader's block" for me and I would definitely recommend it on the basis of it being a suspense-filled page-turner.

 

It had a few flaws, which although fairly prominent, didn't stop me from roaring through it.

 

The story is cluttered by too many half-explored characters and sub-plots at times and I would have much preferred if the editor had done away with the superfluous Mr Dansey or the references to Fanny for example. The whole love triangle between Shield, Mrs. Frant and Miss. Carswell just didn't hold water for me and it would have been far better to develop a more credible the relationship between Mr. Shield and Mrs. Frant.

 

As others have mentioned, the Allan Poe connection is very flimsy and at times can seem contrived. I was a bit dissapointed that plot had not been centred about him, as I like his poetry and was aware of the mystery surrounding his death. In that respect the title/blurb is a bit of a false promise.

 

Apart from that it was great fun and a nice light historical novel (more novel than historical IMHO). Just what the doctor ordered.

 

Rebecca

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 years later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By chuntzy
      This is set in the post-Restoration year 1668.
       
      Unfortunately this is the first time that I could not get immersed in this
      last one of this historical crime series. The setting up of the backgroind to the action took an unconscionabe time: in the earlier books I was involved much quicker.
    • By chuntzy
      I thought this an excellent historical crime novel set in the London of the 1660s.
      A murder has occurred in the palatial house of one of the highest courtiers in the land.  The main suspect is a woman wnho had previously been raped by the deceased.  It is a very tangled web for James Marwood to unravel.
       
      I particularly liked the way all levels of society were dealt with in a city in the very early stages of recovery from the Great Fire and the rifts from Ctomwellian times.
       
×
×
  • Create New...