Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What Mrs. N's Been Reading - The Convicts

Just finished Iain Lawrence's The Convicts. I like Lawrence's stuff. He does historical fiction, which I'm usually not a big fan of, but either does an unusual period like mid-20th century circus in Ghost Boy, or does an unusual take on a more typical historical period or event, as in Lord of the Nutcracker Men, B for Buster or The Wreckers. The Convicts takes place primarily on an old English war ship that has been stripped down and converted into a floating prison for young boys in mid-1800's England. It's based on actual practices of the time, something I had never heard about before. It's the story of young Tom Tin, whose father has been sent off to debtor's prison, and mother has gone off the deep end after the death of his little sister. Tom runs away, thinking that he'll find his fortune and rescue his father, but quickly runs into trouble and ends up on a prison ship for a murder he didn't commit. Lawrence is an excellent writer who really gives you the feeling of the time and place. But it's not just the atmosphere. He also weaves a pretty darn good story, with some twists and turns and an interesting assortment of characters that you really start to feel for. This book is the first in a trilogy. I'd recommend it.

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