Monday, 27 April 2015

The Gauntlet by Ronald Welch

Book Review: Having read one of Ronald Welch's other books "Knight Crusader" I knew what to expect from this book. I expected Boys' Own knights-in-shining-armour stuff and that is what I got.

Originally released in 1951 and now being re-published "The Gauntlet" is about "an old glove" or a gauntlet. By wearing the magical gauntlet 1950s child Peter Staunton goes back in time to the middle ages where he becomes Peter de Blois son of the owner of Welsh castle Carreg Cennen. Being Norman barons in the Welsh heartlands there is a danger that the Welsh could start an uprising and if so then young Peter is sure to be involved in the ensuing battle,

The book is quite clever in how it "teaches" the historical aspects of the situation. In the beginning during the 1950s there is the vicar character who is gives lectures on the ruins of Carreg Cennen, for example, and its history, thus getting the messages across. Then when Peter ends up in the 14th century after the gauntlet finds him, he observes everything going on through his 20th century eyes, or "with the detached eye of an observer from another age". This includes things like Peter learning the longbow and the art of falconry. You can see that the author has the passion for the subject which explains why he became a history teacher.

All-in-all then a book that is interesting for its historical teaching cleverly disguised within a piece of fiction, and the bringing to life of the real events that happened at the time (although some bits are imaginary of course), and for the adrenaline rush of the jousting and battle scenes.

Release date: 5 March 2015 (originally released in 1951)

Amazon link (available for £7.99): The Gauntlet

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