Walk with Peril

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Putnam, 1959 - 287 pages
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My favorite book in my high school library. Even at that time it had already been rebound into a new cover.
I read this historical fiction novel time after time in study hall. It is a vivid
portrayal of the time of Henry V, focusing on the main character Rob. Rob is a Lollard, part of an early protestant group who read the bible in English, not Latin. He is also a supporter of his King, who must ruthlessly suppress this group for political reasons. The penalties for being a Lollard or owning a bible in English are severe, such as burning at the stake. It also has a strong female character, the daughter of a merchant who is the love interest.
It is an action packed book culminating at the battle of Agincourt. One thing that distinguishes this book from a lot of youth fiction is the character development. All the characters have divided and tangled loyalties. There is constant tension due to the choice all the characters, from low to high, face between principles and pragmatism in some way. The mature compromises they make are interesting and believable.
There is good historical detail and description worked into the book, showing the infancy of the reformation movement, the Plantagent rule of England and France, the rising merchant class in England, the tension on the Welsh and French borders of England, social effects of the black death, etc. It's all rolled seamlessly into a great story that made me want to learn more about the history of this era as a teen while being an enjoyable action read.


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