Another Quick Reads post for you today – and this one is set in Oxford and Malborough. Based on true events which ocurred during the English Civil War…….think history is boring? Then take a quick read and you will see that history in bite size chunks is sometimes exactly what you need.
A CRUEL FATE
Set in 1642 in Malborough, Wiltshire and Oxford.
The first line alone made me want to read on –
Who burns books? What men are so wicked?
Of course in history, a lot of books were burned as a sign of control over the population. The Book Theif by Marcus Zusak which is due to be released as a movie deals with the Germans burning books during the war. In A cruel Fate, John Hammond’s bookshop in Malborough is raided and soldiers shout that this town is to be taken over for King Charles. People are captured and forced to walk to Oxford – to the castle.
Oxford Caste looms over then. it is six hundred years old and stands beside a low man-made mound. The keep is showing its age and a large crack runs down it, but the place hums with the noise of solders and prisoners, and is still formidable.
The bookseller who has been captured by Royalists is one of those taken to Oxford prison. He and the other men suffer inhumane treatment as prisoners-of-war.
In Oxford Castle, jailor William Smith tortures, beats, starves and deprives his helpless victims.
The grim tale of Captain Smith’s abuse of power in Oxford prison is an eye opener to the events and horror of the Civil War but written so clearly and easy to read that you will learn something without knowing you are doing so. Now who wishes history at school had been so interesting!
For taste of what the English Civil War was like for ordinary people in 1642, I have not come across a more interesting and fascinating yet ultimately accessible book to step in to the past!
For more information about Quick Reads, please take a look at their site – http://www.quickreads.org.uk/
And for even more books about history – pay a visit to Lindsey Davis – http://www.lindseydavis.co.uk/