Book Reviews

The Thieftaker's Trek by Joan S. Sumner

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List Price: £4.31


Kindle Edition: 270 Pages.

Published: 10 July 2018 by Bastei Entertainment



Murder. Abduction. An attic full of frightened children.London, 1810. The industrial revolution roars across England like a steam locomotive. Cotton mills and factories rake in profits thanks to cheap labor. Not from illicit African slave trade-but by enslaving little children.When young Harry is lured from home with a penny, he can hardly believe his luck. Now he can help his widowed mother put food on the table. But Harry doesn't return home. Just another victim from the slums. Until Peter Frobisher takes on the case.Frobisher has his own dark past. He's a 'thief taker,' a bounty hunter of sorts. He tracks down criminals for a living, so finding a child should be easy. But the more Frobisher unravels, the more sinister the reality becomes. The trail leads Frobisher away from the city, onto the English canal network, and beyond to Derbyshire.


2.0 Stars2.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Poor Historical Background

Young Harry is keen to earn a penny to help his Mother. In 1810 at the start of the industrial revolution every penny counted for the slum families. However Harry goes missing.  Thieftaker Peter Frobisher is called in to search for the child and his trail takes him to the Derbyshire mill towns.

I love historical novels. I love to feel, smell and imagine the historical setting. To understand the grinding poverty and filth and the class divide. I love my historical novels to come alive and create this three dimensional picture which forms the background for the story. Unfortunately I never saw this come alive. I never felt that the background was real and often saw the story being portrayed against a blank backdrop. A skilled author can bring a world alive with just a few words. This author used quite a few more than that and didn't succeed. To live a historical novel in the way I am describing try a Karen Maitland book and you'll see just how far away this book is from a really good historical novel.

The story itself was slow. Some of the chapters are from the point of view of 5 year old Harry. It is never easy to write chapters from a child's perspective and I didn't feel that these quite worked. There is no mystery as to who has taken Harry as we know that from early on. There is just the chase - which isn't very fast, active or interesting. Some of it is quite unbelievable - three men (one older)  fighting off a gang from the darkest slums and walking away with barely a scratch? A benefactor paying for Frobisher and all the expenses - well, it is obvious why this happens but how likely is it?

I didn't feel that this was a particularly well written book. The description is poor and the language quite clunky and stilted in places.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.

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