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The Boy Who Led Them Kindle Edition
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"A Criminal Magic" by Lee Kelly
THE NIGHT CIRCUS meets THE PEAKY BLINDERS in Lee Kelly's new magical realism, crossover novel and casts a spell of magic, high stakes and intrigue against the backdrop of a very different Roaring Twenties. Learn more
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Top Customer Reviews
Though the main hero is supposed to be Stanley who's bullied at school for being raised by a single mother and living under poverty, the main center of attraction in story is rather the notorious smuggler Jacob Swift.
Up on a weekend morning as the sun raises and lays it's golden rays on the innocent and smearing face of Stanley, he stumbles on a decision of whether to attend his school the next day and face the absolute turmoil.He jumps on his bicycle and rides straight to the beach to clear his thoughts. Strolling around the water and wandering mindlessly, he finds a bottle with an enclosed message of over 200 years old, non other than of the notorious smuggler "Jacob Swift".
Curious as never before, after glancing through the mysterious message which reads of some hidden treasure, Stanley heads out towards a local maritime museum having a very old existence and deep connection with History.
There he meets Reg Cooper, the old docent(The narrator of the entire story).
Immediately the story kicks in with the narration by Reg Cooper, the old docent and the only one to know the actual True history of Jacob Swift.
Reg, having all the time in universe, briefly narrates the entire story right from the uprising of Jacob Swift as a fisherman's son being expelled from school to being employed by the King of smugglers "Billy Bates". Yielding some similar connections between Stanley and Jacob, Stanley quickly grabs on the curiosity to discover the history and to decode the mysterious message he found enclosed in the bottle.Read more ›
This book opens with Stanley, being raised by a single mom, in a cramped apartment, with little money, and being teased at school for all of it.
One morning while out at the beach to clear his thoughts, Stanley finds an old bottle, corked up with a mysterious message inside and decides to investigate at the small local maritime museum to see if he can make sense of it. At the museum, Stanley meets Reg, the old docent, who spends most of his days alone in the museum hoping the day will bring a guest. Stanley becomes interested in several pieces in the museum, and Reg begins telling Stanley the story of Jacob Swift, notorious smuggler from centuries ago.
The story Reg tells Stanley about Jacob Swift is an exciting story, but, it is relayed to the reader exactly as Reg tells it to Stanley. And, there are only a couple chapters scattered through the rest of the book where things come back to Reg and Stanley. I think the book could have benefitted from starting Swift's story as being told by Reg to Stanley, but then switching to kind of a flashback mode and allowing the rest of Swift's tale to be written in more of a present-tense.
It turns out Stanley's message in the bottle contains a clue to the location of a priceless gem, that has been lost for ages. As a docent, Reg is an expert on the lore and legend of Jacob Swift, and has spent much of his life trying to ferret out a connection between Jacob and the gem. The part of the story about Jacob Swift is definitely a swash-buckling adventure tale, and I absolutely love some of the action scenes, they're fast-paced and well-worded.Read more ›
George Chittenden wrote a story within a story, which I found was clever. The first chapter is the end of the interesting story that is being told. It certainly made me want to know what would happen next, as well as what had happened before. George delivers that in just the right way.
The characters were fun to discover and meet. I loved getting to know them, and learn their story. The story of smugglers was very well thought out, and just brilliant. The end to The Boy Who Led Them was brilliant and made me feel sad that it had ended. I can't wait to read The Boy Who Felt No Pain, the sequel!.
I don't usually read historical fiction, but I loved this one, and I even plan on buying a paperback copy. There is no doubt when I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. Keep it up George!