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The Cuckoos of Batch Magna (The Batch Magna Novels) [Kindle Edition]

Peter Maughan
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Cuckoos of Batch Magna

The First Novel In The Batch Magna Story By Award-Winning Author Peter Maughan.

“His work should be required reading in every high school to introduce them to the finest in lyrical writing … He sees with an inner eye what we cannot, and points it out with such delight ... His work is filled with his great compassion and tolerance for all life around him. ... If you want to give your children’s teachers a gift, a gift to pass on, give them one of Peter Maughan’s books.” Henrietta Lala.

Amazon Reviewers:

"Peter Maughan, a man for all seasons, a man whose works will endear him to the ages. All his writings are classics and have earned a place in world-wide libraries. They will never be old or outdated ... just enjoyed and very loved ... every word ... every nuance. Peter Maughan is a gift you give yourself and a gift for those you love."Joymarie, USA.

"I want to go round beating a big bass drum and pointing out to the world that a great writer for the ages had appeared among us ... The Cuckoos of Batch Magna is destined to become an English classic for many, many generations of readers. ..." Henrietta Lala, (USA).

"THE CUCKOOS OF BATCH MAGNA by Peter Maughan is going to become one of the most beloved books of the decade. ... I guarantee that once you have visited BATCH MAGNA you will never want to leave.This is a story that will restore your weary soul." Jenny Willis, Virginia, US.

"...You will never forget how it made you feel." Mark V Williams, USA

"A masterpiece that is breathtaking in its scope ..." Orian J. Harman, US.

"Absolutely Beautiful and Delightful Story." NancyofUtah.

"The use of language is beautiful beyond anything I've read in a very long time."
J G Hughes, USA.

"...words flow like the River Cluny, languid and deep, sparkling with insight."
Ellis Vidler, (USA).

"... a small literary masterpiece ... It was easy to become mesmerized by this beautifully descriptive novel. It is truly a book to be savored. A work of art ... " R. Nicholson, CA, Vine Voice, Top 1000 Reviewer.

"Literary perfection.... I've not encountered another writer who uses such beautiful wording ... I highly recommend it & hand it a 5 of 5 stars rating for spellbinding descriptions, marvelous plot, & originality." Liz Terek, United States.

" ... so enchantingly and poetically told that the prose sings like the owls, larks, and rooks (and cuckoos)." Leila Smith for Kindle Review.

"Such beautiful poetry wrapped in the soft cashmere prose of a terrific story-teller of an author... You should even read this to infants because the cadence and beauty of the words are good entries into the world of literature ... It will go into the history of literature as one of the classics. Give yourself a gift and read THE CUCKOOS OF BATCH MAGNA." Joymarie.


When Sir Humphrey Strange, 8th baronet and squire of Batch Magna departs this world for the Upper House (as he vaguely thought of it, where God no doubt presides in ermine over a Heaven as reassuringly familiar as White’s or Boodle’s), what’s left of his estate passes, through the ancient law of entailment, to distant relative Humph, an amiable, overweight short-order cook from the Bronx.

Sir Humphrey Franklin T Strange, 9th baronet and squire of Batch Magna, as Humph now most remarkably finds himself to be, is persuaded by his Uncle Frank, a small time Wall Street broker, to make a killing by turning the sleepy backwater into a theme-park image of rural England, a playground for the world's rich.

But while the village pub and shop put out the Stars and Stripes in welcome, the tenants of the estate’s dilapidated houseboats tear up their notices to quit, and led by randy pulp-crime writer Phineas Cook and the one-eyed Lt-Commander James Cunningham, they run up the Union Jack and prepare to engage.

Product Details

  • File Size: 891 KB
  • Print Length: 308 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: The Cluny Press; 1 edition (January 16, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,694 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want the sequel and I want it now! January 8, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Cuckoos of Batch Magna is a a lovely, meandering little tale. It is chock full of luscious descriptive language and fun character sketches. While I never laughed out loud, I often found myself smirking at a turn of phrase or a character description. It was just, quite simply, fun.

The book has conflict, as all good books should, but it is a gentle conflict and you know that it absolutely must come right in the end somehow. How could it not when the new Squire (who just wants to be liked, after all) and the eccentric tenants he is intent on evicting are so made for each other? This novel certainly describes an old-fashioned rural Britain that doesn't exist anymore. But it should. It really should.

The book blurb says that fans of MC Beaton will enjoy this book, but the only thing I can see in common with MC Beaton's stories is setting. By my reckoning, Mr. Maughan's writing style has more in common with Kingsley Amis than MC Beaton. Don't get me wrong here -- I am an MC Beaton fan and am currently reading my way through the full Hamish McBeth series again. But I read MC Beaton for twenty or so minutes a night before I turn out the light and go to sleep. The Beaton books are formulaic and have no particular subtlety or beauty of language, so it's easy to read a chapter or two when sleepy and pick the book up again later. Not so with The Cuckoos of Batch Magna. You'll miss all the best stuff if you read this one when less than awake.

I have one criticism, which is primarily for the Grammar Nazis (myself among them, sadly). Because of this, I considered giving the book a 4 star rating instead of a 5, but I enjoyed the book so much in the end that it got the 5 stars after all.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming rural comedy December 3, 2012
By Sabina
Format:Kindle Edition
Amazon recommended this to me, possibly as a consequence of reading some of Alan Titchmarsh's books, and I have to say I found the Cuckoos of Batch Magna to be brilliantly funny and utterly evocative of rural life. I certainly enjoyed watching the drama play out. I see that the author is a script writer and I have to say I think this would work really well as a TV series! A charming rural comedy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
"The Cuckoos of Batch Magna" is a novel by author Peter Maughan. This Kindle e-book was a 519 Kb download (approx. 287 printed pages) and sold for $4.45 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: the author provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

General theme Spoilers

General Sir Humphrey Strange, the elderly Baronet of Batch Valley, (near the marshy border between Wales and England) has just past away from natural causes. Due to some ancient British inheritance laws that deal with the lines of descent, the estate must pass to a male. The problem is, the nearest male relative is a grand nephew... a young American, raised and bred, and living of course in North America.
The quiet, rural life of the denizens of Batch Magna, a little village that has remained virtually fixed in time for generations (although it seems like millenniums), is about to undergo some unfathomable changes.

End Spoilers

Some thoughts on "The Cuckoos of Batch Magna"...

1.) well written with a style of story telling complimentary to rural England in the mid 70s.

2.) this is not an action novel by any means, but the story is kept moving along with a near perfect sense of pace and timing.

3.) humor... not only in some of the events that occur but also from the cockney inflection of the 'local' dialect spoken by many of the novel's characters during their bantering conversations.

4.) several different important characters come to the fore in this work, all nicely developed as the tale unfolds.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed June 9, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book because it was so well reviewed. The first 30-40% of the book was very boring for me. Maybe others liked the beginning because it was filled with literary gems such as "Miss Wyndham glanced across at Tom Parr, who was lifting his glass, sunlight moving in it." and "And Jasmine singing again. Her voice beating above it all, the clear, high notes of 'Wild Mountain Thyme' souring like a released bird into the summer air." The simple plot picked up a little in the second half of the book. The whole book reminded me of helter-skelter British comedy film filled with daft characters. The best thing I can say for it is that I finished it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of leisurely perfect prose! April 10, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Cuckoos of Batch Magna by Peter Maughan
A review by Ginger Dawn Harman

A masterpiece that is breathtaking in its scope, The Cuckoos of Batch Magna is a larger-than-life novel that vividly conjures the tempestuous course of rural Welch/English village life. The novel begins with acknowledgment in the death of Sir Humphrey Miles Pinkerton. This rich tapestry weaves a compelling story of Owain, Annie, Phineas, The Commander, and Jasmine Roberts whom reside on several house boats on the River Medway, in rural Kent. Sir Humphrey Franklin T Strange, 9th baronet and squire of Batch Magna, (known as Hump) is elated with his unexpected inheritance decides to make a huge profit by changing the backwater of Batch Magna into a theme park image of rural England.

Peter Maughan's leisurely prose perfectly captures the everyday quality of the setting. This is not a modern explosive or dynamic story but tranquil with much wit that surrounds a colorful cast of characters. I was completely dazzled with the story line and could not put the book down. My favorite scene was the author's description of "a tawny owl called between silences, the cries drifting raggedly across to them from Mawr Wood, The light of a battered looking full moon shone like blue frost on the slate of the village under trees and the fat summer hedgerows piled soft and as black as soot." Cleverly crafted and rich with imagery the reader will become enchanted and hooked immediately.

Peter Maughan could not have a clearer symbolic role for the novels critique of society: with the invasion of outside influence attached with commerce, combining the picturesque small village community with use of cutting satire.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cuckoos of Batch Magna
I loved this book for the wonderful characters, their attitude to life and descriptions of the English country side. An easy read.
Published 1 month ago by jenny parry
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky
Fun, light read full of quirky characters, set in English backwater. Unlikely people coming together as friends, in an unlikely place.
Published 3 months ago by Laurie
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Entertaining
“The Cuckoos of Batch Magna” is an entertaining story about a small group of people who come together for a common cause. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Florence Osmund
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
I liked the book it was fun to read and the story line was great. I am just more into fantasy books right now like vampires, werewolves, shiftshapers, mystical, and books like J. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Rosebud
4.0 out of 5 stars The force of the river
The concept is intriguing- a group of Chaucerian type characters living in their old houseboats--refurbished paddle boats-- on the fictitious Cluny River, a rural setting on the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by danceforth books
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
I absolutely loved this book, Peter Maughan really brought his characters alive so much so that I found myself reading with a Welsh accent, it had all the elements of emotions... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Agnes Gant
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely Slice of Life
When I first started this book I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought it started slow; but soon I realized that I was being given a look into the daily lives of the tenants of... Read more
Published 6 months ago by vegas92
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful mess
This book just draws one in. Into a fairy tale of community and hope. What a great escape. I want to move this minute!
Published 6 months ago by Misty R.
5.0 out of 5 stars a passport to a memorable place
A novel rarely touches me the way this one did. I became very empathic with the well-written characters. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Anah
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful world of unforgettable characters
To enter the world of Batch Magna is to lose oneself in a parallel universe where most people are fundamentally decent and kind, despite being as kooky and crazy as coots. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Dolphin
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More About the Author

I am an ex-actor, fringe theatre director and script writer, married and living in the Welsh Marches, the borderland between England and Wales, and the backdrop to the Batch Magna novels, set in a village cut off from whatever the rest of the world gets up to beyond the hills of its valley.

The Cuckoos of Batch Magna, now a Kindle edition under The Cluny Press imprint, is the first in the series (its sequel, Sir Humphrey of Batch Hall, is already released with a third book finished and waiting its turn), a novel recollected in tranquillity - or any rate in late middle age.

It was born out of nostalgia, of an idyllic time in the mid 1970s spent heedlessly, gloriously free living in a small colony of houseboats, a bohemian outpost in a village on the River Medway in deepest rural Kent. The summers of that time when life was moved outside - particularly in the long, torrid one of '76, when it seemed summer was all there was, summer and youth and the river. Boating or swimming in it, or coming together for another jolly on one of the moorings, for weekend lunches that ended up in the evening, and the parties that saw in yet another summer dawn. And the winters when the lamps were lit and the smell of log fires in the air, snug around the stove below when there was rain on the deck, or the owls in the wood across the river calling in the frosty dark.

I carried those memories of place and people around with me for years, until we moved to the Welsh Marches and I found a home for them in a river valley there, in a place I called Batch Magna.

The houseboats from those days on the Medway were converted Thames sailing barges; for my houseboats, on Batch Magna's river the Cluny, I used converted paddle steamers (once part of an equally fictional Victorian trading company, the Cluny Steamboat Company) because they too speak of fun and another time. And it seemed entirely right somehow that they should have ended up in quite dotty, amiable decline in Batch Magna.

For the fourth novel (a work in progress) in the series, Man Overboard(which opens with one of the houseboats now turned back into a working paddler), I am heavily indebted to a real-life paddle steamer skipper, Captain John Megoran, master of the PS Kingswear, the last coal-fired paddle steamer in Britain, for unstinting help with technical details. John's vessel, after her years plying the Medway, is now back in the home waters of the River Dart in Devon.

In Man Overboard, my paddle steamer, the PS Batch Castle, chugging up to Shrewsbury and back, plies the home waters of the River Cluny, carrying passengers and goods, and deck cargoes of livestock from the fields on market days, and crates of chickens, geese and Christmas turkeys, and fun - and most of all, fun.

The Batch Magna novels are feel-good books (The Wind in the Willows for grown-ups, as a couple of Amazon reviewers have described Cuckoos), pure escapism - for me now, looking back, and I hope for my readers.
Peter Maughan

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Discover 'Batch Magna' Series!
I found *The Cuckoos of Batch Magna* to be one of the finest books I'd ever read, and I'm 75 in November with a lifetime of reading behind that statement. I also realized it is going to be one of those marvelous English classics that slowly and quietly obtains a life of its own at its own speed;... Read More
Aug 21, 2013 by Henrietta Lala |  See all 12 posts
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