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Ancient Castle Paperback – July 1, 1991
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About the Author
Robert Graves (1895-1985) is the author of many books, including Goodbye To All That and I, Claudius. He was one of the most distingushed World War I poets and a world famous novelist. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Approximately 40 years later, the manuscript surfaced again as a part of a collection of manuscripts and papers offered for sale by the author. They were purchased by a rare book dealer who offered the manuscript of “An Ancient Castle” to the University of Vancouver in British Columbia.
The book’s five chapters focus over their 66 pages upon the modern ruin of Lambuck Castle on the old Welsh-English frontier, its keeper and former soldier Sergeant Harrington, his young son Giles. Prominent supporting roles as the antagonists to our heroes go to Sir Anderson Wigg (jam magnate of the Great War) and his chauffer Mr. Slark (also a Great War veteran who spent most of his service behind the wheel of a staff car). Featured players include the Lord Lieutenant and his Deputy (responsible for overseeing the castle ruin among other duties) and Giles’ best friend and playmate, a younger girl named Bronwen.
The story is laced with Graves’ thoughts about his experiences of the Great War and his antipathy for war in general. The history of the castle as given also expands on the wars between the Welsh and the English centuries ago. While there is what might be called villainy afoot, it is a rather tame sort by the standards of our sadder modern times and it is rather easily dealt with by our heroes with the support of their friends and their experiences are capped by a surprising discovery.
As a children’s story, “An Ancient Castle” fits comfortably alongside other English children’s stories of the period whose intended audience would have been boys around age 12 or “the more adventurous girls” of about the same age as they might have put it in the period. Today that probably means that it is suitable for children of 9 or 10 or as a read to book for younger children. The sometimes amusing illustrations, by the author’s niece Elizabeth Graves, are likewise very much in the style of the period. I’m putting my copy in the stack of books I’ll be reading aloud someday!