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The Spire Chronicle by [Anonymous]
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The Spire Chronicle Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 238 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product Details

  • File Size: 646 KB
  • Print Length: 238 pages
  • Publication Date: March 29, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0050KTLY6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #884,137 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

By ZS on April 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Charles Dickens and Blackadder mixed in the wittiest of ways, that was my main impression as I flew through the pages of this engaging novel, taken to the 19th century English countryside, into a lovely town, transferred to their way of thinking and talking, their ways of making their living and entertain themselves.
Ralph Chatterforth's life is not a boring affair, to say the least. From the childhood and the strict discipline of Victorian boys' school to the manhood and later years, he is going with the flow, because this might be the easiest way for him to proceed, as it seems. It is convenient, so he stands for no special principles, pursuing no special goals. Instead his friends, like Thomas (a characters I admit to truly like, whether because of him being this sort of a bad boy, or dispite of it) are taking the lead of Ralph's life, carrying him into all sorts of interesting, not always for the best, situations.
I found the adventures and tribulations of Ralph Chatterforth highly entertaining, while allowing me a clear look into Victorian England and its various social levels. The ring of the story was so true, the language so authentic and yet not difficult to understand at all, their dialog and the way of thinking different but entertaining even more so because of it.
Historical novel in its best! Highly recommended
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Format: Kindle Edition
The Spire Chronicle is an extraordinarily vivid and interesting foray into Victorian Salisbury. The anonymous narrator recalls the life of Ralph Chatterforth in Ralph's own words, tracing his early life and the relationships, marriages, trials and tribulations of himself and his three closest friends, whom he met at school. One of these school friends, Thomas, a distinctly bad influence, remains his best friend throughout his life. The Victorian atmosphere, names and places evoke another, less fast-paced world of horses and carriages and rigidly controlled behaviour, where constraint of feelings, emotions and ambition are ever present, but human desires, hatreds and loves are just as they've always been.

I was expecting a tale of hedonistic selfishness, an unpleasant hero who rode roughshod over others, but I was pleasantly surprised. Although Ralph does terrible things, in fact absolutely appalling things (I won't spoil the book by listing them), he remains a likeable man, in fact someone forced by bad luck, force of circumstance and weakness of will into all his acts of vice. So don't expect some awful selfish rapacious character: Ralph does his best to help his friends, both male and female, and any acts of savagery are not rooted in wickedness.

It's very witty tale, with humour on every page, however there's a thread of sadness too, and you feel that poor Ralph is doomed by fate. Yet I can reveal there's a happy ending, and the reader can be genuinely delighted that this is the case. Ralph is a hero who does his best to be a good man, yet ends up acting dreadfully almost by mistake. Fate deals him blow after blow and he tries his best to survive.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I enjoyed this book but it didn't quite hit the peaks for me. I appreciated several sly references - namely the introduction by 'Anonymous' which reminded me of George Macdonald Fraser's novels about Flashman. And I enjoyed the style of writing. It put me in mind of the serial stories I used to read in Victorian journals (magazines) as a child - not quite 'penny-dreadfuls', but morality tales. Essentially, Ralph Chatterforth's is a morality tale of a weak man led astray by stronger but less scrupulous friends. The fact that he is aware of his own weak character redeems him, even while the reader sighs over his folly. We do go along with his misadventures, however, and there is humour in the telling - but not quite enough, and not black enough, for me. His friends, though well described when we meet them, tend to blur later in the story. I would have preferred to see them more well-rounded, more identifiable and not just by name. Similarly Ralph's ghastly wife, Dorothea - she wasn't quite real for me, I couldn't understand what attracted her to Ralph in the first place - although I did believe that she overwhelmed him. It was just that she remained 2 dimensional, like his friends. The criminals, curiously, were more believable in a Dickensian way - although the child-stealing episode left me unconvinced, simply because there was so little leading up to it. To summarise, The Spire Chronicle was a romp through events - and I wish that it had been a little slower, with more space allowed for tension to build - that would have made the events more dramatic and believable.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Told in a style one rarely comes across in the modern era, when authors could embellish their stories on a broad canvass. It has been compared with the works of Dickens and that is an accurate assessment, yet it also reminded me of the style of another talented British author who is sadly out of print these days, namely; Howard Spring.

The story is told by Ralph Chatterforth and begins when he is a child and takes us through the key period of his life, well into adulthood. We meet the many peculiar people that make this such a fascinating read and as with all good books, care deeply about many of the fine characters on show.

A delight and a thoroughly entertaining read, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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