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The Black Riders
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The Black Riders

4.58 of 5 stars 4.58  ·  rating details  ·  24 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Published 2005 by Girls Gone By (first published 1939)
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There is something magical about Violet Needham's writing. Ever since I was a child, she has been effortlessly transporting me to mysterious lands filled with brave, noble characters who will sacrifice everything in the fight for what is right and just.

The Black Riders is probably one of my favourite books of all time. The hero, Dick, is so noble and brave despite his young age and Far Away Moses won my heart round about the same time he won Dick's. Every time I read this book (which has been ma
My first Violet Needham book, and still my favourite, with its exciting tale of Richard Fauconbois alias the Stormy Petrel aiding revolutionaries in a fictitious central European country. Orphan Dick is the central character with his steady grey eyes, his loyalty, his fortitude and his steadfast refusal to betray his friends; but it is his relationships with father-figures Count St Sylvain and the intimidating Jasper, Governor of the Citadel, which are the real heart of the book.
Jennifer Kloester
Who can ever forget the characters in this book? Count Jasper and Far-Away Moses and the boy protagonist, Dick Fauconbois, better known as the Stormy Petrel? Perhaps the best of Violet Needhams books for children, it's a great adventure story with layers of deeper meaning. A definite keeper!
Re-read after forty years or so and enjoyed all over again, although perhaps not quite as much as when I was ten... The characters (Dick the Stormy Petrel, Far Away Moses, Wych Hazel, Jasper the Terrible et al) had really stuck in my mind however and it was fun to revisit them. Vastly adventuresome, and I remember clearly how the tension of the Confederation characters being undercover and always in danger of discovery made the book so hard to put down at the time. I bought the Girls Gone By edi ...more
The hero of this book is 11-year-old Dick, an orphan in an unnamed empire, presumably somewhere in central Europe in the early part of the 20th century. He befriends a mysterious man who is part of a political uprising against the current governor, and finds himself caught up in an underground resistance movement where he passes on messages, walks many miles, risking his life, and stays strong to some important promises.

It's not really my kind of book, but it's one my mother loved as a child an
May 27, 2014 Heather rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: ggb
This is a very unusual book. I've read extensively many Children's Adventures stories but never have I read one like this.

I'd not heard of Violet Needham but thanks to GGB I got to read this fascinating, unusual story.
I hadn't read this book in over twenty years. I remembered loving it and wondered if I was just thinking fondly on an old favourite.

I found this used copy online and bought it.

It is as thoroughly enjoyable as I remembered!
I happen to have a copy of this analysis of Needham's work:

which I don't need any more. If anybody would like it, please leave a comment.
Jun 28, 2007 tinlondon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: rereads, childrens
Still one of my all-time favorite books. I reread this a couple of times a year.
Birgit De
One of my favorites as a child. The password is Fortitude.
Steffen Schlachter
Steffen Schlachter marked it as to-read
Nov 09, 2014
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Author of 19 books for children published between 1939 and 1957. Although she came to writing late — she was 63 when her first book, The Black Riders, was published — her books achieved immediate and lasting popularity with young reader
More about Violet Needham...
The Woods of Windri The House of the Paladin The Emerald Crown Stormy Petrel The Changeling of Monte Lucio (Evergreen Library)

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