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The Blanket of The Dark

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Buchan skillfully weaves the story of young clerk Peter Pentecost, who has a claim to the throne, and a tale of intrigue against King Henry VIII, where 'under the blanket of the dark all men are alike and all are nameless'. Buchan's description of the ruthless king is compelling. His knowledge of the time of Henry's reign and his love of the Oxfordshire countryside are app ...more
268 pages
Published 2008 by Polygon (first published 1931)
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3.87  · 
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 ·  63 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Linda Humberstone
What can I say about this book which reminded me of many I read as a child. I thought I would give up early but didn't as I began to appreciate the excellent way in which it was written, albeit perhaps rather 'old fashioned' for some. The descriptions of the countryside and how the common people understood it was outstanding. It also brought home how travelling from A to B and even ones very survival was dependant on that knowledge and most importantly how the state of the weather affected every ...more
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pleasantly surprised. John Buchan's historical novel is far superior to his jingoistic WW1 spy fiction. There's still plenty of action, but there's far deeper philosophy behind it.
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
Reminds me of Sir Walter Scott's writing. Wonderful story! I love it!
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Buchan, The Blanket of the Dark (1931, London) Hodder & Stoughton, publisher

Diarmaid MacCulloch tipped me off to this book, in the “Introduction” to his wonderful biography of Thomas Cromwell. Discussing how the name “Cromwell” is likely to have been pronounced in the 16th Century, Professor MacCulloch writes
" ...I think that John Buchan was correct in his haunting historical fantasy The Blanket of the Dark (which I commend to the young at heart) in styling him Crummle.”

After readin
Robert Hepple
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1931, 'The Blanket of the Dark' is a historical adventure set in Tudor times. Peter Pentecost, a clerk in a medieval abbey near Oxford, learns that he is the true heir to the throne instead of Henry VIII, and finds himself being manipulated by various factions in a bid to overthrow the monarch. The plot contains familiar elements - I was reminded of 'The Free Fishers' by the same author at times, as well Buchan's seemingly favourite theme of the fugitive. The writing style is ...more
Katrin V
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid historical Buchan set in the time of Henry viii. Story is less exciting than other Buchans because we know the fictional overthrow of Henry didn’t succeed, but the historical details are good and remarkably relevant today .
Gordon Watson
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A thoroughly enjoyable historical from the extremely talented JB.
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intense atmosphere of England in the early 16th C when the Tudor usurpers (so I say) reigned: Oxford, monasteries, gypsies, hedge-priests, chases, Severn in flood, romance, dreams of glory, and a decision about what it takes to be a king: ruthlessness and love of power. Like most of Buchan's books, I read this every ten years and always enjoy it. Witch Wood, for its love story and the introduction of Montrose, just edges Blanket as my personal favorite; John McNab brings the most joy. Having jus ...more
Lisa Blosfelds
Jul 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like historical novels
This book is OK if you like descriptions of traveling around the Oxford area and west country in the 1530s. There are some interesting descriptions of the world of vagrants and beggars of the time but the hero is a bit boring and nothing very much happens. What is good are the descriptions of Henry VIII as seen with the eyes of the common people rather than the image Henry himself wanted to present to the world. He comes over as a pragmatist and an evil genius driven to bring peace and security ...more
Carol Hislop
It started well, the story seemed promising and I like the title. However, the story became quite rambling and I lost the thread in the middle. The book is written in an old form of English which became quite tiresome. It's a pity because John Buchan is a good storyteller-this isn't one of his best books though.
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found this book heavy going. John Buchan has written some classic books which I have loved & that is probably why I read this one but there was little to endear me to this story and the main character, Peter Pentecost was such a grey man that I was grateful to bring this read to a close. Give me Richard Hannay every time!
Rog Harrison
This historical novel set in the time of Henry V111 features a young man whom certain nobles want to be the figurehead of a rebellion. The author again returns to the idea that there is a hidden England.
I must have a very low tolerance for the "derring-do in the Greenwood" genre of fiction; one of Buchan's sillier novels.
Very well written
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John Buchan (1st Baron Tweedsmuir) was a Scottish novelist and public servant who combined a successful career as an author of thrillers, historical novels, histories and biographies with a parallel career in public life. At the time of his death he was Governor-General of Canada.

Buchan was educated at Glasgow and Oxford Universities. After a brief career in law he went to South Africa in 1902 wh