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The Bastard Boy

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  34 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Ned Gudgeon wakes to find himself in a cell. He has no idea where he is or how he came to be there, but - seeing pen and paper - he begins to write. What follows is Ned's remarkable story, the story of his quest for his missing nephew, taking him from the corrupt and teeming slaving port of Bristol to the turmoil of the colonies on the brink of revolution. What is the trut ...more
Published April 7th 2005 by Faber Faber
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(showing 1-30)
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Nick Thomas
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I live in Bristol - so I read the early sections of this book set in the heart of the 18th century port city with a critical eye. And I have to report that I was completely won over. The quest that launches and sustains the whole narrative is underpinned by the most wonderful sense of life and attitudes on the eve of the war with the American colonies. I read this when it first came out, and subsequent readings of accounts of 18th century elections & the Bristol mob have only confirmed the v ...more
Judith Yeabsley
Mar 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Not normally a fan of historical fiction I became engrossed in this book as it was primarily character based. The historical context was beautifully woven into the story and it was a great depiction of the US at the time of the Boston Tea Party. Although the lead character was terminally frustrating through the course of the book one develops more and more respect and affection for him. Some good twists in the plot and a brutal social comment of the times and the British class system.
Julia Wherlock
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An exceptional read. Maybe I'm biase because it all starts in Bristol, but this was rivetting stuff. Bristol and Native Americans. I'm in heaven!
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wilson's first rate novel plays intriguingly on that key novelistic and literary question: who is actually writing? This sets it far apart from standard historical fiction and takes us back to the origins of the novel as a form. Everything follows from here: the move to Bristol and the journey to a recently colonised and war-torn America. A vivid powerful, very intelligent and unusual book that casts new light both on its subject matter and on the business of writing fiction.
Feb 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
I picked up this book because it had such an unusual setting. But I found that it wasn't as good as I thought it would be. The story wanders around for a while, and I found the conclusion a bit lacking. I found I was reading it just to see what happened in the hope that it'd get better. It didn't.
Which is a pity could have been great!
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, fiction
A man locked up in a room with nothing to do, but tell his story. He eventually realises that telling his story may be his ticket out and earnestly gives details of his adventures. Eager to find out exactly who was reading his memoirs and if they freed him, or not, I found myself rushing at the end to see how the loose ends are twisted and tied.
Oriana Wilmott
Mar 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved this, a really cracking read which drives you along with it, but is also full of humanity and wisdom. The key character is a wonderful mixture of foolishness and warmth.
Jane Wilson-Howarth
Jan 03, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-abandoned
I started this but the author didn't interest me in the period of history and I found I didn't care enough about the characters to finish the book.
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Max Löhlein
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Mar 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Not great but a really good read
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JAMES WILSON was born and brought up near Cambridge, and studied History at Oxford University. He now divides his time between London and France.

In 1975 James received a Ford Foundation grant to research and write The Original Americans: US Indians, for the Minority Rights in London. Over the next twenty-five years he travelled widely in the US and Canada, working on – among other projects – a num
More about James Wilson...

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