Jason Koivu's Reviews > In the Reign of Terror: The Adventures of a Westminster Boy

In the Reign of Terror by G.A. Henty
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Recommended for: historical fiction fans

The bloody guillotine...The slaughter of fatted nobles...The bloodlust massacre of innocents. G.A. Henty gives us the sour taste of these images from the French Revolution in his adventure story, In the Reign of Terror.

The tale follows Harry Sandwith, an English youth on the cusp of adulthood, as he tries to find a place in life for himself in France in the late 18th century. While there, the rumors of populous unrest explodes into the most unimaginable of horrors. Henty places his hero in the very center of history, even rubbing elbows with Revolutionary icons such as Robespierre. Where the politics of the times are concerned, the novel takes a decidedly antagonistic view of the Revolution. The plight of the people is not ignored, however, the acts of violence against the noble class are to be abhorred, if the novel's tone is the measuring stick to go by.

Adventure novels rely upon action to draw in the readers. Here the action comes in spurts and leaves much to be desired. Modern readers, accustomed to the pulse-racing nonstop action of today's highly-polished books and movies, may be frustrated by Henty's style. Too many static scenes drag on, too many words are wasted in describing plans instead of just enacting them, and too many insignificant actions are pondered upon. Once I even scared myself into thinking I'd accidentally started reading a James Fenimore Cooper!

The dialogue has issues too. A good deal of almost absurdly detailed exposition is delivered via dialogue, stilting it unnaturally. Emotional and psychological character transformations come at the flip of a switch: I see you are right and I am wrong. I will adjust my values. There, I have adjusted my values.

But before I finish, I don't want you to walk away from this review thinking poorly of this book. No, I actually enjoyed it for the most part, and if you can forgive the writing style, this less than perfect novel can be a fun read.
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Reading Progress

January 26, 2014 – Started Reading
January 26, 2014 – Shelved
January 30, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

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message 1: by Dan (new)

Dan Schwent No, I actually enjoyed it for the most part, and if you can forgive the writing style, this less than prefect novel can be a fun read.

Nobody's prefect.


Jason Koivu Dan wrote: "No, I actually enjoyed it for the most part, and if you can forgive the writing style, this less than prefect novel can be a fun read.

Nobody's prefect."


Goddamn it, I hate when I do that. Thanks for the catch.


message 3: by Dan (new)

Dan Schwent I thought you intentionally did it to emphasize the imperfection of the novel.


message 4: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus It was first published in 1888, yeah I'd expect to need to forgive a lot of stuff.


message 5: by Jason (last edited Jan 30, 2014 11:00AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jason Koivu Dan wrote: "I thought you intentionally did it to emphasize the imperfection of the novel."

Occasionally I've done that, like "I ain't no genuis!", but it's usually more telegraphed like that for a wider reading audience. My problem with imperfect spellings like the above is that I'm often doing these reviews first thing after I wake up and the coffee hasn't quite kicked in. I once had to give a second thought as to whether the i came before or after the t in "it". I may have still been asleep that day.


Jason Koivu Richard Reviles Censorship wrote: "It was first published in 1888, yeah I'd expect to need to forgive a lot of stuff."

I was going to point the publishing date out, but then I thought, hell, if other writers of the time and prior could create readable work that stands the test of time, why should I give this one a free pass?


message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Jason wrote: "...I thought, hell, if other writers of the time and prior could create readable work that stands the test of time, why should I give this one a free pass?"

PRECISELY how I feel about Chuckles the Dick vs Trollope, Eliot...


Jason Koivu Trollope's a good 'un?


message 9: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus The Chronicles of Barsetshire, my son. Go forth and edjumikate your little bald self.


Jason Koivu Richard Reviles Censorship wrote: "The Chronicles of Barsetshire, my son. Go forth and edjumikate your little bald self."

I'm off to the "good" library this weekend, so I'll see what I sees, I can't sees no more!


message 11: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus The Warden is the first one, but I'd start with any old on set in Barsetshire. And they're all free on your Kindle.


Jason Koivu Richard Reviles Censorship wrote: "The Warden is the first one, but I'd start with any old on set in Barsetshire. And they're all free on your Kindle."

You don't say...


message 13: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus And yet behold! I do say, and lo have even now said.

The Warden

Barchester Towers

Doctor Thorne

Framley Parsonage which contains my very very favorite Trollope quote, "One can only pour out of a jug that which was in it."

The Small House at Allington

AND The Last Chronicle of Barset which, in point of fact, it isn't, since Mother Angela Thirkell wrote another 25 or so novels set in Barsetshire.

But that is a tale for another day.


Jason Koivu Richard Reviles Censorship wrote: "And yet behold! I do say, and lo have even now said.

The Warden

Barchester Towers

Doctor Thorne

Framley Parsonage which contains my very very favorite Trollope quote, "One can only pour out of ..."


Hey hey, look at you with all the leg work! Thank you, sir!


message 15: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus I live to serve.


Jason Koivu Richard Reviles Censorship wrote: "I live to serve."

All right, now I'm certain your account has been hacked.


message 17: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Jason wrote: "Richard Reviles Censorship wrote: "I live to serve."

All right, now I'm certain your account has been hacked."


I'm in a good mood. Sexting a guy in Pakistan who needs all the dirty words defined makes me chipper.


Jason Koivu Richard Reviles Censorship wrote: "Jason wrote: "Richard Reviles Censorship wrote: "I live to serve."

All right, now I'm certain your account has been hacked."

I'm in a good mood. Sexting a guy in Pakistan who needs all the dirty ..."


LOL!


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