My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Just arrived from USA through BM.
This is at heart a very simple story, one that begins in 1890 and its centered on Ludar Prentice. Orphaned (and his parentage very much a mystery to the reader), his wicked aunt sends him to his father in Canada without any money and a note sewn onto his back telling all and sundry where he’s to be delivered to. Ludar survives the long journey via ship and rail only to find an unhappy surprise waiting for him in Balfour because his father is dead.
Even if this book was written in 1950, it looks like as a perfect work of the 19th century fiction. Costain wrote another masterpiece quite different from his historical novels but still with quite captivating, touching and unforgettable characters.
The title of this book is based on Kipling’s poem “The Absent-Minded Beggar”:
WHEN you’ve shouted “Rule Britannia,” when you’ve sung “God save the Queen,”
When you’ve finished killing Kruger with your mouth,
Will you kindly drop a shilling in my little tambourine
For a gentleman in khaki ordered South?
He’s an absent-minded beggar, and his weaknesses are great—
But we and Paul must take him as we find him—
He is out on active service, wiping something off a slate
And he’s left a lot of little things behind him!
Duke’s son—cook’s son – son of a hundred kings
(Fifty thousand horse and foot going to Table Bay!)
Each of ’em doing his country’s work
(and who’s to look after their things?)
Pass the hat for your credit’s sake,
and pay—pay—pay !
Thanks to my friend Misfit to recommend this book to me, I really appreciate this fabulous reading.
4* The Three Edwards
4* The Conquering Family
2* The Black Rose
4* Ride with Me
4* Son of a Hundred Kings
TR The Magnificent Century
TR The Last Plantagenets
TR The Tontine
TR The Darkness and the Dawn
TR The Silver Chalice
TR The Last Love