Wulf the Saxon, A Story of the Norman Conquest – GA Henty

It is a long time since I read any GA Henty. He’s a Victorian adventure storyteller for boys. His tales are usually based around an important historical event. The first I read was Through Russian Snows which is about Napoleon’s Russian adventure through the eyes of Englishmen who somehow get tied up in events. It was my only source of Napoleon’s retreat, and remains so.

Wulf is based around the events around the Norman Conquest. Starting a few years before during the reign of Edward the Confessor, running through Harold’s captivity in Normandy and the oath William forces Harold to take, Stamford Bridge, building up to the Battle of Hastings. There are sections which are obviously fiction but they add to the story. The hero always comes good and in the end wins the girl.

Again this is Boy’s Own Paper work. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. How accurate it is historically I am not sure but it seems to have covered all the key events so far. It is very well written, a good pace with good action, and despite being written for boys it still reads well for an adult. Maybe the Victorians were better read, but it doesn’t patronise by using a restricted vocabulary. It would be a good read for children of today, if they could read to that standard.

I do moan about the standard of modern writing, but it would be worth the writers of Harry Potter and that ilk, reading GA Henty and discovering just what is lacking in the plotting and writing of their own work.

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