Charley Feather

Kate Pennington

Hodder Children’s Books


Oct 2005

Think Moll Flanders for the younger reader, but if that description puts you off, then consider this simply as an exciting story about thieves, highwaymen, gang warfare and disguise. It is 1739 and Charley Feather has just seen Dick Turpin hanged. This is a salutary experience as thirteen-year old Charley is a highwayman too, a member of a gang led by the notorious Jack Wild. When Wild is captured, Charley has to run and ends up heading for London with the suave ‘Frenchy’. He has a plan for survival which involves playing a dangerous game of trickery, and Charley is caught up in it.
This adventure story is an exciting and evocative tale of loyalty, betrayal and characters who are not what they seem. There is a real historic feel to the book, enhanced by chapter headings in the style of the mid-eighteenth century. Chapter Two for instance is subtitled: ‘In which I find a poor billet for the night, reflect on my murky past and ponder my uncertain future.’ While details like this add to the atmosphere, they do not get in the way of a fast-paced story. The many twists and turns of Charley’s fortune draw the reader on and the setting is sketched with a light, sure touch. Very convincing and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

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