Historical Fiction e-books
LOST JOHN by Barbara Leonie Picard
‘Lost John’—it was Sir Ralf who first gave him the nickname; he had said it in jest but it was true enough: he was John—John FitzWilliam, age fourteen, of East Holden in Berkshire—and he was lost—lost in the Forest of Arden, a prisoner in the stronghold of a band of robbers and outlaws, led by the notorious Sir Ralf the Red. John would never forget the day. He had run away from his stepfather, home he hated, in search of Sir Raoul de Farrars, the man who four years ago killed his father. Traveling northwards, hungry and alone, towards Warwick, he lost his way among the forest paths and fell into the rough hands of two of Sir calf’s men. This was the beginning of an adventure which would change the whole course of John’s life. He would never have believed, that first night in the stronghold, what vital part the proud, ruthless Sir Ralf and his son were to play in his future, nor how soon he was to come face to face with his father’s murderer.
Starred Review: A fine author who has proven her skill as a writer before (Tales of The British People, The Lady of the Linden Tree, and others) has created a rugged exciting adventure story about the forest-dwelling bandits of the middle ages. John FitzWilliam, fourteen and alone, sets out to avenge his father's death (his father had been killed by Raoul de Farrar, an outlaw). He is captured by some men in the forest, and is brought before their liege to be sentenced. The old lord, Sir Ralf, who had had a prissy son, takes a liking to “Lost John”, and lets the lad stay on with him. An incredible friendship develops between the two, and is only threatened when John chances to learn from Ralf's son that Ralf is Raoul de Farrar, his father's murderer. Given the chance, John is incapable of killing his friend. Character development is intricate and carefully done for minor as well as major personages. The author demonstrates that she has a sense of the Middle Ages; she makes good use of background and atmosphere throughout. This could well stand as an excellent example of worthwhile historical fiction; the author deserves high praise for a beautifully executed story. KIRKUS REVIEW