G A Henty was a Victorian author who wrote a large number of historical adventure novels – tales of derring-do set in a wide range of historical situations. They’re gloriously biased and gloriously politically incorrect but, as long as they’re not taken too seriously, they’re very entertaining. Furthermore, a lot of them are available free of charge in Kindle format.
This one, as the title suggests, is set in the Netherlands (and partly in England) during the 1560s and 1570s. I really didn’t intend to read any more Black Legend stuff during the Australian Open, but I’ve got a book mountain the size of Everest and am trying to prioritise the ones on the Netherlands ahead of going to Amsterdam for Easter weekend. Our Hero, Ned Martin, is the teenage son of an English sailor and his Dutch wife. He joins the Dutch rebels, engages in all sorts of derring-do, and rises high in the favour of both William of Orange and Queen Elizabeth. The book ends at a low point (boo, hiss) for the Dutch rebels, but, hurrah, there is a sequel, in which the brave and gallant English ensure that the Dutch defeat the Spaniards (or something like that).
Verdict – G A Henty’s books aren’t for the sort of people who like their books to be politically correct – they were written in Victorian times, after all – but they’re good reads. In fact, they have been described as “ripping reads” :-).