Published in: 1998
Age Range: Pre Teens+
Period: 19th C
Charley Bates, a young Rochford boy with no ties, is drawn by the glitter of the army to join up as a drummer boy during the Crimean War. He travels with the army through Asia to the Crimea where he witnesses the horrors of war and ends up helping Florence Nightingale.
The style is overly simplified and could be read by anyone over about 8. As a whole, the characters don't quite ring true: Charley is at once an ignorant country yokel and a smooth-talking prep school boy; the soldiers are brandy- drinking skivers and kind-hearted friends. The sentences are short and uncomplicated and explain things very patiently. It's quite readable only it lacks any real bite. Things go more or less as you might expect with only one twist which is itself not too difficult to guess.
Tuesday 1st January 2002