This story gives the reader an opportunity to experience a fictionalized-historical adventure story about life and times in 14th century Europe. If you're looking for Sherlock Holmes type mystery story, this isn't it. But this book is still an interesting read. It's a bit challenging however, especially for the American reader without much experience in British customs, geography, and medieval terminology. For example, just in the first paragraph -- the first paragraph mind you! -- here's some words and phrases you'll encounter: Beaulieu, clangor and swell, peat-cutters on Blackdown and fishers upon the Exe, booming of the bittern, angelus, vespers, bouvary , marl-pits, salterns, cloisters, noontide, Battle of Bannockburn. For many you won't even find an entry in the typical college level American English dictionary; you'll have to consult the internet. But if you're up for some slogging at times, it's a fun opportunity to experience a totally different era. As far as age recommendations, this book for some reason is placed in the children's section of the library where I borrowed it. In my opinion it's not really a book most American kids, even teenagers of high school age, would enjoy. Not so much b/c of the content, but b/c the vocabulary makes the book just too abstruse. Reading this book is a project unto itself. Like all of Sir Author Conan-Doyle's books, very competent, well researched, and well written. However, I think this one caters more to adults with an interest in European medieval history and plenty of time, rather than to the younger set.
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