Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley (1855)

This is an historical adventure novel about the Englishman Amyas Leigh during the reign of Elizabeth I, and, my goodness, was it a wild ride. I spent spent the last six months reading this, and I always enjoyed the time I spent spent its pages.

You got to see, quite plainly, what the Elizabethan Anglicans thought of Catholics: traitors to the Queen and enemies of God. I had to roll my eyes at it way too many times, as well as put up with Kingsley’s tendency to ramble, but nevertheless this book is worth your time. I’d say it’s a forgotten classic, even.

There’s certainly adventure and romance. There are characters you want to be, and characters you wish were your friends, and characters you want slap silly. Sometimes, these are the same people. You get cameos from famous historical figures, such as Edmund Spenser, Walter Raleigh and Francis Drake. You get swashbuckling and sea fights. Forbidden romance and undying loyalty. And the lesson that an unquenchable lust for revenge will get you struck down by the Lord (or close enough for government work)!

I must warn you, though, that in searching out an unabridged paper copy, you have to get the Malcolm Day edition or electronic hunt down an antique copy. For some reason modern publishers are hesitant to publish the full 640-page book complete with ramblings and blatant anti-Catholic rants. Thankfully there’s the free unabridged Kindle version, too. 🙂

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