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Another of Henty's fictional stories set against an historical event. Sadly, he passed away in 1902 shortly after the Boer war ended. However, it appears that a number of his books were not actually published until after his death.
The story is of a young man and group of friends who are thrown out of the town where they have lived by the Boers who are trying to take over the whole of South Africa. They form themselves up into a small mounted unit to act as scouts for the British army; and there are some excellent descriptions of the life they lead and their activities during the time they are together. It's very much a "Boys Own" adventure story of the kind that appeals to many adolescent males.
The language used is a bit jingoistic; his descriptions of the Boers are unflattering, whilst in contrast, the British are the epitome of manliness. There are also some slightly disparaging remarks about the local natives, but this simply reflects the normal prejudice of the times. In fact, reading some other material, his comments about the behaviour of the Boers doesn't seem to be too far off the mark; but equally, the British did not treat the Boers too well in the concentration camps set-up to deal with refugees.
It's an easy read, although there are a few transcription errors. It's a good adventure yarn and one that is well worth downloading for the Kindle.
Interesting Henty,written at the end of his life -very jingoistic. Precocious Chris,17, causes the Boers no end of trouble. Ends fairly near the beginning of the war. Valuable reflection of contemporary attitudes.
3.5 stars & 4/10 hearts. I enjoyed Chris and his friends, although I found the historical part of the book a little dragging. I disliked all the prejudice against the Boers; but I did enjoy the humour, and I enjoyed it more than “The Young Colonists.” I loved seeing all the heroism of the troops, as well.
A Favourite Quote: “Behind the column came a large body of men in civilian dress. Their appearance was as unkempt as that of the troops, but among these there was no approach to military order, and yet their heroism had been in no way inferior to that of the troops. These were the stretcher-bearers, who had in every fight carried on their work of mercy under the heaviest fire, and that without the excitement that nerves soldiers to face danger. Many of them had fallen while so engaged, but this had in no way unnerved their companions, who had not only carried on the work during daylight, but had often laboured all night until the last wounded man had been found and carried down to the hospital. When the names of the heroes of the force that relieved Ladysmith are recounted those of the stretcher-bearers are worthy of a place among them.” A Favourite Humorous Quote: “‘I will get Captain Brookfield to draw up the kind of letter that ought to be sent, for I have not the least idea how I should address a commander-in-chief. Of course, a thing of this sort ought to be done in a formal sort of way; I could not very well say, “My dear general, my three friends don't care to accept your kind offer. Yours very truly.”’”