In 1605 there was a plot to blow up the English Parliament, with King James I, and replace the Protestant government with Catholics. The idea was to hide many barrels of gunpowder under the Parliament house and blow it sky-high. This has come to be known and memorialized as the Gunpowder Plot. One of the plotters, Guy Fawkes, was actually caught just before he could light the fuse.
Sounds like it’d made a great historical novel.
But Nadine Brandes has written it as a Young Adults fantasy novel, and I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I just don’t get it.
We love to read, we want to pass that on to our children: there’s no limit to what the voracious reader can learn. But we don’t want to be reading a load of baloney, just so we can say we turned a lot of pages.
I think the reason this fantasy didn’t quite make it is because there was no reason to write it as a fantasy in the first place.
Too bad. We would like to understand how the conditions of religious life in England in those days, ostensibly Christian religion, could have led to the Gunpowder Plot. We would like to use its history as a guide to avoiding those mistakes!
But we’ll need other books for that.