Sunday, October 06, 2013
Book review: The Gauntlet by Ronald Welch
Originally published in 1951, The Gauntlet is a fun and engrossing bit of historical fiction for young readers. Peter's adventures in 14th century Wales include details of life in a medieval castle, lessons in archery and falconry, a trip to the Abbey of Valle Crucis where Peter learns about the life of the Cistercian monks, a tournament, the relations between the Norman lords and the Welsh people, and a medieval siege and battle. The scenes are well set and the action is well described.
Peter is a boy of about 12 years, so the ideal reader for this book is probably about that age. That said, the book can easily be read and enjoyed by readers older or younger. Enhancing the text are about ten pen-and-ink illustrations which are of excellent quality, though a couple of them make Peter look strangely dainty.
Overall, The Gauntlet is a superb book, and a perfect introduction to the realities of life in the Middle Ages for younger readers. The book is available in several different editions, but I recommend the beautiful hardcover edition by Lepanto Press as pictured with this review.