ANSON'S WAY by Gary D. Schmidt


Age Range: 10 - 14
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Set in turbulent 18th-century Ireland, this is a coming-of-age story about a boy who seeks to be a drummer in the service of King George II, wearing the uniform of the Fencibles. Coming from a long family line of men who have been Fencibles, Anson believes that they are keepers of the peace; he is ill-prepared to learn the truth—that he is involved in the destruction of the culture of Ireland, its laws, customs, and language. In the name of defending His Majesty’s realm, he witnesses the murder of an Irish man and his son who refuse to give up their only horse to the ruling landowner, and the brutal whipping of an Irish school teacher; he participates in the burning of a village and watches women carrying old people on their backs to escape Fencible terrorism. He resigns, but not before foiling a final act of terrorism and standing up to his father, a Fencible colonel and a man whose loyalty to the Fencibles has never wavered. Schmidt (The Sin Eater, 1996, etc.) describes the real meaning of “keeping the King’s peace” in unvarnished terms: it was gory, terrifying, and unjust. A strong novel, as provocative as it is eloquent. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 19th, 1999
ISBN: 0-395-91529-5
Page count: 213pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1999